Detroit Lions vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Live Grades and Analysis for Detroit

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Detroit Lions vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Live Grades and Analysis for Detroit
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The Detroit Lions lost a hard-fought contest to the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 37-27. Detroit falls to 6-4 on the season while Pittsburgh improves to 4-6.

Detroit Lions Game Grades
Positional Unit 1st-Half Grade Final Grade
Pass Offense B+ C+
Pass Defense D D
Run Offense C+ C-
Run Defense A A
Special Teams A B
Coaching B+ C+

Lions vs. Bears

Final Grades for Detroit

Pass Offense: Take away the second quarter and this Detroit passing game was pitiful in this contest. Detroit scored 27 points in that quarter and zero in the other three combined. Matthew Stafford did throw for 362 yards and two touchdowns, but his inconsistencies cost the Lions at times. He overthrew receivers and tossed multiple passes directly at Pittsburgh defenders.

Pass Defense: Detroit’s pass defense has struggled all season and the Lions allowed the Steelers to do whatever they wanted through the air in this contest. Ben Roethlisberger had one of his best games of the season as he threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns. This unit is clearly the biggest weakness on this football team.

Run Offense: Detroit ignored the rushing game for the most part in the first half, but it was almost completely abandoned in the second half. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell had only 21 carries combined for the entire game and gained only 80 yards. The Lions went to the air on early downs and never allowed play action to be a formidable part of the offense.

Run Defense: At some point, teams may have to give up entirely on trying to run the ball against the Lions. Detroit does not allow teams to gain traction on the ground or establish a viable rushing attack. Le’Veon Bell had a mere 36 yards on 18 carries and was a non-factor in this contest. The entire Steelers roster gained a total of 40 rushing yards on the day.

Special Teams: Detroit had a good day on special teams overall, and yet all anyone will remember was the botched fake field goal in the fourth quarter. Sam Martin is not used to running, so his fumble was expected. All other aspects of this unit were solid on the day, including David Akers and his two field goals.

Coaching: If Martin converted that fake field goal, then Jim Schwartz would be called a genius, but since it failed, the call becomes questionable. I find it hard to fault Schwartz for playing to win, and Detroit had ample opportunities to run away with this game.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

First-Half Grades for Detroit

Pass Offense: The Lions passing attack has been all over the place throughout the first half. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has overthrown multiple wide-open receivers, but he has also made a few critical completions and his amazing second quarter allowed brought his total passing yards up to 327. A 79-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson was an obvious highlight, and this unit needs to keep finding Johnson in tough weather conditions.

Pass Defense: Ben Roethlisberger has been absolutely on fire so far. He has 222 passing yards and two touchdowns. Detroit’s secondary is missing every possible tackle and Chris Houston, in particular, is consistently getting beaten at the line of scrimmage. The Lions should consider using more zone coverage to neutralize Antonio Brown and help Houston.

Run Offense: Detroit has not made many attempts to establish the ground game up to this point, but the Lions have seen open rushing lanes when they have handed the ball off. Joique Bell and Reggie Bush have combined for 49 rushing yards. Bush has already fumbled and needs to handle the football with more care. He has hurt Detroit with fumbles multiple times this season.

Run Defense: Le'Veon Bell does have one nice catch for 43 yards, but Pittsburgh is gaining no traction on the ground. Detroit has been stout against the run all season and that dominance shows no signs of giving way today. Both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are properly filling their lanes so far. DeAndre Levy also had an impressive tackle in the backfield.

Special Teams: Micheal Spurlock has made a few defenders miss on his kick returns in the first half, while Sam Martin’s lone punt went for an impressive 50 yards. Throw in two field goals and three extra points from David Akers and Detroit's special teams unit has done just about all you can ask of it in the first half.

Coaching: Give this coaching staff credit for not panicking when Pittsburgh jumped out to an early lead. The game plan has remained unchanged and the Lions offense has improved with each passing drive. Momentum is clearly in the Lions favor heading into halftime.

 

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