Here's a player-by-player look at how the Eagles' defense performed in the team's 35-32 win over the Lions on Sunday.
Brandon Graham- Graham was more active than Week 1, picking up the first sack of his career, but he looked vulnerable at times against the run. Graham played outside on about 69 percent of their snaps as the Eagles stuck with their base defense more than they did against the Packers. Graham's sack came from the inside. As a pass-rusher, he also got a good hit on Shaun Hill during the final minutes of the first half. Like the rest of the D-line, Graham got pushed around at times against the run. A big hole opened up between him and Mike Patterson on a 5-yard Maurice Morris run. Graham was blocked pretty soundly by a tight end on a 13-yard Jahvid Best run, which went to his side. He was also blocked on a 5-yard Aaron Brown run and was caught upfield on a 7-yard Brown run. On a positive note, Graham got in the backfield, helping to force a 3-yard Best loss in the third. And he showed good hustle, coming from the opposite side of the field to bring Best down on a screen pass. He left the game in the second half with a right shoulder injury.
Mike Patterson- It's rare to see him get manhandled the way he did on the Lions' six-play, 76-yard touchdown drive in the first that was all running plays. Patterson was blocked on several runs, including a 13-yard scamper by Best and the 14-yard touchdown run. The Lions' interior linemen really controlled him on that drive. Patterson was better in the second half, combining with Gaither to drop Best for a 3-yard loss in the third and stopping Morris after a gain of 2.
Brodrick Bunkley- Sean McDermott rotated Antonio Dixon in quite a bit for him. Bunkley played 28 of 72 snaps (39 percent). The 33-yard Best run was to his side. Bunkley did a good job on a Best run in the second, stopping him for no gain, but didn't really stand out overall after his impressive Week 1 performance.
Trent Cole- As usual, he was the Eagles' best defensive player. Cole didn't have a sack, but he caused havoc, specifically on third down. On 3rd-and-14, with the Lions backed up near their own goal line, he got good pressure on Hill. On 3rd-and-7 in the second, Cole batted a ball down at the line of scrimmage. And on 3rd-and-11 in the third, he knocked Hill down, forcing an incompletion. Against the run, he got caught inside on a 33-yard Best run to his side, but other than that, was very good. Cole dropped Best for a 1-yard loss in the second. During the series where the Eagles stopped the Lions on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1, Cole played a critical role. On the 2nd-and-2 play, he stopped Brown after a gain of 1. And it looked like he got his hands on Brown on the third-down play. Cole was once again asked to drop back into coverage more than any other lineman - four times.
Antwan Barnes- He was on the field at left defensive end for one-third of the Eagles' defensive snaps. Barnes got good pressure on a couple plays - one being the play where Hill escaped and flipped it to Best for a big gain in the first - but was otherwise quiet.
Trevor Laws- Laws played over half the snaps as an inside pass rusher. He got good push on a couple plays, nearly coming up with a sack at Hill's feet on a third down in the second. Overall, though, not a consistent factor.
Juqua Parker- He played 32 of 72 snaps and was once again a factor, picking up his team-leading third sack of the season. Parker's pressure from the left defensive end position forced Hill to step up on the play where Graham picked up a sack. McDermott used him in some different ways against Detroit. Parker lined up at right defensive end at times, spelling Cole. He slammed Hill to the ground on an incompletion from that spot in the third. His sack and forced fumble came from rushing inside.
Antonio Dixon - He played more than he did in Week 1, but didn't have much of an impact. Dixon was blocked at right defensive tackle on one of Best's touchdown runs. Interesting to note though that McDermott had him on the field on the final Lions' drive with the game on the line.
Ernie Sims- Ups and downs for Sims. Let's start with the good. He got a hit in on Nate Burleson on the Lions' first offensive play of the game. Sims came on a blitz in the first, hitting Hill, but not before he flipped the ball to Best for a 19-yard gain and a first down. Sims brought Hill down after he scrambled for a short gain on a third down in the second. And he came on a blitz on the Hobbs interception. Now, the bad. He was blocked and taken out of the play on a 33-yard Best run. Sims failed to make a play on a 14-yard Best run. And he really struggled in coverage down the stretch. Sims was beat on completions of 21, 17 and 12 yards to Best - all in the fourth quarter, as the Lions staged a frantic comeback attempt. Of Hill's 335 yards passing, 277 were to running backs or tight ends.
Omar Gaither- His stat line is a classic case of the numbers not telling the story. Gaither had a game-high 11 tackles. However, eight of those 11 came after completed passes. Gaither was pushed around on the 76-yard touchdown drive that was all runs. He was blocked on a 10-yard Best run and a 13-yard Best run. Gaither was nowhere near the ball on the 33-yard Best run and did not look good on the Brown 7-yard carry. Once the guard got his hands on Gaither, he looked like he was running in quicksand on the Best 14-yard touchodwn. In the second half, Best ran right by him on the 75-yard screen play. Gaither did have some good moments. He combined with Patterson to drop Best for a 3-yard loss in the second. And he stopped Best for a 2-yard loss on a screen in the fourth. In coverage, Gaither was beat on a 19-yard toss to tight end Brandon Pettigrew. And he looked extremely slow (or winded) on a 35-yard throw to Pettigrew in the fourth. When the Lions mounted their comeback, they took advantage of matchups in coverage with Gaither and Sims.
Akeem Jordan- Not used to seeing such quiet games from Jordan. He was nowhere to be found in the run game, getting blocked on several plays, including the 14-yard Best touchdown run. He only caught my eye with a positive play once, when Jordan ran Best out of bounds after a gain of 1 in the second.
Moise Fokou - If you blinked, you missed him. Fokou came in for one play when Sims appeared to have an equipment problem. Just want to make sure you know I actually do re-watch every snap!
Asante Samuel- It's a tired story by now, but Samuel gave zero effort on the 75-yard touchdown pass to Best on the screen. If you have a chance to re-watch it, take a look. He barely pushes Calvin Johnson, who was blocking him and then jogs casually a few yards as the rest of his teammates sprinted after Best. In coverage, Samuel was good, and for the second week in a row, the opposing quarterback hasn't thrown at him much. Samuel was beat by Johnson on an 18-yard gain in the fourth and played way off him on the 2-point conversion.
Ellis Hobbs- Good game by Hobbs. He made a nice play in run support, dropping Best for no gain in the first. And Hobbs came up with an interception in the third. The Lions completed just six passes for 58 yards to their wide receivers.
Joselio Hanson- Hanson broke up the final pass of the game, securing the win for the Eagles. He blitzed from the slot twice - both on third downs. And he had good coverage on Pettigrew in the third. It looked like Hanson slipped on the 75-yard screen play to Best. He played a little more than half the snaps.
Dimitri Patterson- He came in as the sixth defensive back on a few snaps. On one, Patterson was called for defensive holding on a third down, extending the Lions' drive.
Quintin Mikell- He was a playmaker. Mikell leaped up with Johnson to break up what was almost a spectacular catch on a third down in the second. He also nearly had an interception over the middle on a throw intended for Pettigrew in the third. Mikell broke up a pass on the Lions' final drive too. It's hard to tell whether the Johnson TD in the fourth was his fault. Against the run, he dropped Best for a 4-yard loss in the second. On the 75-yard Best screen, Mikell could not get off Pettigrew's block.
Nate Allen- Two interceptions in his first two starts? I think the Eagles will take that. Good things happen when Allen blitzes. He was coming after Hill on the Hobbs interception.
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