Before the win against New York, Detroit Lions defensive lineman, Alim McNeill, was having a very quiet start to the 2022 season, but things have changed.
McNeill versus the Giants was a problem. He was the leading factor in swallowing up holes and pushing New York’s offensive line back into the pocket.
He finished the game with four tackles (three solo), three tackles for loss’, and a sack. Those stats don’t do justice for the pressure and impact he had in that game.
Prior to this game Giants stud running back, Saquon Barkley averaged 101 rushing yards per-game. He’s the most vital piece of their offense and is a major reason the Giants were 7-2 heading into the game versus the Lions.
McNeill and other Lions defensive lineman, were able to hold Barkley to just 22 yards on 15 carries. His lowest logged totals for the season.
Every time the Giants showed run, McNeill would push multiple lineman at once to stop the back. He was a force to be reckoned with and the Giants were not victorious.
When McNeill sacked Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, he split a double team block, shot through the gap and walloped Jones for his first sack of the season.
Prior to the win against New York, McNeill only logged 13 total tackles in nine games. The holes in the defensive line were gapping and teams were running all over the defense.
As this young Lions defensive front grows, the results only get better and better. With almost all Detroit’s defensive lineman on the field and healthy, the cohesion is visible.
Lions rookie Aidan Hutchinson is playing well beyond his years, John Cominsky is back in the fold and drawing more attention from defenders and Julian Okwara has shown flashes of his potential.
The more time this group spends on the field together the better the results have been.
After McNeill’s breakout rookie campaign, his 2022 production was a major drop-off. The way the Lions defense has played this season, McNeill’s expectations were the least of Detroit’s problems.
If this performance continues for the rest of the season, it’d greatly benefit the Lions playoff push. While it’s unlikely, so was McNeill’s dominance against New York, but it happened.
The season started at an all-time low on defense, but many forget that many starters are only rookies or second-year players. The defense has grown right in-front of viewers eyes and McNeill caught them all on Sunday.
With very little time to prepare for the Thanksgiving matchup against the Buffalo Bills, his performance is unlikely to repeat. It’s not outside of the realm of possibilities, but it’d be much needed if the Detroit Lions want to win their first “Turkey-Day” game since 2016.
Photo Credit: Junfu Han – USA TODAY Sports