Life is good for Darius Slay.
He leads all NFL cornerbacks in passes defended (17) and interceptions (four). He’s on track to earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl, with an All-Pro selection in sight as well.
On Sunday he played a starring role, yet again, in the Lions’ second straight win: three passes defended, one interception and a 25.6 passer rating against on 11 targets.
His pick, which came in the end zone with 1:23 remaining, clinched Detroit’s 38-24 win. He said he was relieved to get it.
“I knew it was over with, man. I was tired. That was like a 20-play drive, we were all gassed. It just felt good to get off the field, man, and seal the game. I was gassed, I knew my teammates was gassed,” said Slay.
Afterward, Jim Caldwell awarded his players a “Victory Monday” — no walkthrough, no meetings, no need to come in to the practice facility — and Slay was eager to get home.
For some much-needed rest?
“No. Much-needed 2K and Call of Duty. I’m finna go get on that right now,” he said.
Slay appears to be enjoying his Victory Monday, if Twitter is any indication. So does fellow cornerback Quandre Diggs.
Diggs may have had the most impressive — and most important — defensive play in Sunday’s win. Late in the third quarter with the scored tied at 24, he flew into the Browns’ backfield on an unimpeded blitz and obliterated rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Kizer was temporarily removed from the game with a rib injury. By the time he returned, after backup quarterback Cody Kessler was sacked three times in seven plays, Detroit had pulled ahead by two touchdowns.
The 6’0 Slay appreciated his teammate’s hit, calling the 5’9 Diggs an “angry midget.”
Slay’s only complaint about Sunday’s game was the pass interference penalty he was assessed on Cleveland’s final drive. It was the one time wide receiver Ricardo Lewis got the better of Slay, at least according to the refs.
“That was so weak! Man, that was so weak,” said Slay. “They just mad because I was on him all game.”
Jim Caldwell said on Monday that Slay, 26, gets better every week.
“I mean, he just works. He loves to work, he loves to practice, he loves the game. He’s got unbelievable competitiveness and that’s always on his mind, regardless of what he’s doing because it’s competition involved in it, ” said Caldwell. “With that kind of attitude and he’s got physical tools, he just keeps getting better.”