Justin Rogers' Lions grades: Secondary, coaches fail again

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Bears' Anthony Miller throws off Lions'  Glover Quin and goes into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Chicago — Justin Rogers grades the Detroit Lions' performance in Sunday's 34-22 loss to the Chicago Bears.


Matthew Stafford was under duress far more than you'd like to see, but for the second week in a row, he ate a couple sacks because he held onto the ball too long. That included an early one that knocked the Lions out of field-goal range. The two interceptions weren't egregious errors, either. The first came when his target fell and the other was a desperation heave into triple coverage that acted as a punt since it was already fourth down. The touchdowns were late and of the stat-padding variety, and there were at least a few missed throws early in the game. Grade: D+

Running backs

The run lanes weren't great, but the backs didn't help their case, making few defenders miss to extend their gains. The pass game contributions were decent, with Theo Riddick and Kerryon Johnson combining for 12 catches and 98 yards, but the short-yardage performance was inconsistent, with Johnson converting a fourth down on a pitch and later diving over the pile for a touchdown. Those successes sandwiched three stuffed attempts for LeGarrette Blount and fullback Nick Bellore. Johnson also lost his first career fumble while fighting for extra yards. Grade: D+

Wide receivers/tight ends

Kenny Golladay got away with a fumble and had an otherwise productive day, breaking out of a bit of a slump. He led the Lions with six catches for 78 yards and a fourth-quarter score. He also drew a penalty in the end zone, setting up Johnson's first touchdown. Marvin Jones caught three passes and drew a penalty, extending two drives, before leaving with an injury. Grade: C

More: Lions players back Matt Patricia after third straight loss

More: Lions punter Sam Martin leaves Soldier Field in an ambulance

Offensive line

It was another tough day for the protection, allowing Stafford to be sacked six times. Rick Wagner and Taylor Decker continue to struggle on the edges, while Kenny Wiggins simply isn't a serviceable starter. Grade: F

Defensive line

The good is the Lions limited the potent Bears ground game to 54 yards on 22 carries, although two of those attempts went for touchdowns up the gut. The worst part of the performance was the lack of quarterback pressure, with just three hits and a sack coming from the linemen. Grade: D+


The linebackers were equally culpable in not pressuring quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who passed for a career-high 355 yards in Chicago's victory. Jarrad Davis also got hit with a dumb penalty in the red zone, shoving Trubisky after he scrambled out of bounds. Grade: D+


Trubisky had a nearly perfect passer rating picking apart Detroit's secondary. Nevin Lawson, DeShawn Shead and Quandre Diggs all blew coverages and gave up big plays, while safety Glover Quin whiffed on a tackle on one, allowing a 25-yard gain to turn into a 45-yard touchdown. Grade: F

Special teams

Special teams weren't a total disaster in the first game after Joe Marciano's firing, but they weren't good, either. Matt Prater made a 52-yard field goal in the second half. Punter Sam Martin wasn't as consistent, although he did have a perfect onside kick that Bellore recovered in the fourth quarter. The coverage and return units were both average, with Detroit getting flagged for yet another penalty on a return. Grade: C-


The coaching staff keeps preaching improvement and fundamentals, but have shown the past month they're unsure how to get this team out of its funk. The Lions allowed four straight touchdown drives to open the game, in large part because of sloppy fundamentals with the coverage assignments.

Matt Patricia challenged twice and lost both, giving away valuable timeouts during the team's desperate comeback attempt. Grade: F


Twitter: @Justin_Rogers