Here are my grades for the Detroit Lions/Tampa Bay Bucs game this past Sunday. Despite holding a 17-0 lead after the first quarter, the Lions reverted back to their standard operating procedure, were outscored 38-3, and ended up losing in blowout fashion, 38-20. The Lions dropped to 0-11. They are approaching history, as no team has ever finished a 16-game season winless.
This grade would be higher for the first quarter, and lower for the rest of the game. The Lions had success early throwing the ball to Calvin Johnson and running it with Kevin Smith. But, they went away from those strengths as the game went on and suffered as a result. The offensive line play and penalties were an issue as well.
Daunte Culpepper started out great and then played horribly afterwards, including two interceptions to Ronde Barber, one that was returned for a touchdown, and was benched in favor of second year signal caller, Drew Stanton.
Stanton was largely unimpressive as well, almost throwing two interceptions of his own before being knocked out of the game with a concussion.
The lone bright spots on offense were, as usual, rookie running back Kevin Smith and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Smith continued his strong play, rushing for 86 yards on 16 carries, while Johnson led in receiving with 66 yards and a touchdown.
They started out well, forcing some punts, had five sacks, and forced a few turnovers in the game. That is where the positives end. The defense was picked apart by Jeff Garcia and allowed Warrick Dunn to run effectively.
Paris Lenon continues to be the weakest link at arguably the most important position in the Tampa Two defensive scheme, MLB. He was out of position on many plays and was burned in coverage on at least one touchdown pass.
Tackling continues to be a problem as well.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-
It’s a mixed bag here. Jason Hanson was consistent and good, as usual, but the kick coverage and punt coverage teams weren’t, resulting in numerous big returns and one punt return for a TD. This grade would be an F if not for Hanson and his 400+ career field goals. They have him to thank for the C-.
I’m not sure if there is an F-, but if not, they still deserve it.
The offensive gameplan was pretty good going into the game, with a solid, balanced attack and putting the ball into the hands of the playmakers. After the first quarter, Coletto forgot what was working and did nothing for the rest of the game. It doesn’t help, of course, that the receivers aren’t getting open and the offensive line cannot block, but still.
Defensively, they suck….Period! How’s that for in-depth analysis.