|Positional Unit||First-Half Grade||Final Grade|
Lions vs. Ravens
Final Analysis for the Detroit Lions
Pass Offense: Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the rest of the Detroit passing game were expected to play at a much higher level in this contest. The Lions were at home, on Monday Night Football and playing a vulnerable defense. Stafford threw three interceptions, and Johnson had multiple drops and struggled all night. The other receivers also failed to make much of a positive impact.
Pass Defense: Was Joe Flacco playing poorly or did the Detroit secondary step up in this contest? The reality is probably somewhere in the middle. The Lions secondary deflected some key passes, but Flacco had many overthrows and kept the Ravens secondary stagnant. Missed tackles and poor coverage continue to be issues, but they were not on full display this week.
Run Offense: Reggie Bush and Joique Bell started off this game strong, rushing between the tackles and gashing the Baltimore defensive line. However, as the game wore on, the tide began to shift away from Detroit’s favor. Bush did manage to average over five yards per carry, but Bell tapered off and finished with just 24 yards on nine carries.
Run Defense: Baltimore’s running game has fallen to the point where gaining more than 50 yards in this contest should be considered a mild accomplishment. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce each had a fair share of carries against Detroit, with 58 rushing yards between them. The defensive front of Detroit has been great, but this was not its absolute best offering.
Special Teams: All special teams praise in this game belongs to Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, who nailed a 61-yard kick at the end of this contest. I say that because Detroit’s special teams did almost nothing of note. Sam Martin was average with his punts, David Akers made one chip-shot field goal, and Jeremy Ross had a few decent returns.
Coaching: The fault for this loss does not fall with the coaching staff. The offense deserves all of the blame here. Matthew Stafford did not step up when Detroit needed him at the end of the game. Calvin Johnson played terribly when he needed to play great. The problems were everywhere, but the coaching staff did not make them.
First-Half Analysis for the Detroit Lions
Pass Offense: Detroit has spent a surprising amount of its offensive efforts in the first half focusing on establishing the run. This plan has been somewhat effective, but it has resulted in a mediocre effort from the passing game. Matthew Stafford has just 70 yards passing with eight completions. Calvin Johnson has two drops already, both of which stalled Lions drives. More is expected from the best receiver in the NFL.
Pass Defense: Baltimore’s passing game has muddled along all season, and the Lions secondary is looking surprisingly competent against Joe Flacco and the rest of the unit. Flacco has 135 yards passing, and the Ravens offense has failed to sustain quality drives or build any real momentum. It will be interesting to see if Detroit can shut down the passing attack in the second half.
Run Offense: This is the type of rushing dynamic that the Detroit Lions are capable of when both Joique Bell and Reggie Bush are healthy and firing on all cylinders. Bush has the type of burst that few players can manage. He explodes through the hole and gets to the second level quicker than almost anyone in football. Bush and Bell have combined for 61 rushing yards in the first half.
Run Defense: Ray Rice is having the worst season of his career. He is simply not himself, and when that fact is combined with a stout Lions rush defense, it is easy to guess what the result will be. Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh have come to play, as has the entire defensive line. Rice has just 13 yards on six carries.
Special Teams: The magic that Jeremy Ross displayed in the snow last week against the Philadelphia Eagles has not yet translated to this matchup. He has had a couple of forgettable return efforts, while the same lack of excitement can be applied to the punting efforts of Sam Martin. A better effort from this group in the second half could be the difference in this contest.
Coaching: There have been few, if any, major coaching decisions to be made by Jim Schwartz in the first half. The challenge flag has remained in his pocket, and Detroit is locked in a close football game. This is about as much as could be asked for thus far. Detroit is just a few Calvin Johnson drops away from breaking this game wide open.