The Detroit Lions have been the darlings of the Fantasy Football year thus far. They have played some of the most entertaining games of the season as they are mixing a high-octane offense with a bottom-barrel defense, leading to some very high-scoring affairs.
The most recent matchup pitted them against the visiting Seattle Seahawks. Possessing a better than anticipated offense themselves, the teams got into a shootout, scoring the most points in a game thus far this season. The Seahawks came away with the win, 48-45.
Despite the success that the Lions have had offensively thus far, this was a performance that surprised some people. They were without running back De’Andre Swift and their top two wide receivers in Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark.
Without so many playmakers, someone was going to have to step up and catch some passes from Jared Goff. The person to step up was tight end T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson was excellent against Seattle, churning out yardage every time he touched the ball.
The Iowa product had a record-setting performance, catching eight passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. It is the most receiving yardage for a tight end in Lions history, beating the record set by Jim Gibbons, who had 161 yards in 1964. Hockenson spoke about his huge performance, saying he knew someone had to step up and he made the most of his chances.
“Going into the week, I knew it was going to be a fun one,” Hockenson said postgame, via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “We knew somebody was going to have to put the team on [his shoulders] and make sure the ball was moving. So that was kind of my goal just coming into this game, keep the ball moving, make plays when they’re called. I was able to do that for sure.”
Hockenson was very quiet through the first three games of the season, catching 10 passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. But, with so many key contributors injured, he was provided a chance to step into a featured role and took full advantage.
This offense has proven that it can move the ball with success, putting up some gaudy numbers thus far this season. They have the No. 1 offense in the NFL in terms of points and yardage, unfortunately for them, their defense has been as poor as the offense has been good.
Until things are figured out on that side of the ball, expect some more big performances from Hockenson and the offense to help keep games close.