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Parkston's Reiff pleases Lions coach so far

Detroit Lions offensive tackle Riley Reiff (71) during his introduction before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Heading into last week's season-opener, the Detroit Lions' Riley Reiff had a large feat to tackle.

The Lions have three first-year starters on their line this season with Parkston native Riley Reiff succeeding Jeff Backus' left tackle position this season. Sunday, the Reiff matched up across from Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, who prior to Sunday's game had 13 1/2 sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown in 11 games against the Lions.

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" It was a tough matchup," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of Reiff's performance Monday in a Lions press conference. "Jared Allen still made his plays. He knocked down a couple passes and did the things that he does, but we prevented those game-changing type plays. I thought that combined with the run game was important."

Last season, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked 44 times and was hit four times in Sunday's contest against the Minnesota Vikings, which Detroit won 34-24. One of those four sacks came from Allen.

Although Reiff kept Allen from making frequent contact with Stafford, Allen's greatest impact came by knocking down Stafford passes. The Lions racked up 469 total yards on offense, and Stafford had time in the pocket to complete 28 of 43 passes for 357 yards for two touchdowns and an interception.

"I think it just goes to the offensive line in general and you just look at the results of the offensive line," Schwartz said. "That's a spot that it's not individual play, it's how the whole group plays. I thought they run-blocked well, and they obviously gave us enough time and kept the quarterback clean enough to be able to make plays down the field."

After Reiff's start at Stafford's blindside, Schwartz said there were still some things to improve.

"There's some things that those guys can all do better," he said. "There's a bunch. Riley got out of position one time, was lucky to not get a holding call on him one time. But they battled every play and I thought put together a good performance together as a group on the offensive line."

Reiff's next test is Arizona's Calais Campbell as the Lions travel to play the Cardinals at 3:25 p.m. Central time Sunday.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.