Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Detroit Lions: Full Report Card for the Lions
With the loss, Detroit falls to 6-5. It was the second loss in a row to a team with a losing record, squandering a chance to bolster the lead in the NFC North.
The Lions now have a short week to prepare for a Thanksgiving visit from the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are now 5-5-1 after tying with the last-place Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, rallying from a deficit behind backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
Despite losing, several Lions did play well. Unfortunately, several prominent members of the Honolulu blue did not.
A quick note on the grading criteria:
These are based on my initial viewing and notes from the game. The grades are subjectively based on actual versus expected performance for the player. Big plays weigh heavily, and those include touchdowns, penalties, sacks, turnovers and major mistakes.
Here are my grades for the Lions.
This was Matthew Stafford's worst game of the season. Even though he did throw for 297 yards and three touchdowns, Stafford was also on the hook for four interceptions.
In addition to the picks, Stafford missed several opportunities with inaccurate throws or poor reads. He was pressured more than usual, and the pressure apparently got to him.
A hot streak at the start of the second half, as well as a beautiful touchdown throw in the corner to Joseph Fauria over tight coverage, salvages a somewhat respectable mark.
This was a very hit-and-miss kind of day for Reggie Bush. He had 15 carries for 83 yards, but 39 of those came on one excellent run. Many times he danced his way into a tackler, usually Lavonte David, and he overran his blocking on more than one occasion.
He was ineffective as a receiver, catching four of his seven targets for just 17 yards. One of those misses was a drop, though Bush did show strong effort to convert a late third down by lunging the ball out past the marker.
Joique Bell wasn't asked to do a lot, and he didn't disappoint in that regard. Six carries netted just 15 yards, as he looked a little slow from his lingering foot injury. His one reception didn't gain a yard, but the one-handed snag was impressive.
The rookie did not touch the ball on offense, but he did make an impact on the game. Theo Riddick got his paws on a punt, partially blocking the kick. His primary role in limited offensive snaps was as a decoy in the slot. Riddick's pass protection on one play was noticeably weak, a reason why his role is unlikely to increase this year.
Megatron played better than the statistics show. He caught seven passes for 115 yards, but it could have been a lot more prolific. He and Stafford were not on the same page (read: Stafford missed him) on two potential big plays.
Then there is the interception that was literally on his hands. That's a catch he makes 99 times out of 100, but when his team needed him to make it most, he fumbled it away.
It's worth noting he was more effective when isolated on Darrelle Revis than when the Buccaneers used more help to bracket him throughout the second half.
It was a strong return for Nate Burleson. In his first game since Week 3, Mr. Lionblood hauled in seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
He wasn't perfect, however. On the first interception, Burleson stood and watched instead of reacting to the play. He also dropped a ball in coverage, and his blocking was not strong.
Kris Durham is an excellent example of how much one negative play can ruin a grade. Before his fumble after the catch, he likely had no lower than an A- for his receptions but especially for his exceptional blocking.
Alas, he fumbled away a ball after making his third catch. It was a lethal turnover for the Lions' hopes of winning the game.
Jeremy Ross did not see a pass thrown his way, and I only noted him on the field for one offensive snap. He had a mixed day as a return man. A 42-yard punt return looked great, but he was charged with a fumble and also failed to field two punts that cost the team yardage.
Brandon Pettigrew caught three of the five passes thrown his way, including Detroit's third touchdown. His hands looked strong. One of those two misses was picked off and returned for a touchdown by Leonard Johnson, and Pettigrew's effort to try to catch the ball consisted of ducking. Unacceptable.
His blocking was a mixed bag. He's either really good or really bad from play to play. Normally he is much more consistent, but in this game he struggled when asked to help in pass protection.
It's getting to be old hat for Fauria to get just one catch. He made the most of it, however; his 10-yard touchdown grab in the back corner of the end zone gave the Lions a lead in the second quarter. His lack of stoutness as a blocker continues to limit his role.
It was not his best game, as Riley Reiff allowed a sack to Dekoda Watson. To say he was beaten for some pressures is overstating it; yes, he did allow some pressures on Stafford, but Reiff maintained some modicum of blocking on those.
He earned a half-grade bump for an exceptional block on Bush's long run, an effort which took out two Bucs defenders.
A false start penalty and a whiff on Gerald McCoy that led to a tackle for loss marred a solid day in pass protection.
My notes had Dominic Raiola getting away with a couple of holds and a couple of illegal blows to the head. They're not negatives if they're not drawing flags. He did not get out to the second level well in this game.
It would have been real hard for Larry Warford to match last week's effort. He wasn't bad here, but he's been better in pass protection.
The undrafted rookie had a tough day. When Adrian Calyborn lined up over him, the Buccaneers end won the majority of the battles. Throw in a holding penalty and a missed target in space, and it was a rough outing for the right tackle.
Interesting game for Nick Fairley. He did not record a tackle, and his one official quarterback hit resulted in a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty. Yet I noted No. 98 getting a couple of other pressures, and he absorbed a lot of blocking pressure inside to help facilitate the strong run defense.
Bobby Rainey is lucky Ndamukong Suh didn't shatter his sternum on the tackle for loss where Suh darn near beat him to Mike Glennon for the handoff. As with Fairley, he did a lot of yeoman work against the run, which is not rewarded on the stat sheet. Not much pressure on the quarterback, however.
It was quite an auspicious return for the rookie right end. Ziggy Ansah notched two sacks, including the only real pressure on Glennon in the first half. He looked fully recovered from the high ankle sprain that sidelined him for a couple of weeks.
After an ineffective first half, Willie Young exploded in the third and fourth quarters. I wrote about his effort in the game takeaways.
The tall rookie was barely noticeable in relief duty for Ansah.
It did not show up on the stat sheet, but I had Israel Idonije for an assist on a tackle for loss. On the very next play he got close enough to Glennon to merit a pressure too. One of his better games in a Detroit uniform, though that says more about his disappointing performance to date.
On a week where I trumpeted his candidacy for Most Improved Player, DeAndre Levy didn't do much to hurt my cause. He did rack up several tackles, but he missed a shot at a big tackle for loss. Most of his tackling was cleanup work not initiated by Levy himself.
He did get a pass defensed when he slammed into Tiquan Underwood to force a drop. I noted Levy was tighter in coverage than cohort Stephen Tulloch on the day.
I'll keep this real simple for Tulloch. Run defense awesome. Pass coverage bad. Because the run defense was fantastic it weighs heavier.
Ashlee Palmer did not play a lot, but he did his role very well. The Lions use him as a run blitzer, and he recorded two solo tackles in that capacity, including a big tackle for loss on Rainey.
He did not play much on defense, registering one tackle. My one note on him was not a good one, as I have his missed block being responsible for the blocked punt. The only reason it isn't a complete failure is that he wasn't the only guilty party on the jailbreak punt rush.
Several folks were quick to point out that Louis Delmas blew his coverage responsibility on the long touchdown pass, and I concur. He also reaffirmed that he is just not a good blitzer. At least the run defense looked sharp.
Glover Quin recorded a rare sack on a legitimately excellent blitz. He was a big part of the run defense as well. This might have been his best game even though he did not force any turnovers.
I wrote extensively about Houston in the game takeaways. He was not the only guilty party on the Tiquan Underwood touchdown, but the lazy tackling effort (pictured) is inexcusable.
The Bucs picked on him early, and at least three of Glennon's nine completions in a row in the first half came at his expense. One of those was Underwood's first touchdown. He played better in the second half.
He operated pretty effectively inside, as the Buccaneers seldom tested him in coverage. Timothy Wright did beat him once.
He made the notes for unwittingly deflecting a pass with his head. I didn't see him playing a lot in this one.
He's most notable in this game for having a punt blocked, but that was not his fault at all. The three punts he managed to get off traveled a combined 151 yards, including a boomer that pinned the Bucs deep inside their own 5-yard line.
The depth on his kickoffs was not ideal in this game. Eric Page managed a couple of nice kick returns out of the front of his own end zone.
Very little for the veteran placekicker to do in this one, as he never attempted a field goal. David Akers made all three extra points.