Detroit coach Matt Patricia has led the Lions to wins in three of their last four games but he is frustrated – by questions over the playing status of defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
The first-year Detroit coach shut down questions about Ansah — out the last five games with a shoulder injury — during a heated exchange during his weekly Monday press conference.
“Here’s what I’m going to say about the Ziggy (Ansah) conversation, so I can answer all those questions up front,” Patricia said, cutting off a reporter. “Ziggy’s doing everything he can day-by-day to get out there and play. When he’s ready to go, he’s certainly someone that we think can help us win, and that’s the bottom line. We’re trying to win. So when we have anybody on our team that will help us win, we’ll put them out on the field. That’s all I’m going to mention about that.
“We document the injury report every single week, we update those regularly and we try to put those guys out on the field every single day to see what they can get done. So, I don’t really understand what the question is after that.”
Ansah has dealt with the injury since suffering it in the opening quarter of the season. He’s practiced in the last two weeks in addition to having the bye week to rest, but he was not activated for Sunday’s 32-21 win at Miami anyway.
Ansah, under a $17 million contract, has played only 19 snaps this season.
Detroit’s pass rush has been successful without him. The Lions sacked Brock Osweiler four times on Sunday, bringing their season total to 21. Only the Ravens, Broncos and Steelers have more. Romeo Okwara, who has been starting for Ansah at defensive end, has four sacks, good for 25th in the league.
Detroit is not the same against the run without Ansah, however. Detroit ranks 30th against the run.
Another point of contention between Patricia and the media was questions about him not taking a holding penalty in the third quarter against Miami. Patricia said he declined a holding call because he was playing the numbers in hoping the defense would stop the Dolphins.
“We thought maybe we kind of knew what they were going to do in those situations and thought we could defend it,” Patricia said. “Didn’t, obviously, and obviously hindsight is 20-20 in that aspect.”
The Lions had just taken a 20-7 lead when Osweiler threw an incomplete pass on a second-and-7 play with just under eight minutes to play in the third quarter. Ja’Wuan James was called for holding, but rather than accept the penalty and put the Dolphins at second-and-18, Patricia declined it to play for one stop.
The Dolphins converted on third-and-7 with an 18-yard pass to Mike Gesicki, then scored two plays later on a 54-yard run by Kenyan Drake.
–RG T.J. Lang played 75 percent of the Lions’ offensive snaps Sunday in his first game back from a serious brain injury. Lang said the rotation with backup Kenny Wiggins, who played 16 of possible 64 offensive plays, was planned ahead of time as a way to ease him back into action. Lang has suffered six documented concussions in his NFL career, the last in a Week 4 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
–PK Matt Prater was a perfect 4-for-4 kicking field goals Sunday, hitting from 29, 28, 35 and 50 yards. He also made all three of his extra-point attempts. “He’s obviously outstanding at what he does, and he’s one of the best in the league and (I) fully trust him to tell me where he’s at and what he feels he can execute,” Detroit coach Matt Patricia said of Prater.
–RB Kerryon Johnson, a rookie, set a career high with 158 rushing yards on just 19 carries for an average of 8.3 yards per rush against Miami last week. Johnson gashed the Dolphins for a 71-yard run up the right sideline early in the second quarter down to the Dolphins’ 20-yard line. It was the longest run by the Lions since Jahvid Best had an 88-yarder against the Chicago Bears in 2011.
–TE Michael Roberts, playing in his first game since Week 2 because of a knee injury, caught touchdown passes of 15 and 4 yards, respectively, the second and third of the year for him in just three games played.
–QB Matthew Stafford completed 18 of 22 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns to TE Michael Roberts. He finished with a passer rating of 138.1, which marks the fifth straight game he has finished with a passer rating over 100.0.