Lions vs. Eagles: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Detroit
The Detroit Lions continue to get down in games, but they have a ridiculous ability to dig themselves out of holes that are seemingly too big. It's another fourth-quarter comeback and another cardiac win. The Lions defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 26-23 in overtime.
The win moves the Lions to 2-3 on the season and it takes the Eagles to a 3-3 record. This was an intense, hard-hitting football game that will have an impact on the NFC down the road.
Let's look at the Lions' final postgame grades and evaluations.
Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
Matthew Stafford: C+
Matthew Stafford was horrendous through three quarters against the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, he was not very accurate and he missed open receivers most of the day. He looked a little banged up and struggled through the majority of this game.
As is the story a majority of the time, Stafford woke up in the fourth quarter and the offense exploded. He threw a few incredible passes, particularly the touchdown to receiver Nate Burleson. Stafford’s fourth quarter erases what he did through the first three quarters.
He finished with two touchdowns, one rushing and one throwing, and was 22-of-45 for 311 yards with an interception. This was not a great performance by Stafford, but taking a team that is down by 10 points in the fourth quarter to an overtime win is very impressive.
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Mikel Leshoure: B
The Lions ran the ball effectively against the over-pursuing Eagles defense. Leshoure ran the ball well and his running kept the Eagles defense honest. While the offense is very pass-happy, Leshoure is a threat in the Lions backfield.
Leshoure was the Lions' featured back and he ran tough against this aggressive Eagles defense. He carried the ball 15 times and finished with 70 yards. He also caught three passes for 24 yards. In all, Smith touched the ball 18 times and averaged 5.2 yards per touch.
Joique Bell: B
Joique Bell was a secondary rusher in this game, but he ran for some tough yards and made big plays when he was given the opportunity. Bell ran it seven times for 38 yards, and he caught one pass for three yards. Continuing to make the most out of his opportunities, Bell is performing very well in a backup role.
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Calvin Johnson: B+
Calvin Johnson was quiet for most of the day, but when it mattered he showed why he is the best wide receiver in the game. He threatened the Eagles defense in the fourth quarter and made some gigantic plays for the Lions offense.
Johnson finished with 135 yards on six catches, with a long of 37 yards. He took a few false start penalties and an offensive pass interference call in the game, which is totally out of character, as he never causes negative plays. Overall, Johnson was great again in Week 6.
Titus Young: D
Again, Titus Young was a non-factor as he finished with two catches for six yards. This wasn’t the best matchup for him; his specialty is taking the top off the defense, and the Lions only took one shot down the field, a long pass that Young dropped. He needs to play better in the coming weeks, as he didn’t help the offense in this game.
Nate Burleson: B+
Nate Burleson had a very strong game against the Eagles, and he was a factor in the offense throughout. Burleson caught four passes for 24 yards and a touchdown, and he was responsible for moving the chains for the Lions.
Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
Brandon Pettigrew: C
Pettigrew was ineffective against the Philadelphia Eagles. He caught three passes for 38 yards, but they were all early in the game. On a positive note, Pettigrew didn’t fumble or drop a pass in this game.
Tony Scheffler: B+
Tony Scheffler caught an enormous pass down the field in the fourth quarter for 57 yards. He was open throughout most of the game and is a mismatch for most defenses. Stafford had Scheffler running open down the seam a few times, but because he was inaccurate early in the game, he could not get the ball to him and capitalize on those opportunities. Scheffler finished with three catches for 81 yards.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Jeff Backus: B
Jeff Backus did a great job of protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford. He does not help in the run-blocking game, but that is not a particular strength of his. Overall, Backus was great versus the Eagles as they had no sacks on Stafford. He took a few false starts, but the results speak for themselves.
Rob Sims: B
Rob Sims did a nice job of keeping Stafford clean in this one. Sims was really effective in pass protection and he did an adequate job of giving the Lions running backs some room to operate. He is quietly a very good player and a stabilizing force playing next to Jeff Backus. Though he took a few penalties that were out of character, he is one of those players who rarely gets called for negative plays.
Dominic Raiola: C+
Much like the other offensive linemen, Raiola was fairly effective in pass protection. The Lions aren’t asking Raiola to open up holes for them in the running game, as his job is to make the calls for the offensive line. Raiola looks physically outmatched in every game as he struggles to move anybody off the ball.
Stephen Peterman: C+
Stephen Peterman was good in this game, as he only took one penalty. He did not create any push in the running game and the Lions could not run the ball behind him.
Gosder Cherilus: C
From a penalty perspective, Cherilus was a problem. He made a poor choice and took a personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. While he performed well in pass protection, he lacked the ability to move the Eagles' defensive linemen to give the running backs any room to run the ball.
Riley Reiff: B
Reiff entered the game in the jumbo package for the Lions and played alongside both Backus and Cherilus. He is an excellent run blocker and it showed as the Lions ran the ball well with Reiff in the game.
Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
Ndamukong Suh: B
Ndamukong Suh had another strong performance, as he was unblockable at times and he deflected a pass on a critical third down late in the fourth quarter when the Lions needed to get the ball back. Teams are still trying to take advantage of his aggressiveness by running the ball at him, but he is much better at playing the run than he has been in the past. Suh finished with no sacks and two total tackles.
Cliff Avril: B+
Cliff Avril had a great game against the elusive Michael Vick. He finished with four total tackles and two sacks. This was Avril’s best game in 2012 as he looked like the Avril from last year. The Lions got pressure from every spot along their defensive line against the Eagles, but Avril got home more than the other linemen.
Kyle Vanden Bosch: B
Vanden Bosch did a good job of pressuring the quarterback today. He registered a half sack and was all over the field. The Lions hit Vick early and often and the pressure made all the difference in the game. Vanden Bosch totaled four tackles.
Nick Fairley: B-
Fairley was aggressive throughout the entire contest and it caused him to jump offsides a few times because of Vick's hard count. The penalties are an issue, but this was one of Fairley’s better games in the NFL. He had a huge sack in overtime and applied pressure all day.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Justin Durant: B+
Justin Durant and the linebacker group as a whole played a very solid game against the Eagles. They were tasked with tackling one of the NFL’s best players in running back LeSean McCoy. Durant and the rest of the linebacker group did a great job of preventing the big play. He registered eight total tackles.
Stephen Tulloch: B+
Stephen Tulloch tackled well throughout the day. He finished with eight total tackles and recovered a fumble. It was a tough test, but Tulloch did a nice job against the Eagles. The Lions linebackers played a really clean game and they kept the Lions in it when the offense could get nothing going.
DeAndre Levy: B
DeAndre Levy didn’t have a great statistical game but he was tasked with spying Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. He used the boundary as a friend and forced Vick out of bounds multiple times. Levy finished with one tackle, but he played a much bigger part than the statistics show.
Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE
Jacob Lacey: B-
Lacey got the start at cornerback in this game opposite Chris Houston. He played a physical game and was banged up multiple times. The Lions got a strong showing out of their secondary, mainly because of the pressure the defensive line put on the Eagles. Lacey finished with three tackles.
Chris Houston: B-
Houston played a good game as he kept everything in front of him. He was giving up too much cushion at times, but he had an effective day against a pretty potent passing team. Houston had two tackles and an interception.
Bill Bentley: B-
Bentley came in to spell the injured Lacey and he played pretty well. He located the ball and didn’t get burned deep, tacking on three tackles in the stat column.
Amari Spievey: B
Spievey had a really strong performance against the Eagles. He stopped the run and did a pretty nice job in coverage. Spievey finished the game with five total tackles as he was really strong defending the rushing attack.
Louis Delmas: A
Delmas’ return sparked the Lions defense as his value to their defense was fully on display against the Eagles. He made plays all over the field, against the run and the pass. His return makes the defense so much better, and that showed with his seven tackles and one interception.
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
Special Teams: B
Failure was all we saw before the bye, and the Lions responded with a great game against Philadelphia in Week 6. They didn’t allow a big return, and kicker Jason Hanson made four field goals, including the game-winner in overtime. This is a great response for an area of the game that was killing the Lions earlier in the season.
The coaching staff will get a pass because of the win, but it needs to examine its approach on offense. The Lions' inability to get this team ready to play out of the tunnel is alarming, as are the massive number of penalties that this team is taking.
There is still some confusion as to the plays that are being called on offense. The jumbo package worked all day, and when the Lions needed a first down on 3rd-and-1 they didn't try to run it for a first down. They need to work the kinks out as the offense still looks to be playing in mud.