The Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars met in Week 9. The Lions were favorites to win this game but they needed to perform well as all road games are tough in the NFL. The Lions offense and defense dominated the game against the Jaguars. The Lions offense scored four rushing touchdowns in the game and the defense swarmed to the ball and limited the Jaguars offense all day.
The Lions beat the Jaguars 31-14.
Let’s look at the Lions’ final postgame grades and evaluations.
Matthew Stafford: B+
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had one of his best games of the 2012 season as he overcame a slow start from an accuracy perspective to finish strong. After the first quarter, Stafford was very accurate against the Jaguars, fitting the ball into tight windows throughout the afternoon.
Stafford displayed his athletic ability early in the game to avoid the pass rush. He finished 22-of-33 for 285 yards. He did not throw a touchdown pass in the game as the Lions really established the rushing game.
Mikel Leshoure: A
Running back Mikel Leshoure’s athletic ability was fully on display in this game as he consistently side stepped defenders, made them miss and finished with the ball in the end zone. Leshoure’s quick feet are an incredible asset as he moves remarkably well for a bigger running back.
He was very effective when he touched the ball, running it for 70 yards on 16 carries. He scored three touchdowns in the game.
Joique Bell: A
Joique Bell continues to be one of the pleasant surprises for the Lions in 2012. He makes the most of his opportunities each and every week. Bell rushed for 73 yards on 13 carries and caught three balls for 36 yards. Bell scored a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. Bell is a reliable running back and a very nice offensive weapon for the Lions.
Calvin Johnson: B+
Johnson played through a nagging knee injury and looked as good as he has all year. He found open areas of the defense throughout the game and did not drop any passes thrown at him. This is the kind of performance that will go a long way in the eyes of the team as he was clearly limited, but it did not hurt his performance.
Johnson finished with 129 yards on seven catches, but he did not score a touchdown in Week 9.
Titus Young: C
Young had a very quiet day after his Week 8 eruption. He dropped a touchdown pass that hit him right in both hands. Stafford didn’t look his way all that often, but in fairness, the Lions scored three rushing touchdowns early in the game and they didn’t need to throw it very much in the second half.
Young finished with two catches for 20 yards.
Ryan Broyles: B
Broyles has emerged as a chain-mover for the Lions offense. He has stepped into the starting slot receiver role with the Burleson injury, and we are seeing the skills that made the Lions draft him in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft.
Broyles finished with 52 yards on six catches and he was responsible for multiple first downs.
Brandon Pettigrew: B-
Pettigrew was very quiet against the Jaguars as he finished with only one catch for 11 yards. The Lions went away from the pass as they were up big in the second half.
Tony Scheffler: B-
Scheffler did not have a great statistical game against Jaguars but he was effective. He registered 28 yards on two catches. The Lions focused on the run and the Lions pass catchers were not involved throughout the second half of the game.
Jeff Backus: B+
Jeff Backus had another very good game as he 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 Jaguars as they had only one sack on Stafford. Backus has been great in 2012.
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. The Lions do a good job of running the ball behind Sims. He is quietly a stabilizing force playing next to Jeff Backus.
Dominic Raiola: C+
Raiola looks physically outmatched in every game as he struggles to move anybody off the ball. Much like the other offensive linemen, Raiola was fairly effective in pass protection. Raiola’s job is to make the calls for the offensive line, and he did a good job there today.
Stephen Peterman: B
Stephen Peterman was good in this game. He helped to create a little push in the running game and the Lions did try to run the ball behind him. He was good in pass protection as well.
Gosder Cherilus: C+
Cherilus was a not a problem from a negative play perspective in Week 8, but he did get called for a holding penalty. He has made poor choices by taking personal foul penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct in the past, but he did none of that today. He performed well in pass protection against the Jaguars.
Riley Reiff: B-
Reiff came in to play in the jumbo package, and he performed well. The results speak for themselves, as the Lions red zone woes went away for a week as they pounded the ball down the Jaguars throat and into the end zone.
Cliff Avril: C+
Cliff Avril had a pretty average game by his standards as he finished with one tackle. The Lions did not get much pressure from their defensive line against the Jaguars, and Avril was not much of a factor in this game.
Kyle Vanden Bosch: B+
Vanden Bosch did a good job of pressuring the quarterback today by making him move out of the pocket. He did not register a sack but he was all over the field. The Lions defensive line did a really strong job of helping in defensing the run. Vanden Bosch totaled four tackles but was a bigger part of the defensive effort that the statistics show.
Nick Fairley: B+
Some of the bigger name defensive tackles didn’t register on the stat sheet against the Jaguars, but Fairley really showed up against the run in Week 9. He made three tackles and helped to move Gabbert out of the pocket throughout the game.
Lawrence Jackson: B
The Lions managed to get one sack in the game against the Jaguars, and it was Jackson that got the sack. Jackson did a good job of moving the edge of the defense and helping to limit the Jaguars running game.
Sammie Hill: B-
Hill is a depth player along the interior of the defense and an important part of the Lions rotation at defensive tackle. Hill registered two tackles against the Jaguars.
Justin Durant: B+
Justin Durant and the linebacker group as a whole played a great game against the Jaguars. They were tasked with playing disciplined football on the road in the NFL, and that’s a tough job. He registered seven total tackles. Durant and the linebacker group are quickly emerging as one of the best linebacker groups in the NFL.
Stephen Tulloch: B+
Stephen Tulloch tackled well throughout the day. He finished with five total tackles and did a nice job of playing in the middle of the field against the Jaguars. Tulloch and the Lions linebackers played a great game and they kept the Jaguars from getting anything going on the ground in Week 9.
Ashlee Palmer: B-
Palmer started for an injured DeAndre Levy for the second straight week. He didn’t have a great statistical game but he did a very nice job of playing disciplined football. The Jaguars were never really in this game as the Lions held the Jaguars rushing attack to 64 total yards. Palmer finished with three total tackles.
Jonte Green: B
Green got a lot of playing time at cornerback in this game opposite Chris Houston. He played a strong game and did a solid job of locating the ball. Green intercepted a pass because he was aware of a tipped ball. Green is improving as a cornerback as he finished with five tackles and an interception.
Chris Houston: B
Houston played another very good game as he kept everything in front of him. Houston had an effective day playing a very disciplined game against a fairly weak opponent. Houston had four total tackles against the Jaguars.
Jacob Lacey: B
Lacey played well for the Lions against the Jaguars as he broke up a few passes and finished with three tackles. Lacey plays a lot of nickel corner for the Lions and his coverage skills are solid.
Erik Coleman: B+
Coleman got the start at safety filling in for the injured Louis Delmas. Coleman located the ball, didn’t get burned deep and was very strong in coverage against the Jaguars. Coleman made a great play down the field to intercept a pass thrown by Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Coleman tacked on three tackles in the stat column to go with the interception.
Ricardo Silva: B+
Silva had a strong performance against the Jaguars, stepping in for starter Amari Spievey . He stopped the run and did a very nice job in coverage. He finished the game with one tackle.
Special Teams: B
The special teams units did not hurt the Lions against the Jaguars in Week 9. They did a nice job in kickoff and punt coverage, and kicker Jason Hanson kicked the ball deep and away from the returner, preventing the big return.
The Liosn did miss a field goal but the special teams units were good in Week 9.
The coaching staff had a fairly strong game in all areas as the Lions looked more prepared to play this game than at any other point in this season. It was a very good showing for the Lions. The Lions rushing offense dominated this game and the staff deserves credit for drawing up the game plan to get the running game going.
The Lions are reducing the number of penalties that they are taking, and the staff deserves credit for getting the team playing with more discipline.