How Lions Shut Down Davante Adams…

The Detroit Lions had a strong game plan defensively working against a solid tandem of wide receivers, Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers.

Each wideout is among the league’s best at their position and are known to cause nightmares for opposing defenses. Yet, Aaron Glenn’s defense contained the threat.

The success was two-fold. The secondary played well, as did the pass rush. In the end, the Lions held Adams and Meyers to just one catch apiece on a combined eight targets.

Here’s a look at all seven of Adams’ targets and what allowed Detroit’s defense to be successful.

First target — Interception

On Adams’ first target of the night, Jimmy Garoppolo is intercepted by Kerby Joseph. To start the play, Adams is lined up against Jerry Jacobs wide to the right.

Adams wins inside position with a double move, but Detroit’s coverage has Joseph played perfectly over the top. The safety doesn’t take the bait of the double move and stays on top of Adams’ route.

Garoppolo is likely anticipating that Joseph will play more toward the boundary, creating an opening in the end zone. However, the Illinois product stays true in his coverage and hauls in the ill-placed throw.

Second target — Alim McNeill deflection

Lined up in the slot this time, Adams’ nifty footwork shakes linebacker Alex Anzalone at the line of scrimmage. This is a tough matchup for Detroit at the start, as the linebacker is matched up against the All-Pro wideout in the slot from the outset.

The Raiders clear multiple receivers down the field, leaving the middle open. Detroit is in man coverage, and defenders vacate as their assignments get vertical down the field.

However, Alim McNeill is able to get a hand on the pass as he finishes his rush. As a result, what likely could’ve been a big gain for Las Vegas is a harmless incompletion. McNeill’s effort is commendable, as he doesn’t give up on the play despite failing to win his rush assignment.

Third target — 11-yard completion

Las Vegas catches Detroit in a zone look, with cornerback Cam Sutton playing the boundary as opposed to defending a specific receiver. After bumping Adams, Sutton is forced to stay with running back Josh Jacobs running in the flat.

With the safety dropping back and Alex Anzalone running with Michael Mayer, Adams finds a soft spot in Detroit’s coverage and widely breaks his route.

Sutton is trying to keep the play inside of him and makes a late break on the ball. However, good timing by Garoppolo results in a completion. A good recovery by Anzalone results in a limited impact for the reception.

Fourth target — Sutton in coverage

Sutton gives plenty of cushion here, giving Adams plenty of space to operate off the line. This decision pays dividends in the end, though.

Adams stems his route at the bottom of the numbers, but the cornerback still has inside leverage at the time of the break.

Brian Branch is in good position to start, but hesitates to follow Adams when Michael Mayer crosses his face. As a result, Sutton is left to his own devices as the ball approaches. Both safeties go with the deep route, further isolating Sutton around midfield.

Fortunately for Detroit, the talented cornerback maintains his leverage and the ball is thrown wide of the target. He angles to step in front of Adams rather than staying flat. Had he stayed flat on his path, he could’ve snared an interception given where the ball was thrown.

Fifth target — Drop

Detroit sends five, trusting Alex Anzalone to cover the running back exiting the backfield. Adams’ footwork forces Cam Sutton to turn his hips, creating an opening in the middle of the field.

When the pass comes, though, it glances off the wideout’s hands. He had plenty of space in the middle as a result of Detroit’s man coverage. Safety Kerby Joseph is nearly 20 yards off the ball at the time of the throw.

Aidan Hutchinson drops into short coverage and nearly brings in a diving interception. Derrick Barnes also deserves credit on this play, as he nearly gets to the passer on a well-timed blitz.

Sixth target — Hutchinson Hurry

This is the first of two missed deep balls between Garoppolo and Adams. Backed up against their own goal-line as the result of a special teams gaffe, the Raiders go for it all on this play.

Detroit commits a coverage blunder, as Sutton’s bump is ineffective and he struggles to catch up. However, Hutchinson wins at the line of scrimmage and nearly gets home.

The second-year rusher forces Garoppolo to get the ball out quickly, which results in the mistimed throw. It’s a fortunate break for the Lions, as a catch likely would’ve resulted in a 98-yard touchdown.

Seventh target — Missed throw

This is another instance of Detroit’s pass rush helping a coverage breakdown. Adams burns Sutton with a double move but the throw is once again off target.

The savvy wideout sells his cut well, then breaks for the sideline in his second move. However, Hutchinson wraps around John Cominsky, who occupies two blockers, and collapses the pocket.

As Hutchinson and Barnes pursue the passer, Garoppolo steps up into a closing pocket and throws too long for his open receiver. This would result in the frustration shown by Adams at the conclusion of the game, as he was rendered ineffective even in the event that he evaded Detroit’s coverage.

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