There are two sides to every coin, and there are two sides to Detroit’s season-opening 39-35 win in Indianapolis. On the one hand, beating Andrew Luck on the road is always a positive. On the other hand, squandering an 18-point lead and needing a last-second field goal to emerge victorious had to be concerning.
“On the defensive side of the ball, we talked about it,” Lions defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “We got to play better, but it was big for our offense to pick us up and come together and get that win, get that first win of the season.”
The Lions led 21-3 in the second quarter and 28-18 entering the fourth, but the last 15 minutes were a dog fight. The Colts went up 35-34 with 37 seconds to go, but the Lions drove 50 yards in 33 seconds to set up Matt Prater’s game-winning 43-yarder.
“The defense, we got to just finish the game,” Walker said. “I can’t explain it. There’s ebbs and flows in a game and momentum changes constantly, but we just got to be able to finish and complete what we were doing. We started off high in the first quarter especially, and we got to be able to finish that out and get that win for our team.”
Walker, 26, also weighed in on player safety in the NFL. He believes it’s getting more difficult for defenders to decipher what is and isn’t a clean hit or tackle on a quarterback.
“Oh man, that is a trick question,” he said, laughing. “I don’t know. You go there, you kind of lower your pad level – I’d rather aim low than aim high. You kind of lower your pad level and keep your eyes up. If you keep your eyes up, you should be all right. That’s probably the best way I can explain it. That’s the best way I can put it. It’s sort of like explaining the catch rule. I can’t really tell you. I don’t know. My thing is, I try to get my hands on him. If I get my hands on him, it’ll be all right.”
Despite the confusion, Walker believes that the league “does a good job” with player safety.
“I’m not going to knock them for that,” Walker said. “They’re doing it for the right reasons. In the trenches, you don’t really have that many kill shots anyway as a D-Lineman. It’s harder for linebackers and safeties. Corners don’t really hit like that. But it’s harder for those guys in the back seven because they’re coming with momentum and they’re coming from a distance and the impact, it’s hard to judge it. With my position, it’s not hard to do much. Usually we get hands to the face or something like that. We don’t really get a lot of helmet-to-helmet.”
Walker also discussed his charity work in Louisiana this summer. The New Iberia, Louisiana, native returned to his home state to give supplies and offer comfort to flood victims.
“It gives the kids hope,” Walker said. “It gives adults hope as well that people are really thinking about them and they’re really feeling what they’re going through. That was good for me to go down there and do that for my family and the people in my community.”