Thu, 09 Dec 2021

Mike OHara

Amani Oruwariye's development at cornerback in three seasons with the Detroit Lions makes situations like last week's overtime period with the Pittsburgh Steelers an experience he embraces rather than shies away from.

Oruwariye was well aware that one slip by anyone - including himself - could have resulted in a game-winning score for the Steelers.

Oruwariye wasn't satisfied with the 16-16 tie, but he took pride in how the defense kept the Steelers off the scoreboard. The Lions recovered two fumbles and forced a punt on the Steelers' three overtime possessions to keep the game tied.

Oruwariye, who played all 87 defensive snaps in the game, enjoyed every minute of the game - especially the overtime.

"Everything is urgent," he said after Friday's practice in preparation for Sunday's road game with the Cleveland Browns.

"It's a great feeling. Those are ones that you have to enjoy. You want to be in those.

"You want to be that player. 'Put me in those situations.'"

Oruwariye has become "that player" in the Lions secondary. In his third year, he is the leader of a young group of defensive backs.

"He really has elevated his game," said head coach Dan Campbell. "I like the way he plays with confidence. He was up there (against the Steelers). He was competitive. He was in their face."

Oruwariye has climbed the ladder in the Lions' secondary to his current position. He played nine games with two starts as a rookie in 2019, and played all 16 with 15 starts in 2020. He has started all nine games this season.

The Lions-Steelers game was probably the toughest hitting game of the Lions season. The defense made a statement, Oruwariye said.

"It was a blood bath," he said. "Guys got down and dirty. There was a whole lot of run fits for the DBs - getting you in there, but at the same time checking routes. We had our hands full last week.

"People who saw that game - we probably gained some respect for ourselves. We saw something in ourselves that we can build off of."

5 things to watch: Lions at Browns Lions at Browns injury report: Nov. 19 Lions at Browns: How to watch, listen and follow

Random thoughts: Quarterback Jared Goff can testify that all injuries are not the same. He played a playoff game last season with the Rams with a broken thumb, but the oblique injury he sustained last week made him a no-go at practice this week and doubtful for today's game.

"Very different," Goff said of the two injuries. "The thumb was a bone. This is a muscle. The oblique, unfortunately, is so critical to the throwing motion, whereas my throwing motion (with the thumb), I can kind of get away with it and do some different things."

On point: The Lions' defense has held three opponents to fewer than 20 points in the first nine games: 19-17 in losses to the Ravens and Vikings, and last week's 16-16 tie with the Steelers.

By comparison, the defense did that three times over 32 games in the previous two seasons combined.

Quote to note: "This is a week to week league. That's why it's the greatest game in America," Detroit Lions' defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, on the unpredictability of NFL games.

Lions-Browns breakdown: Getting running back Nick Chubb back gives the Browns' a dynamic player who takes some pressure off QB Baker Mayfield. There's no way to predict what the Lions will get in QB Tim Boyle's expected first NFL start. The Lions are likely to stress the running game like they did last week against the Steelers. The Lions can keep this game close despite being heavy underdogs.

Pick: Browns 26, Lions 23.

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