Each week, we'll look at who or what might be rising or falling with the Detroit Lions.
TE Joseph Fauria: The rookie caught three touchdowns Sunday against Cleveland in his most extended action of the season. He remains primarily a red zone target, but with the concussion to tight end Tony Scheffler, he’ll likely see even more opportunities as the weeks progress. At the very least, though, he’s shown that he is someone who can make plays in the end zone -- and that’s just with his array of dances.
WR Kris Durham: The third-year receiver from Georgia caught a career-high eight catches for 83 yards -- the second straight game where he was a heavily targeted receiver in the Lions' offense. He and Fauria have been the biggest beneficiaries to the injuries to receivers Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson. For Durham, though, it is an even bigger bump because he has likely shown enough to the Detroit coaches that he’ll continue to have a role in the offense once Johnson returns to full health and Burleson comes back from his pizza-related broken forearm.
CB Darius Slay: His time on the bench might have helped. Slay played better on Sunday than he had when he was a starter the first two games of the season before being replaced by veteran Rashean Mathis. Mathis still has the starting job, but Slay looked much more capable against the Browns than he has in his prior appearances on the field. This bodes well for the rookie’s future.
Coming from behind to win: Detroit came from behind again to win a game this season -- not the first time the Lions have done that this year. But the way they did that, with a second half shutout of Cleveland combined with more precise movements from Matthew Stafford and adjusting to make sure Reggie Bush was part of the game plan was fairly important for the rest of the season.
WR Patrick Edwards: He didn’t catch a pass Sunday against Cleveland despite being targeted three times and was released the next day. The second-year receiver looked like he would be a potential playmaker in the preseason and has top-end speed, but never really put it together on the field. The Lions are keeping him around, though, as he was re-signed to the practice squad Wednesday morning.
RT Jason Fox: Every week Fox misses gives Corey Hilliard, the man he beat out in the preseason for the starting job, more of a chance to solidify the position. For the most part, the Lions' offensive line has done a good job keeping Matthew Stafford upright and functional as a quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if and when Fox becomes healthy again.
WR Ryan Broyles: The second-year Oklahoma graduate just isn’t getting the looks in the offense right now. As Justin Rogers from MLive wrote, he isn’t running a ton of different routes and Stafford isn’t looking his way for whatever reason. A large part of it could be game plan and strategy, but Broyles isn’t getting the opportunities to make plays even as his snap count increases. So not all his fault if he isn’t getting targeted.
The Lions' front four: This is a nitpick here because they have been good for so much of the season, but they allowed Brandon Weeden a ton of time in the pocket and for a half struggled somewhat in run defense. Again, this is a small nit to pick considering how dominant the Lions have been up front, but something to keep an eye on considering Cincinnati’s offensive line is pretty good.