Justin Rogers' Lions grades: Trenches, special teams awful in loss to Seahawks
Detroit — Justin Rogers grades the Detroit Lions' performance in Sunday's 28-14 loss to the Seahawks.
Matthew Stafford delivered his finest throw of the day on Detroit’s first drive, eluding pressure in a pocket collapsing from both sides before heaving a dime to wide receiver Marvin Jones. But the rest of Stafford’s afternoon couldn’t even be described as pedestrian. He was long on multiple deep throws, should have been intercepted on a wheel route to running back Kerryon Johnson, lost a fumble due to poor ball security, and got picked late in the game by forcing the ball into traffic instead of throwing it away. Grade: D+
On the ground, there was rarely room to run. You can’t fault the backs for averaging under three yards per carry when they were being suffocated at or before the line of scrimmage. Both Johnson and LeGarrette Blount found a way to contribute in the passing game, with the veteran gaining 23 yards on a screen pass and the rookie netting a season-high 69 yards on six catches. Grade: C
Wide receivers/tight ends
Outside of a couple drops, the receivers did a decent job maximizing their opportunities. Jones led the way with 117 yards and two touchdowns, while also drawing a long pass interference penalty to keep Detroit’s hopes alive in the fourth quarter. Golden Tate had a couple key third-down grabs on the early scoring drive and finished his day with seven receptions. Kenny Golladay, for the second week in a row, didn’t see much action. He caught his only target for 12 yards. Grade: B
The running lanes you could drive a truck through against the Dolphins last week could barely fit a Matchbox car this week. Beyond the dismal effort with the ground game, Stafford faced his fair share of pressure, including three sacks and a quarterback hit. Grade: D
Damon Harrison makes the Lions better when he’s on the field, especially against the run. He finished with seven tackles, two for a loss, and a sack in his Detroit debut. He also had a stop at the goal line. A’Shawn Robinson also continues to play well, making six stops in the loss. Other than those two, the Lions struggled to hold up in the middle, as the Seahawks gouged Detroit for 176 yards on the ground. Grade: D+
The pass-rush was spotty, and when there was pressure, the linebackers struggled to bottle up Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who made multiple plays on the move. Jarrad Davis had some decent stops against the run, but overall, the group wasn’t good enough as the second line of defense against Seattle’s backs. Grade: D
Close doesn’t cut it in an NFL secondary. While the Seahawks largely stayed away from Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson and Teez Tabor struggled to hold up their end of the bargain. Despite tight coverage, the tandem gave up multiple big plays, including two of Wilson’s three touchdown passes.
Tabor was beat deep twice by David Moore and got hit with an illegal contact penalty on an third-down incompletion to the opposite side. Quandre Diggs also got beat for a touchdown and Glover Quin was a step slow on a long pass across the middle he would have picked off in previous years. Grade: F
This group didn’t just fail, they deserve to be held back. Every aspect of the special teams were awful. Ameer Abdullah fumbled a kickoff, which gave the Seahawks great field position and led to their second touchdown, three penalties had the Lions starting deep in their own territory all day, and punter Sam Martin botched two boots, putting a short one into the end zone and shanking another out of bounds well short of where he intended. Grade: F-
The entire team, especially the defense and special teams, looked ill-prepared for this game. Those units both lacked discipline.
There’s little to be said about Matt Patricia’s challenges, or lack thereof. He opted not to challenge a 2-yard gain in the second quarter, which makes sense since two yards constitutes a failed first down. In the fourth quarter, the coach netted back seven yards challenging a reception. That also stopped the clock and saved some time, but it didn't matter since the Seahawks scored two plays later.
While this game is only a snapshot of the issue, the Lions aren’t forcing turnovers this season. It’s unbelievable to think the team has just one interception over the last 27 quarters. Grade: F