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Justin Rogers’ Lions grades: D-line, coaches disappoint

December 4, 2017

Baltimore — Justin Rogers grades the Detroit Lions’ performance in Sunday’s 44-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.


For the majority of the afternoon, Matthew Stafford was on fire, completing a franchise-record 20 consecutive passes, while showing good touch on his long ball. He connected deep with Marvin Jones twice, and Kenny Golladay on a third out of play-action.

But Stafford made three costly blunders. First, he dropped a shotgun snap that knocked the Lions out of field goal range. Then, he failed to identify a blitz, which led to him getting smoked and losing a fumble. Finally, when rolling away from pressure in the fourth quarter, he sailed a pass that was intercepted. Both turnovers both resulted in Baltimore touchdowns. Grade: B

More: Lions’ Stafford suffers ‘nasty bruise’ on throwing hand

Running backs

Tion Green was a breath of fresh air, rumbling for 33 yards on his first NFL carry and leading the team with 51 yards on 11 attempts. Both he and starter Theo Riddick scored touchdowns, plus Riddick added another 41 yards as a receiver, including a 27-yarder where he made multiple defenders miss. The cherry on top was Nick Bellore playing fullback. He caught his first career pass on a 1-yard touchdown. Grade: B+

Wide receivers

Marvin Jones paced the Lions with 90 yards, including a pair of 40-plus gains that sparked two touchdown drives, while rookie Kenny Golladay continues to be good for a big play per game, turning in a 31-yard gain on a post pattern. Golden Tate delivered a standard performance for him, catching a team-high eight passes for 69 yards, but he did drop one that was a touch behind him early in the game. Grade: B

Tight ends

Seven targets, seven catches, 71 yards. The tight ends were flawless in the pass game, coming up with multiple third-down catches to extend drives. Darren Fells also had an important seal block on Riddick’s touchdown run. Grade: A

Offensive line

The Ravens sacked Stafford three times, and got another three hits (one which drew a flag and another an unblocked blitzer), but overall, the line held up decently against a talented front. The backs also had a decent day, averaging 3.6 yards per carry, with two touchdowns. The failure to convert a third-and-1 on the ground, which led to a punt, continues to be a problem. Grade: C-

More: Lions lose Wagner to ankle injury vs. Ravens

Defensive line

The front four generated one hit and no sacks against Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, while letting starting running back Alex Collins chew up big chunks of grass. He finished the day with 75 yards and two scores on 15 carries. Defensive end Anthony Zettel also blew a coverage assignment that resulted in a short touchdown pass to tight end Ben Watson. Grade: F


The group was flying around, but in rookie Jarrad Davis’ case, a little too recklessly at times. He missed two tackles and took a bad angle on one of Collins’ scoring runs. Tahir Whitehead and Paul Worrilow each had a tackle for a loss and Whitehead added a timely hit on Flacco on third down to force a punt. But the unit, as a whole, wasn’t effective against the run.  Grade: C-


Flacco has been awful this season, but he picked apart the Lions’ back end, completing 23 of 36 passes for 269 yards and two scores. He connected on his longest pass of the season when the secondary had a breakdown covering Mike Wallace from the slot, resulting in a 66-yard gain. Grade: D

Special teams

A missed field goal, a missed extra point, a late hit penalty that gave the Ravens excellent field position, and poor coverage on a squib kick that a backup tight end managed to return 29 yards — it all adds up to a failing grade from the usually stellar unit. Grade: F


With a few extra days to figure out how to snap a string of sluggish starts, the coaching staff came up with no answers. The decision not to challenge a potential fumble that was ruled an incompletion was questionable. The blown substitution that had nine defenders on the field for a critical third-down play was laughable.

It’s nice to see second-half adjustments that got the Lions back into this game early in the second half, but the dreadful start and finish are tough to stomach. Grade: F



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