|Positional Unit||1-st Half Grade||Final Grade|
Lions vs. Bears
Pass Offense: Matthew Stafford was off today. He was overthrowing receivers and was a second late on multiple throws. And yet, this passing game still played well. Calvin Johnson had his requisite touchdown, Brandon Pettigrew caught the ball and Kris Durham had 58 receiving yards. It is great to see this passing game succeed even when Stafford is not playing his best.
Run Offense: Anyone who was worried that Reggie Bush would taper off in the second half needs to relax. The Lions rushing game is legitimately good and Bush is clearly healthy. He finished with 173 total yards and Joique Bell managed to squeak in 42 total yards of his own. This kind of rushing prowess is a breath of fresh air and will be fun to watch all season.
Pass Defense: Jay Cutler’s poor decisions and lackluster accuracy certainly helped the Lions pass defense, but forcing three interceptions and getting three sacks is commendable. The defensive line had constant pressure, Louis Delmas was all over the field and Chicago didn’t start passing well until late in the game.
Run Defense: In the first-half grades I mentioned that Detroit gives up one huge carry each week. That trend continued this week as Matt Forte finished with 95 rushing yards, despite a 53-yard touchdown run in the first half. The Lions front four do not let opponents establish a ground presence and will be Detroit’s greatest asset moving forward.
Special Teams: Everything went right for the Lions special teams today. The coverage team did not allow Devin Hester to do anything. David Akers made four field goals and Michael Spurlock had a lengthy punt return. This was a blueprint to follow.
Coaching: Detroit slowed things down in the second half and gave Chicago no real time to establish its offensive game plan and put points on the board in bunches. Packages were put in place to get to Jay Cutler and the offense was varied and balanced. Toss in only three penalties and you have a great coaching performance.
Pass Offense: The passing game continues to move Detroit down the field, and it's finding ways to score. Stafford has struggled with his accuracy so far, overthrowing multiple targets. What is perhaps most impressive here is that everyone is stepping up in Nate Burleson’s absence. Brandon Pettigrew even has four catches. Stafford has found six targets to this point.
Run Offense: Reggie Bush is back and just as good as he was in Week 1. Bush is hitting the hole with authority, making defenders miss and quickly getting upfield. Joique Bell has not been utilized much yet as a complementary piece, but that isn’t really needed when Bush has 136 total yards in the first half.
Pass Defense: Louis Delmas is simply a difference-maker. He is rarely healthy, but the aggressive way he plays the game is essential to the success of the Lions secondary. His early interception shifted momentum, and Detroit has held Jay Cutler to a mere 101 yards passing. He is off-balance and not finding open targets.
Run Defense: Detroit seems to have a penchant for allowing one massive rush every week. Matt Forte’s 53-yard touchdown run gave Chicago the lead. However, in every other game this season the defense has rebounded and held the ground game in check for the rest of the contest. This strategy simply cannot hold up forever, but the Lions need it to work out again this week.
Special Teams: Hello, Michael Spurlock! Detroit has patiently waited for a return game to develop and Spurlock delivered with a 57-yard punt return in the second quarter. Throw in three easy field goals from David Akers and you have a near perfect half from the Lions special teams.
Coaching: Detroit has repeatedly settled for chip-shot field goals on fourth down in the red zone. This may not make every fan happy, but early in the game it is both the safe and correct decision.