The Lions are 2-0 and looking like a real contender in the NFL. We discuss what the hot start means.
East Rutherford, N.J. — Justin Rogers grades the Detroit Lions' performance after Monday’s 24-10 New York Giants.
You might do a double-take after checking at the box score. Matthew Stafford only threw for 122 yards, his career-low in a game he played start to finish. But he was wildly efficient, completing 15 of his 21 throws, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also continued to show impressive elusiveness, including scrambling for a key third-down conversion. The only real knocks on the performance was a couple of misfires on deep passes and losing a fumble. Grade: B+
The yards didn’t come easy for Ameer Abdullah, but he continued to run hard and was finally rewarded with a pair of long gains. He finished with a career-high 86 yards on 17 carries but did appear to pull up lame on a 34-yard romp late in the fourth quarter. He insisted he was fine after the game, so we’ll have to check the report later this week. Grade: B
Marvin Jones made a nice touchdown grab in the first quarter, but it was his only catch on five targets. Golden Tate caught all four passes thrown his way, but it only netted him 24 yards. And Kenny Golladay was a non-factor and got chewed out by his position coach for poor effort on a deep ball. Overall, the group just didn’t see a lot of opportunities. Grade: B-
Eric Ebron was Stafford’s favorite target, catching all five passes thrown his direction. He also came up with a touchdown, his first of the season, on a slick crossing route. The tight ends were asked to block, a lot, as the Lions worked hard to establish an outside running game. Grade: B+
It was a rough day for left tackle Greg Robinson, who got beat on a few pass rushes and was flagged for a trio of penalties, including a pair of holds. T.J. Lang, Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner also got hit with holding infractions, and outside of two long Abdullah runs, the ground game struggled. There were too many negative plays. Grade: D+
Once again, the defensive line had a significant impact with Ziggy Ansah abusing the Giants’ offensive tackles to the tune of three sacks. Haloti Ngata also got home for a sack, and the front four hit Eli Manning two other times. In addition to the pressure on the passer, the Lions limited the Giants to 62 rushing yards. Grade: A
The linebackers had a role in limiting the ground game and were also decent in coverage, other than a long pass surrendered by Paul Worrilow. Tahir Whitehead scored the team’s only turnover when he snagged a deflected pass out of the air in the second quarter, helping set up the team’s second touchdown. Grade: B
Safety Tavon Wilson got a little too aggressive on a play-action pass, leading to the Giants' lone touchdown. Otherwise, the Lions secondary largely held Manning and company in check. Darius Slay had a key pass breakup, with a massive hit near the goal line, which saved a touchdown. And Quandre Diggs, one week after shutting down Larry Fitzgerald, had a big-time stop on fourth down, stuffing the receiver shy of the marker, helping seal the win. Grade: B+
Matt Prater bombed home a 56-yard field goal with a new holder and Jamal Agnew had an electric touchdown return on a punt, sparking a big night from the third phase. New punter Jeff Locke was solid in his role, helped by strong play from his coverage units. And Agnew made another smart play, letting a kickoff skip past him and out of bounds, leading to great starting field position. Grade: A+
It was a unique game plan, that leaned heavily on ball control, but it allowed the Lions to essentially lead start to finish. And the Lions became only the second team to win a challenge this season, when Jim Caldwell threw the red flag on a bad fourth-down spot, overturning a fresh set of downs for the Giants and giving the Lions the ball back near midfield. Grade: A