The once-robust Detroit defensive line was now a group trying to fill holes, playing fifth-round pick Caraun Reid and 270-pound defensive end Darryl Tapp either together or in tandem with Ndamukong Suh to fill holes left by a suspension and an injury.
In the first half, it didn’t go well, either. The Lions were already being gashed before Fairley’s injury. With Fairley out, the Falcons ran right at the center of the line, especially on plays when Suh was not on the field.
“Definitely tough once Nick went down and we had to putt Tapp inside,” defensive end Jason Jones said. “C.J.’s our brother. He’ll be back and he’ll be ready to go.”
Of course, Detroit was put in this position because Mosley was suspended Saturday for conduct detrimental to the team and a violation of team rules and put on a plane back to the United States from London.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell wouldn’t expand on what Mosley did to earn a suspension and would not clear up whether the two week suspension the Lions announced was two weeks or two games. He wouldn’t say whether or not Mosley would be available for Detroit’s game against Miami after the bye.
“I’m not going to talk about all of that kind of stuff,” Caldwell said. “It’s there. We released a statement on it and it’s out there and that’s what it is and we’ll leave it at that.”
But there is no doubt the Lions missed something without Mosley -- even if Fairley had not been injured. Mosley has been an integral part of the Lions defense. He gives Detroit a strong, experienced third option at defensive tackle, allowing the team to Suh and Fairley.
“C.J. is a really been aspect of our defensive line,” defensive end Ezekiel Ansah said. “We didn’t have him. We didn’t have Nick. Like I said, we were thin on the defensive line and it wasn’t just the young guys, everybody had to step up.”
Most of that production came from Suh and the defensive ends. Suh had three tackles. Jason Jones had three tackles and a sack. George Johnson had three tackles. Ansah had a sack. Devin Taylor, who has seen his snaps decrease this season, had two tackles. Ansah and Jones also forced fumbles.
The Lions allowed 51 of Atlanta’s 78 rushing yards in the first half and picked up both of their sacks after halftime.
“We just had to tighten up,” Ansah said. “We all started slow. The Falcons took advantage of us and did a good job driving the ball down.
“In the second half, we all showed up.”