Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Full Roster Report Card for Detroit
The Detroit Lions headed into Philadelphia for a date with the Eagles. In a game where up to eight inches of snow fell from kickoff to final gun, the Lions saw an early lead slip away in a 34-20 loss.
Detroit fell to 7-6, while the Eagles improved to 8-5. The Lions remain in first place in the NFC North, but now they must win every remaining game if they want to ensure the first NFC North title in team history.
This is a tough game to grade because of the freakish weather conditions. In light of that, the scale has been adjusted to take into account the strange weather. There is a difference between weather-induced mistakes and mental mistakes, however, and these grades reflect that.
Impact plays weigh heavily on the grades. Turnovers, touchdowns and key stops influence the marks in both directions.
Here are the grades for Detroit.
When watching the game, it was obvious Stafford was in the midst of a very bad day. The box score looks even worse.
Five fumbles; 10-of-25 passing, including 4-of-13 in the second half; a couple of near-miss fumbles on handoffs where Stafford didn't get to his spot fast enough.
Clearly Matthew Stafford is not a mudder. The best thing about it his performance in Philadelphia is that it's over and unlikely to ever be seen again.
Two lost fumbles in the first half buried Bell's grade. He wasn't terribly effective in the snow, netting just 69 yards on 23 carries. His longest run went for eight measly yards. On a day where the Eagles ran all over, Bell could not come close to matching his counterparts.
He does salvage a bit of respect for leading the Lions in receiving, catching four passes for 58 yards. There was a late drop, however.
The rookie sixth-rounder was an emergency fill-in for an injured Reggie Bush, who aggravated a calf issue in pregame warmups.
Riddick carried the ball four times for 12 yards. He displayed very nifty feet on one run, and he wasn't afraid to try to grind for extra yardage despite the poor footing.
Three catches for 49 yards was all Megatron could muster. One of those catches went for 33 yards, proving that perhaps the Lions could try to stretch the snowy field a bit.
It was hard to cut sharply or even track the ball in the snow, so all the receivers get a bit of a pass here.
Burleson made the most of his two catches. Even though they produced just 18 yards, almost all those came as a direct result of Burleson's effort after the catch. He was wide open on a third-down pass but Stafford threw the ball higher than Blake Griffin could possibly touch.
Much like his Georgia teammate Stafford, Durham really struggled in the snow. He did not catch a pass and seldom appeared open.
Pettigrew made his impact early, catching his one pass for 23 yards on Detroit's second drive. It set them up well into Philadelphia territory, but Bell promptly fumbled two plays later.
On the downside, Pettigrew struggled as a run blocker. He could not get any drive with his legs and fell into the snow harmlessly several times.
The rookie did not make a dent in the stat book. Stafford did not throw a pass his way, and his presence was seldom noticed during two viewings of the game.
Dickerson dropped the one pass thrown his way on what was arguably Stafford's best throw of the game.
The snowy conditions made evaluating line play difficult, particularly in the first half when the flurries were really flying. As a result, the players will be listed here with minimal commentary.
He didn't allow a sack, but much of that had to do with the snow. The left tackle made the notes for a couple of strong clearout blocks on runs, but far more often he was sliding on skates and losing leverage. There was also a false start penalty.
The left guard whiffed on a block, getting Bell buried in the backfield. He seemed to struggle to generate any surge all day. Again, the strong pass protection was as much about the snow as it was blocking prowess.
Detroit had major issues with the center-quarterback exchange. While four of the fumbles were on Stafford, the costliest one was squarely on Raiola. He snapped the ball before Stafford, or anyone else on the offense, was ready, leading to the final turnover that essentially ended any Detroit hope.
It was a rare quiet, nondescript game for the stellar rookie right guard. He was noted being too far up the field on some run blocks where the play never caught up to him. Warford also got away with a bad hold on an early pass attempt.
The starting right tackle left the game in the first quarter with an elbow injury and did not return.
Fox filled in for Waddle at right tackle. After playing well initially, his run blocking took a turn for the worse. Lateral agility is not his friend even in pristine playing conditions, so his struggles in the snow were not surprising.
Suh was once again the most effective player on the defense, especially in the first half. He split a double-team before it could touch him to bury LeSean McCoy for a loss, and he was the most effective pass-rusher on the afternoon.
His effort shined in chasing down a run well away from the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately he was not able to do much against near-constant double-teams in the fourth quarter, when the Eagles exploded for 28 points.
The defensive tackle played very well early, including a one-armed takedown of McCoy for a loss in the second quarter.
Yet he committed three penalties, one of which was declined. Fairley consistently took himself out of running lanes during the Philly onslaught in the fourth quarter. His performance in that period is one of the worst for a tackle in recent memory
Before leaving the game with a shoulder injury, the rookie from Ghana was surprisingly effective in the snow. His long stride somehow afforded him balance and burst that others could not muster.
There is no word yet on the severity of his injury, though it's worth noting he missed time in the preseason with issues on the same shoulder.
He notched an unofficial sack when he crashed into Nick Foles after the quarterback fell on a fumbled snap. Beyond that, Young was tough to see on the field. Unfortunately, that's not referring to his white jersey in the driving snowstorm.
It's befitting that a Canadian played well in the snow, and Idonije also brought loads of inclement experience from his Chicago days.
This was the third week in a row where Idonije looked more like the free agent the Lions envisioned when they signed him over the summer. He did overrun his containment on a couple of runs, however.
The angular rookie had major trouble establishing leverage without the ability to spread out his legs with any sort of balance on the slippery turf. It was a day to forget for the South Carolinian.
He was in for just a handful of plays, but Fluellen made an impact nonetheless. Sadly, it was a negative one. An encroachment penalty prolonged an Eagles drive, and he was on the ground quickly on two big runs in the fourth quarter.
Like much of the defense, Tulloch had a tale of two halves in Philadelphia. In the first half he was strident and effective, attacking the run and leading the charge to get off the field quickly.
The second half, however...Tulloch really struggled with pursuit angles. He flat-out missed the hole on McCoy's second touchdown run and was nowhere to be seen on Chris Polk's long scamper.
It was a quiet day for the coverage specialist, as the Eagles seldom challenged his prowess there. A good read on a screen pass prevented a big play in the second quarter. Like Tulloch, he was much more effective versus the run early than late.
He was on the field a lot more than normal. Unfortunately he did not do much in his extended playing time, recording just one tackle and being handily blocked away on several runs.
The only reason Houston avoids a failing grade is his early interception. Other than that, he was consistently beaten in coverage by Desean Jackson. The weather bailed him out repeatedly, but not often enough.
As noted in the initial game takeaways, Mathis played very well. He was a bright spot for an otherwise dismal secondary.
The South Florida native was clearly out of his element in the snow, although he did play in at least one snowy game while at Western Michigan. Delmas missed a handful of tackles, and those were the ones where he took a good enough angle to actually get involved.
Young safeties should watch Delmas' performance against the Eagles as a lesson in pursuit angles. Don't do what Delmas did, kids!
As bad as Delmas was, Quin might have been worse:
Glover Quin is going to want to burn the game film of his second half. Yikes. #DETvsPHI— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) December 8, 2013
The nickel corner was effective early in coverage. He also destroyed an end-around pitch to Jackson, resulting in a 10-yard loss. Bentley was the surest tackler of the back seven on the day, though he too missed one.
The return specialist had a day for the ages. He became the first Lion since Eddie Payton in 1977 to run back both a punt and a kick for touchdowns in the same game. His big day was covered in the initial takeaways.
His grade deserves more than an A+. If the NFL allowed AP credit, he would have mastered the board exam on this day.
Martin pinned two of his six punts inside the Philly 20, which is good. One touchback mars that a bit, but he avoided any big returns. It's hard to be too critical for a couple of poor punts given the field conditions.
The veteran placekicker was on the field for one play. He launched the ball low on a field-goal attempt after the Lions burned a timeout to help clear the field for his effort. Not all blocked kicks are on the kicker, but this one clearly was.