|Positional Unit||1st-Half Grade||Final Grade|
Lions vs. Buccaneers
Final grades for the Detroit Lions
Pass Offense: Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers. Matthew Stafford threw four interceptions and Kris Durham fumbled the ball after a nice catch down the sideline. This game had no business being close, but the Lions made enough mistakes to keep themselves from putting points on the board on most drives. The yardage totals are nice, but this was a bad effort in terms of passing.
Pass Defense: How does Tiquan Underwood have two touchdown catches and over 100 receiving yards? That is simply unacceptable. Detroit did finally find a pass rush and put a decent amount of pressure on Mike Glennon, forcing four sacks, but the secondary is playing atrociously and needs to be held accountable. Glennon cannot be allowed to look like an All-Pro quarterback.
Run Offense: Reggie Bush had a few nice runs in the second half, but overall this game has to be considered a disappointment for the Lions run offense. Bush and Bell combined for 98 yards on the day. That total may not seem terrible, but because most of it came on only two or three runs this total points to some issues. More is expected out of this unit, especially when playing at Ford Field.
Run Defense: Bobby Rainey was unable to do anything on the ground, and the outlook was no better once Brian Leonard took over in the second half. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley clogged up rushing lanes like only they can and held the Buccaneers to a mere 22 rushing yards on the day. The fact that Detroit developed a consistent pass rush was a nice aid.
Special Teams: In the second half the special teams tried to undo most of the goodwill it earned throughout the first half. Sam Martin had a tough punt blocked that planted the Buccaneers on Detroit’s 11-yard line. David Akers was not used for field-goal purposes, so let’s chalk this grade up as mediocre.
Coaching: Some thought it was controversial when Jim Schwartz went for it on 4th-and-inches in the fourth quarter, but I thought it was the right call in such a short yardage situation. You cannot blame coaching for turnovers, and that was what made this game so close.
First-half grades for the Detroit Lions
Pass Offense: Quarterback Matthew Stafford has found Calvin Johnson on a few plays, but this first half was mainly a showcase of everyone else in the Lions passing game. Nate Burleson has a touchdown and 67 receiving yards. Joseph Fauria had an impressive touchdown catch and seven players in total have a reception. Stafford has a solid 166 passing yards, but he has also thrown two costly interceptions.
Pass Defense: Rashean Mathis looks overmatched against Tiquan Underwood, who has two catches and a touchdown. For perspective, Underwood had just 11 catches all season entering this game. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has looked like a seasoned veteran today, completing nine passes for 132 yards. The Lions secondary needs to find answers quickly.
Run Offense: Detroit’s running game has been extremely hit-or-miss all season, but the early returns have been mediocre this week. Reggie Bush has 28 yards on eight carries, while Joique Bell has not been handed the ball yet. Both players have also been targeted in the passing game, but some offensive balance could help Calvin Johnson find more openings deep down the field.
Run Defense: There is simply no reason to believe that any team will establish a rushing attack against the Lions at any point this season. Bobby Rainey has found few holes to run through and has just 27 yards on 10 carries. Tampa Bay’s excellent passing game is hiding the ground game ineptitude right now, but this could be a big issue in the second half.
Special Teams: Jeremy Ross is a welcome replacement for Micheal Spurlock in the return game and is showing what a competent return man can accomplish. Ross gained 42 yards on a punt return and gave the Lions great field position. Sam Martin also had a strong 52-yard punt.
Coaching: What do you do when Darrelle Revis is blanketing Calvin Johnson? Use Johnson as a decoy and let Nate Burleson dominate on the other side. Detroit’s offensive game plan has been simple and effective. The coaching staff was well prepared for this matchup.