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Lions grades: Plenty of fail all around

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News


The addition of the letter “s” to quarterback says just about all that needs to be said at this position. Matthew Stafford played so bad that coach Jim Caldwell told him at halftime another interception would lead to his benching. He threw it and finished 20-of-32 for 188 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Dan Orlovsky replaced him midway through the third quarter and couldn’t lead the comeback, finishing 21-of-38 for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Grade: F

Running backs

The Lions will still be the worst rushing team in the NFL after having just 57 yards on 18 carries Sunday. Starter Ameer Abdullah lost a fumble in the second quarter, and after another fumble on a kickoff return, his day was done with just 17 yards on six carries and a 9-yard catch. Zach Zenner was a little better with 10 carries for 30 yards and a 7-yard catch. Theo Riddick had 10 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. Grade: F

Wide receivers

Golden Tate fumbled for the fifth time in his career and lost one for just the second time. Calvin Johnson started strong, but had just one catch in the second half, finishing with five for 67 yards. Corey Fuller had an impressive e 48-yard catch to set up a first-quarter touchdown, but dropped another long one from Dan Orlovsky. Grade: F

Tight ends

Brandon Pettigrew had his first and only catch of the year, a 9-yarder. Tim Wright had a one-yard catch, but was wide open on a first-quarter pass that Matthew Stafford threw to the Cardinals player in front of Wright. Out of all the positions, this one actually wasn’t a glaring weakness. Grade: C

Offensive line

Penalties, poor run-blocking and untimely errors in pass protection have become the storyline for this group each game. Officially, the line allowed just one sack, but with another game where the Lions averaged less than 4 yards per carry, there’s nothing impressive here. Grade: F

Defensive line

With Arizona’s Chris Johnson rushing for 103 yards on 11 carries, it was clear the Lions’ defensive line didn’t execute nearly as well as it needed to, whether it was clogging lanes or setting edges. The highlight for the Lions was two sacks on the opening drive, but after that, the team hit the quarterback just three times and didn’t sack him at all. Grade: F


After allowing 187 rushing yards, the linebackers can’t feel good at all. Stephen Tulloch allowed a passing touchdown to tight end Daniel Fells. Tulloch led the unit with six tackles, and Josh Bynes had just three. Grade: F


Cornerback Darius Slay lost the most visible play, giving up a 49-yard pass to John Brown in man-to-man coverage, and that play was an example of what happened to the defensive backs most of the game. The Lions had fine coverage on most plays, but they couldn’t make any winning plays. Grade: F

Special teams

The Lions had four penalties in the return game, which is four too many. TJ Jones did his job fine and had a 34-yard kickoff return, which was the highlight. A lowlight was Ameer Abdullah’s fumble, even though the Lions maintained possession. Grade: F


Lions players said they were ready to play, but clearly, they weren’t. Coach Jim Caldwell took responsibility for the embarrassing loss, and really, everyone in the organization is to blame at this point. But, Caldwell is the only one who can get enough out of the current roster to win games, so until that happens, he’s on the hook. Grade: F