Biggest Takeaways from Detroit Lions' Week 11 Win

Brandon Alisoglu@@BrandonAlisogluCorrespondent INovember 23, 2015

Biggest Takeaways from Detroit Lions' Week 11 Win

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    We can confirm that lightening does strike in the same manner twice.

    Granted, the locations of said lightning strikes weren't exactly in the same spot. And while Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is a rising star, he isn't Aaron Rodgers.

    But this was the first time that an NFL team scored exactly 18 points in consecutive games, per ESPN's Sportscenter. And the Detroit Lions won for the second time in a row. That alone is a groundbreaking discovery in a season that's already seen multiple prominent employees lose their jobs.

    Let's see what other revelations lay just below the top layer of Detroit's 18-13 win over the Raiders.

Darius Slay Is Dominating

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    Darius Slay's biggest mistake from a public relations standpoint was using his Twitter handle to introduce himself during Sunday Night Football. Obviously, "Big Play Slay" raises expectations a bit.

    Slay only has one interception this year. And his six passes defended, per Pro Football Focus, ties him with the Carolina Panthers' star corner Josh Norman, but it's still not a number that will turn heads.

    Instead, Slay has been suffocating opponents lately, forcing them to produce at a rate similar to his own supposedly sorry stat line. He has allowed a grand total of 15 yards the last three games.

    And therein lies the issue. He's too busy making people disappear to draw attention to himself with the so-called "big play."

    Alanis Morissette would classify it as ironic, although it's become impossible to determine the actual meaning of the word anymore. 

Travis Swanson Is Fed Up

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Detroit's offensive line has been the focus of criticism this season, with center Travis Swanson playing the role of the dumbfounded youngster who made people pine for Dominic Raiola.

    But not this past weekend. Apparently, the young center has had enough of being the punching bag, and he aimed to do something about it.

    The second-year Swanson put together his best performance of the season, allowing a single hurry while enjoying the simplified offensive line calls being used, per Kyle Meinke of MLive Media Group.

    In fact, Pro Football Focus came away so impressed with his play that Khaled Elsayed named him the best center of the week, explaining, "It’s been an up and down year (emphasis on down) for Swanson, but he had a productive outing against the Raiders."

    That's high praise for Swanson. Now he needs to start building on that performance because Detroit has quite a few winnable games left this season.

     

Theo Riddick Is Detroit's Most Consistent Player

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Ezekiel Ansah has been widely regarded as Detroit's best defender. He performed well enough over the first half of the season to even garner team MVP honors from one occasionally semi-competent scribe.

    But he hasn't been the most consistent performer for Detroit. That honor has been reserved for Theo Riddick.

    Whenever the Lions need to put together a few plays to either drive for a winning score or kill the clock, they hit Riddick up for a flip pass or maybe a screen, and the chains move.

    He's also third on the team in receptions with 50 and is second in the league among running backs with 18 missed tackles forced after the catch. And he hasn't brought the disappointment that Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate have occasionally brought, considering Riddick has one drop this entire season.

    That's a solid return on a $607,750 salary, per Spotrac.

This Win Smelled an Awful Lot Like 2014

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    The Lions rode a great defense and a mistake-limiting offense to 11 wins in 2014. Now this year's team is attempting to mimic that approach, or so it seemed.

    Unlike last week, the defense was strong. It didn't need to rely on an errant Aaron Rodgers to limit the Oakland Raiders to 18 points.

    And the offense looked mostly as inept as the 2014 version. But the difference between just being bad, like Joe Lombardi's unit was earlier this season, and Sunday's performance was a clock-killing drive to round out the victory after a couple Matthew Stafford runs found the winning points.

    Plus, Detroit didn't commit a single turnover. Again, the Lions weren't particularly dynamic, but they didn't waste a good defensive effort as they had against Seattle and Denver.

And It Truly Was a Team Win

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    The defensive effort that was lauded on the last slide wasn't born of a couple stars but rather the effort of the entire defensive roster.

    Quandre Diggs led the way with six tackles. Isa Abdul-Quddus, in his second consecutive start, followed him up with five, while Glover Quin and Nevin Lawson each chipped in with four.

    Detroit had five tackles for a loss by five different players. C.J. Wilson, who was a Raider a few weeks ago, was one of them, blowing up a run in the backfield. And don't forget Ezekiel Ansah's safety by virtue of getting tackled in the end zone.

    The offense had a similar distribution of importance. Theo Riddick's role has already been highlighted, but Joique Bell deserves a bit of love, too. While he played the fewest snaps among the top trio of running backs, he picked up two huge first downs on the game-clinching drive.

    Lastly, the special teams pulled through with three Matt Prater field goals and solid kick coverage.

    It wasn't a perfect outing by any means. But for the first time this year, the Lions actually went out and won a game. And that's an improvement for this team.

     

    All advanced stats are courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

    Brandon Alisoglu is a Detroit Lions Featured Columnist. He also co-hosts a Lions-centric podcastLions Central Radio. Yell at him on Twitter @BrandonAlisoglu.