Originally written on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/19/14

DETROIT - NOVEMBER 7: Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of the game against the New York Jets at Ford Field on November 7, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Its exciting to have playmakers at the skill positions like Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. They get the headlines, they sell the jerseys, they fill the stadiums. But, in the end, football is still about what happens in the trenches, and thats what has to be so encouraging for the Detroit Lions coming off their 26-23 overtime victory last Sunday at Philadelphia. Despite committing far too many penalties, the offensive and defensive lines were otherwise quite impressive. They helped keep the Lions in striking distance until Stafford and Johnson finally started to put it together for a fourth-quarter rally. Lets start with the offensive line. Stafford never was sacked and barely got hit, despite throwing 45 passes. The run game averaged 4.9 yards per carry - 138 yards, the most the Eagles have allowed this season, on 28 carries. We were physical, offensive guard Rob Sims said. We felt we set the tempo for the whole game. It was a good one for us. I think every week weve been getting a little bit better. Coach Jim Schwartz said the O-lines effort was key to the game. I think that our offensive line probably played their best game of the year against a tough group, Schwartz said. That goes across the board, from Jeff Backus to Sims to (Dominic) Raiola to (Stephen) Peterman to Gos (Gosder Cherilus) to our tight ends. The Lions also have gotten a lift up front lately from rookie Riley Reiff, their first-round draft pick. Reiff is being used as a tight end or extra tackle in a jumbo package. He played a total of nine snaps in the first four games, but that increased to 22 against the Eagles. The Lions run a lot out of the package, but they can also max protect in the pass game. Its a reflection of Riley and his talent level and what hes done to earn his way onto the field, Schwartz said of Reiffs increased role. Reiffs emergence reduced tight end Brandon Pettigrews workload. That might be a good thing in the long run, perhaps helping Pettigrew improve his concentration level so he drops fewer passes. The recent performance by Reiff hasnt gone unnoticed by his veteran teammates. He was beasting, receiver Nate Burleson said. That young Reiff fella is for real. Watching him block and the feistiness he has, hes running up on veterans on the Eagles D-line, pushing them around, shoving them around, picking up our running backs at the end of a play, making his blocks, throwing guys out the hole. I like having him out there. I was surprised a guy that young embraced the moment like he did. The front four on defense also embraced the moment at a time when they were being called overrated and underachieving. The Lions held Philadelphia to a season-low 71 yards rushing on 29 attempts. LeSean McCoy, one of the leagues top running backs, finished with 22 yards on 14 carries. He had gained 123 yards on 23 attempts against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants two weeks earlier. The defense also wreaked havoc on quarterback Michael Vick from start to finish. Two sacks early in overtime one by end Cliff Avril, the other a combined effort by end Kyle Vanden Bosch and tackle Nick Fairley helped give the Lions field position to set up the winning field goal. Tackle Ndamukong Suh, meanwhile, batted down a crucial third-down pass that could have gone for a big play late in regulation, giving the Lions the ball back and the chance to tie the game. Schwartz called it one of the biggest plays of the game. We have a lot of confidence in those guys, Schwartz said of the D-line. We were able to get back on track. Kyle Vanden Bosch played an outstanding football game. Our line made a lot of plays in there, run and pass. We sacked him (Vick) three times, pressured him another eight where it was an incompletion or throwaway and then hit him on 15 plays. Thats a lot. There were a couple times I didnt think he was going to get back up. He kept on getting back up. We have a lot of respect for him. Vick should have a lot of respect for the Lions defensive line, too. The question now is whether Fairley, Suh and the rest of the rotation can produce like that on a regular basis. Regardless of the recent criticism, theyve shown theres talent and depth there, just not any consistency. The Lions' late rally the other day to end a three-game losing streak could be the turning point in their season. But for that to actually happen, its going to take more than just the stars to shine. The Lions need these guys in the trenches, both sides of the ball, to make their own impact like they did in Philly.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Favre delays Lambeau return because of Bart Starr’s health

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

Fan in critical condition after being beaten before Bears game

Ben Roethlisberger rips the media

Tim Tebow: Gators don't have offensive leadership, lack heart

Colts punter asks Antonio Brown not to kick him in face

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NFL: Luke Kuechly should not have been ejected

Report: Okla. St. players fell asleep in drive-thru, arrested

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison

Mike Pettine considered benching Hoyer for Manziel

Percy Harvin speaks out: 'I'm not a perfect person'

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge' and 'sizzle'

Blackhawks make leukemia patient's dream come true

College football's post-Week 8 Playoff projection

Ortiz surprised military families with World Series tickets

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Floyd Mayweather posts photo evidence of a lost bet

WATCH: Paul George takes court for first time since leg injury

Five most surprising NFL players through seven weeks

WATCH: Boxer viciously attacks referee at Euro Championships

WATCH: Salvador Perez hassles Lorenzo Cain at media session

Lane Kiffin trashed in Tennessee political ad

WATCH: Lawrence Timmons throws up on field during MNF

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Ben Roethlisberger rips media

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.