|Positional Unit||1st-Half Grade||Final Grade|
Lions vs. Bengals
Pass Offense: Calvin Johnson made his presence felt in the biggest way possible as he caught a touchdown pass between three defenders in the end zone. Detroit went to their early and often in this game. Stafford threw the ball 28 times for 357 yards and three scores. This was the Lions passing game at its absolute best.
Run Offense: Detroit’s ground game was held largely in check in this contest. Reggie Bush failed to find many holes as he rushed for just 50 yards on 20 carries. Joique Bell was given the ball early, but quickly disappeared and was not a factor in the outcome. The Lions did not need much from the rushing game, but more was still expected.
Pass Defense: This is a problem that is not going away. Detroit does not have the secondary to compete with quality passing games. Andy Dalton had his way in the air to the tune of 372 passing yards and three touchdowns. A.J. Green dominated any defender the Lions threw at him and finished with 155 receiving yards.
Run Defense: Cincinnati failed to do anything on the ground. Giovani Bernard has been a difference-maker for the Bengals in recent weeks, but was held to just 27 yards in this contest. The ground game did little to contribute to Cincinnati’s win in this contest.
Special Teams: After a frenetic first half from the special teams, not much happened on this front in the second half. Michael Spurlock managed a decent return, but that was the only notable update. The Lions must get the field-goal situation sorted out moving forward. Blocked kicks are unacceptable.
Coaching: Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag in a pivotal spot and won. That alone should be enough to bolster the grade for the coaching staff. A bad punt from Sam Martin is largely at fault for the Lions not having a chance to win this one late. The coaches did their part.
Pass Offense: Detroit is involving everyone in the offense and the aerial results have been impressive. Seven different Lions have receptions and five of those guys have multiple catches. Calvin Johnson looks 100 percent healthy, Joseph Fauria is being used heavily and Matthew Stafford has 144 yards passing and a touchdown.
Run Offense: When given the ball, both Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have gained positive yardage. They have a combined 101 total yards, 61 of which have come on the ground. The Lions have simply been much more focused on the passing game in the first half because it has been so effective. The rushing numbers may not look great, but the grade cannot be too low here.
Pass Defense: Andy Dalton underthrew A.J. Green, and yet the two still hooked up for an 83-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Detroit’s defense has continued to struggle since then, as Dalton has 160 yards passing and two touchdowns. The Bengals have relied on Dalton and the passing attack to keep this game close.
Run Defense: The Bengals running game has been almost nonexistent in the first half. Neither BenJarvus Green-Ellis nor Giovani Bernard found any traction running the ball, with only 24 rushing yards between them. Again, the Bengals have not possessed the ball much, but part of the problem is that the rushing game not working.
Special Teams: Sam Martin may eventually convince us all that he was worth a fifth-round pick. He is already as good as it gets in the NFL. His long and accurate punts have been a bright spot all season. However, Cincinnati blocked a Detroit field goal and almost took it back for a score. The field-goal unit has had problems all season.
Coaching: An early 3rd-and-long called for a short pass to Brandon Pettigrew. Other than that clear play-calling error, the coaching staff has not made any egregious mistakes. Detroit is chewing up the clock and grinding out long drives. Defensive blitzes are also keeping Cincinnati off balance.