According to the stat sheet, they finished with four quarterback hits. Trent Cole had one of them, but the veteran defensive end finished with zero tackles.
Asked by a reporter after the game why the line wasn’t able to generate more pressure, Cole seemed surprised by the question.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about man because you saw the game, and it was there,” Cole said. “I can’t believe you’re saying that. It was there. It was there. You know it was there.”
While pressure and good defensive line play don’t always equate to sacks, there’s no doubt that Matthew Stafford found a comfort zone in the fourth quarter. After starting off 7-for-21 for just 91 yards, he completed 15 of his last 24 attempts for 220 yards. Stafford seemed to think that the Lions’ offensive line held its own against the Eagles.
“Our whole offensive line did a great job,” he said. “That’s a heck of a defensive front. Those guys go nine deep, rolling guys in there. They’re attacking downhill, and our offensive line did a great job. Not only opening up air in the running game, but keeping me clean. They kept me clean for a long time…”
We’ll delve into details after re-watching the game, but it didn’t seem like the Lions used a lot of extra blockers to protect Stafford.
“Today we got a couple one-on-ones, more one-on-ones than we ever had, but he slung that ball,” Cole said. “He got it out quick. We tried to get there as fast as we could. He was just slinging that ball out.”
AddedJason Babin, “I had plenty of one-on-one rushes, and honestly, I won quite a few one-on-one rushes. But hits and second place, they don’t really count.”
Entering the season, the idea was that everything the Eagles did defensively would begin with pressure from the front four. But through six weeks, opponents have found ways to negate the Birds’ pass-rush.
Figuring out how to more consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks should be a priority during the bye week. Especially considering the team goes up against Matt Ryan and Drew Breesin its next two games.
Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.