Final Grades for the Detroit Lions
Pass Offense: If you want to find some sort of meaningless silver lining in this game, it is that the passing offense looked better in the second half than it did in the first. Matthew Stafford started to utilize some of the weapons at his disposal and gained yardage in bunches. He still had a few wildly inaccurate throws, but at least finished with 217 passing yards and had over 4,500 on the season.
Pass Defense: The secondary played OK against Minnesota. Louis Delmas' interception was an obvious high point, but it is hard to praise a unit that lets Matt Cassel complete passes to seven different receivers. Cordarrelle Patterson did what he wanted over the middle of the field and had a great touchdown reception. The passing defense needs great improvement heading into next season.
Run Offense: Reggie Bush did manage enough yards in the second half to get over the 1,000-yard barrier for the season. However, this rushing offense has been wildly inconsistent all season and today was just bad. Bush and Bell combined for just 63 yards and never established any momentum on the ground.
Run Defense: Matt Asiata finished with 115 yards on just 14 carries. Perhaps the defensive line just quit trying this week; it sure seemed that way. Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Ezekiel Ansah all had their brief moments in this contest, but no one put in a full four quarters of work.
Special teams: As I already highlighted in the first half, Sam Martin was outstanding in this game. David Akers missed a 52-yard field goal that was negated by a Vikings penalty, but he did also make two shorter field goals. Akers has not been good enough to warrant a return next season. Jeremy Ross was a non-factor in the return game.
Coaching: It would be unbelievable if head coach Jim Schwartz is not fired sometime this week. The Detroit Lions showed barely any effort against the Vikings and lost six of their last seven games. Detroit had the division at its fingertips and chose to choke the season away. Schwartz is not the only problem, but he is the biggest one.
First-Half Grades for the Detroit Lions
Pass Offense: We saw how bad the Detroit Lions passing game could be without Calvin Johnson when Detroit traveled to Green Bay earlier this season. However, nothing could have prepared us for what is happening today. Matthew Stafford has completed just eight passes for 43 yards and the offense is not moving at all. Detroit amazingly has only one passing first down to this point.
Pass Defense: It is hard for a passing defense to look terrible against a Matt Cassel-led offense, and that has been evidenced by the Lions' defensive efforts today. No one has looked great, but Minnesota's vertical game is non-existent and Detroit looks semi-competent in the secondary as a result. Cassel has 142 passing yards and Louis Delmas has managed one interception.
Run Offense: Reggie Bush looks uninterested. There is simply no other way to describe the putrid state of the Detroit Lions rushing game in the first half. Bush has managed only 15 rushing yards on six carries. Detroit's offensive line is getting no forward momentum off the line of scrimmage and the entire offense is struggling as a result.
Run Defense: Minnesota is without Adrian Peterson or Toby Gerhart today, which would normally indicate another stellar day at the office for Detroit's defensive line, but the opposite has actually occurred throughout the first half. Matt Asiata has found holes in the defense and rushed for 57 yards on nine carries. Neither offense has looked good, but Asiata has been the bright spot.
Special Teams: The focus of Detroit's special teams efforts to this point have definitely come from punter Sam Martin. Martin has five punts for 280 yards, an average of 56 yards per kick. His services have been needed far more than anyone would like, but Martin has been great in this game. David Akers has not yet attempted a field goal.
Coaching: It has to be hard for this team to focus when the playoffs are out of reach and the coach is on the hot seat. Jim Schwartz clearly did not find a way to keep his troops interested, and they are playing one of their worst games of the season as a result. The coaching has been poor all year, but this is just hard to watch.