The Edge Rush: The tandem of OLBs were perhaps the best unit on the field, as Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs combined for 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
Special Teams: Returns aside, special teams continue to be the most consistent unit on the team. Notably Zane Gonzalez, who continues to be 100% with his leg, going 4 for 4 on field goals with a long of 42 and an extra point, a blocked punt by the Barbarian, and some not too shabby punt placements.
The Defense: Already down their top two corners, I’m not sure more could have been asked of a unit with an offense that struggled to even cross midfield for the first three quarters. Yet the unit kept the game manageable. Probably most surprisngly the run D kept a stout Lions rush attack to 3.6 YPC after a shakey preseason. Kudos to Vance Joseph and his unit for keeping the game in reach.
The Comeback: I’m surprised the end result didn’t take the wind out of everyone else’s sails as much as it did mine, but boy was it sure fun while it lasted.
Kliff Kingsbury: I’m not a fan of how conservative things were called. Going for a FG when down three scores, punting on 4th and 1 in your opponent’s territory, settling for a tie and so forth... It wasn’t all bad for the rookie HC, but one could appreciate just a little more aggressiveness.
Receivers that don’t rhyme with Barry Litzherald: It was mostly a one man show, which is disappointing given how much draft picks have been spent on the unit over the past two drafts. Maybe Michael Crabtree bolsters the ranks, but hey, the 2020 class is looking insane...
Pass Protection: Yes, they were down Marcus Gilbert. But the 5 times Murray were sacked could have easily been a far uglier number were it not for his scrambling abilities. Even with Gilbert in the fold, there’s work to be done or the passing game will be stifled.
The First Three Quarters: Blech. For as much as the offense deserves praise for the late fourth quarter comeback, we have to talk about how putrid the rest of the game was leading up to that. Barring injuries, not much else could have gone wrong for the unit. It was all the team could do to muster up more than a couple completions or cross midfield. Let’s just hope it was first game jitters for the young additions.
TE Defense: For as admirably as the defense performed, they were literally historically bad when it came to defending rookie T.J. Hockenson, who set the NFL record for most receiving yards by a rookie tight end. What’s goes after ugly? Because maybe this should be there...