Week Five of football is behind us, and we had some surprises. The Bills won in LA, the Ravens lost to the Redskins, and Tom Brady crashed the party in Cleveland and played just as Brady-like as ever (not much of a surprise, but worth mentioning). But while those were very good games, the game that I thought was the closest, most exciting, and overall most interesting to watch was
the Lions-Eagles matchup. I say this because both teams kept it really close, and the Lions’ defensive unit did a tremendous job in keeping the Eagles from coming back to win.
There are two players who really stood out to me while watching the Lions. The first one was Theo Riddick. Riddick found the end zone twice. Early in the game, Stafford found Riddick in the end zone being covered by a linebacker. A low throw gave the Lions six points and a fair lead. Later on, Stafford threw five yards to Riddick, who ran downfield for the touchdown. Riddick ran eleven times and had six completions. He tracked eighty-three total yards.
The second player who deserves a big mention is Darius Slay. Slay made the two turnovers key to winning the game. The first turnover came late in the fourth quarter. In an attempt to kill the clock, Ryan Matthews, the Eagles running back, ran the ball up the side of the field. The opportunistic Darius Slay hit Matthews’ arm and forced a fumble, giving the Lions back the ball. Then, on the last play of the game, Darius Slay intercepted a sixty yard pass attempt, sealing the Eagles’ fate and winning the game. As color analyst Charles Davis put it, “Slay really became the receiver. He spotted it, went for the football, and essentially boxed down [the receiver] from going for it.” Slay made two tackles, defended two passes, made one interception, and forced one fumble in the victory, a phenomenal performance for any safety.
Obviously, this was not Philadelphia’s best football game. I think that in order for them to win, they need to remember a few things that they did wrong today. First, don’t put Carson Wentz in a position in which he needs to throw deep late in the game. He needed to do this because the Lions scored on the Ryan Matthews turnover. Quick fix: If Ryan Matthews can’t keep the ball, run the ball with the fullback. Consider this. Wendell Smallwood, an Eagles running back, weighs two-hundred-eight pounds. Darius Slay, the safety who forced the fumble, is one-hundred-ninety pounds. Smallwood, despite his name, is no pushover. If he can keep the ball in his arms and the Lions at bay, then he’s your man for clock chew. Also, versatile running backs (like Theo Riddick) should be covered in turn by a free safety or a cornerback.
The Eagles took a very big loss today in Detroit. While it was very interesting to watch, I have no doubt in my mind that we as football fans will not be seeing this kind of poor performance again this season.