Each week, we’ll look at who or what might be rising or falling with the Detroit Lions.
WR Kris Durham: He continues to be a consistent pass-catcher for Matthew Stafford. He has caught three or more passes in four straight games and has turned into a starter opposite Calvin Johnson in the wide receiver corps. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to his targets when Nate Burleson returns from injury in a few weeks, but he has carved out a role in the Lions' offense.
S Louis Delmas: Before the season he said his goal was to play in every game this season. So far, he’s played almost every snap and has been a strong back-two tandem along with free-agent signing Glover Quin. Delmas has 30 tackles this season, intercepted two passes and defended six of them. He has also, for the most part, been smart in coverage and dropped down well when he has been required to.
LB Stephen Tulloch: A lot of the attention in the linebacking corps has gone to teammate DeAndre Levy, but has manned the middle well for Detroit. He had a couple of coverage issues Sunday matched up against Cincinnati’s tight ends, but he leads the Lions with 58 tackles, has two sacks and also an interception.
CB Chris Houston: Detroit coach Jim Schwartz wouldn’t commit to having Houston as one of his starters after a performance where he was consistently beaten on double moves by Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green. For most of the season, Houston had been the Lions’ top cornerback, but his aggressiveness allowed Green to get open for an 82-yard touchdown.
Lions' offensive tackles: There just isn’t much depth there anymore. Jason Fox returned to practice Wednesday, rookie LaAdrian Waddle is healthy and the team signed Barry Richardson on Tuesday, but that’s not a lot of experience there with starters Riley Reiff and Corey Hilliard out of practice Wednesday after suffering injuries. The injury situation this week is something to keep an eye on as the Lions continue to try and protect Stafford.
Lions' front four: They just haven’t gotten the pressure they have typically gotten earlier this season. Detroit sacked Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton only one time and pressured and hit him three times. They also moved Ndamukong Suh outside of the defensive end to try to get him on different matchups. It didn’t work all that much, as he still wasn’t able to get to the quarterback too often. The Lions still rely heavily on their front four reaching the quarterback, blitzing only 13.9 percent of the defensive snaps, below their NFL-low average of 15.9 percent.