This is the supposed strength of the Lions defense, and they did not disappoint. After getting blasted on Adrian Peterson's long touchdown run on Minnesota's first play, the Lions defensive line largely dominated the line of scrimmage.
Nick Fairley recorded 1.5 sacks and continually provided interior pressure that forced panicked movement from Christian Ponder. The stat line doesn't indicate just how fantastic Fairley played.
Ndamukong Suh will be noted for his personal foul penalty, but beyond that egregious mental mistake, he played well. CJ Mosley offered stoutness against the run in relief duty.
The ends barely impacted the stat line, but their proficiency at setting a hard edge against the run really bottled up Adrian Peterson. Ziggy Ansah earned a half sack in his debut. He recorded a vicious strip sack on another play but was clearly offsides. Ziggy fared well in his individual battle with Matt Kalil, one of the better left tackles in the league.
The penalties on Suh, Fairley and Ansah dock the grade by a half mark.