- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions rookies fared in the prior week’s game along with their overall stats and trends for the season.
Joseph Fauria had appeared to be turning into a red zone-only option for the Lions.
Then Tony Scheffler got hurt, giving Fauria more opportunities. Then came Sunday, when Fauria turned in one of the better performances ever by a Lions tight end, scoring three touchdowns.
Those three touchdowns put Fauria fourth among all tight ends in the NFL in touchdowns (five), behind Julius Thomas (seven), Vernon Davis (six) and Jimmy Graham (six). He’s managed to do this in just 29 total routes run.
Here’s a look at how Fauria and the rest of Detroit’s rookies did Sunday.
DE Ziggy Ansah (first round, BYU): Ansah played a career-high snap percentage Sunday, seeing 75 percent of the snaps against the Browns (51 of 68). This continues the trend of playing Ansah about 50 snaps a game this season and then having him spelled by fellow rookie Devin Taylor or veteran Israel Idonije. Ansah had two assisted tackles Sunday and saw the second most snaps of any defensive lineman behind Ndamukong Suh.
Ansah’s snap percentages after the opener, when he was recovering from injury:
Arizona -- 70 percent; Washington -- 62 percent; Chicago -- 68 percent; Green Bay -- 72 percent; Cleveland -- 75 percent.
CB Darius Slay (second round, Mississippi State): Rashean Mathis again missed a good chunk of Sunday’s win against Cleveland, so Slay again replaced him opposite Chris Houston. He played 71 percent of the Lions snaps (48 of 68) and made four defensive tackles along with one special-teams tackle. In addition to his 48 defensive plays, Slay also played on 62 percent of special-teams snaps (18 plays).
RG Larry Warford (third round, Kentucky): Nothing new for Warford. He played every snap against Cleveland -- and has not missed a snap this season. As an offensive line, Detroit allowed only one sack of Matthew Stafford and only allowed him to be hit twice.
DE Devin Taylor (fourth round, South Carolina): Taylor registered one of two Detroit sacks Sunday, also forcing a fumble and making three tackles. He has steadily improved since turning active after Jason Jones’ season-ending injury against Washington. Taylor played 25 percent of Detroit’s defensive snaps Sunday (17 of 68).
P Sam Martin (fifth round, Appalachian State): Another week, another good showing from Martin, who might be turning into one of the best punters in the league. He averaged gross 45.8 yards a punt -- and actually had two more yards per punt net at 47.8 yards. He didn’t have a single touchback and put three of his five punts inside the 20-yard line. Martin’s net punting average of of 43.1 yards is fourth in the NFL
RB Theo Riddick (sixth round, Notre Dame): Riddick was inactive Sunday as he continues to recover from a concussion.
TE Joseph Fauria (undrafted, UCLA): He did something no Lions tight end has done since the current iteration of the NFL took shape, catching three touchdowns in a single game. While that sounds like an old-school Al Bundy declaration, Fauria is starting to find a rhythm as a tight end, especially with Tony Scheffler being sidelined with a concussion. He saw his most snaps and most percentage of snaps Sunday due to the injury.
A brief look at Fauria’s tracking:
Week 1 -- three targets, three catches, one touchdown, 14 percent of snaps (11 plays).
Week 2 -- no targets, no catches, 10 percent of snaps (six plays).
Week 3 -- three targets, one catch, one touchdown, 18 percent of snaps (12 plays).
Week 4 -- no targets, no catches, 20 percent of snaps (13 plays)
Week 5 -- no targets, no catches, 13 percent of snaps (9 plays)
Week 6 -- three targets, three catches, three touchdowns, 31 percent of snaps (23 plays)
OT LaAdrian Waddle (undrafted, Texas Tech): Waddle played five special- teams plays Sunday.