New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions: Live Grades and Analysis for Detroit

Nick KostoraContributor IIIDecember 22, 2013

Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have been eliminated from playoff contention after falling to the New York Giants by a final score of 23-20.

Detroit Lions Game Grades
Positional Unit1st-half gradeFinal grade
Pass OffenseD+D
Pass DefenseC+B-
Run OffenseC-B-
Run DefenseAA
Special TeamsBB+
Lions vs. Giants

Final analysis for the Detroit Lions

Pass Offense: Matthew Stafford is such a difficult quarterback to figure out. He can make the most difficult throws seem routine, but he can also make multiple bad throws and cost Detroit chances. He overthrew a couple of targets in this one and was part of the problem instead of the solution. It hurts to not have Calvin Johnson at 100 percent, but Stafford has to play better than he did today.

Pass Defense: The secondary has quietly improved in recent weeks, and the unit was again playing well against the Giants. The defensive line constantly put pressure on Eli Manning, but even when he had time to throw, the coverage was good and his receivers were blanketed in coverage. The growth of this unit has been a highlight.

Run Offense: Perhaps the fumbles are getting to Reggie Bush. The Lions star seemed dejected for a large portion of the second half and finished the game with just 34 rushing yards. Joique Bell asserted himself well with an increased workload, rushing for 91 yards and proving himself to be a key cog of the offensive game plan. Theo Riddick added a critical touchdown in the second half.

Run Defense: It has been said before and it will be said again: It is nearly impossible to run against the Detroit Lions defensive line. Nick Fairley, Ndamukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah and the rest of the gang are playing splendid football this season. Many teams have tried, but most have failed to gain quality yards on the ground. New York managed just 41 rushing yards in this contest.

Special Teams: Jeremy Ross is lightning in a bottle for the Lions and was the catalyst of a momentum swing in the second half of this game. His effort combined with an early field goal from David Akers and a decent day of punts from Sam Martin equate to a solid grade for the special teams.

Coaching: Turnovers, penalties, poor play selection and every other reason to question a coaching staff were all on display in this game from the Lions. Detroit has found a way to lose five out of six games and give away a division that it should have won. Consider this grade cumulative for the entire season.

Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass while being pressured by Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports


First-half analysis for the Detroit Lions

Pass Offense: Detroit has failed to sustain lengthy drives or develop offensive momentum at any point in the first half. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is playing, but he is clearly hampered by his injury and not doing much. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has scraped together 131 passing yards, but those yards have been scattered and no touchdowns have come as a result.

Pass Defense: The New York Giants have shown flashes of competence on offense, but Eli Manning and the passing attack have been just as inconsistent as Detroit. Manning has 137 passing yards on 12 completions. This unit struggled with Victor Cruz in the lineup, but has become much worse without him in the fold. Jerrel Jernigan has been the standout performer thus far with 61 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Run Offense: Detroit is clearly committed to the ground game, but that has unfortunately not resulted in much positive yardage in the first half. Reggie Bush is finding few holes to run through against a stout Giants defensive line and he has just 20 rushing yards. Joique Bell had a nice 16-yard carry, but he too has been held largely in check. Bell has 37 rushing yards.

Run Defense: New York's rushing game has battled through injuries and inconsistencies all season. Those type of issues make a meeting with Detroit's defensive line a scary proposition, and the Lions have delivered as expected. Andre Brown has gained only 17 yards on eight carries in the first half and has been a non-factor.

Special Teams: David Akers made an important 37-yard field goal in the second quarter, but the rest of the special teams unit has been largely silent. Sam Martin had a punt of the same length as Akers' kick, while Jeremy Ross has three mediocre returns to his credit. The special teams have not been bad by any means, but nothing great to report here.

Coaching: Can coaches be blamed for fumbles? Of course not, but turnovers continue to hurt the Lions in each game and may be a key reason that Jim Schwartz loses his job after this season. Reggie Bush fumbled the ball in the second quarter and killed a Lions drive. Bush deserves the blame, but Schwartz is the one under the microscope at the moment.