Justin Rogers' Lions grades: Jeff Driskel adequate but rest of offense misses the mark
Chicago — Justin Rogers grades the Detroit Lions' performance in their 20-13 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
No one expected Jeff Driskel to be starting for the Lions, but the backup quarterback put together a decent day and played well enough for the team to have a shot at the end of the game.
The passing attack was largely conservative, focusing on short throws and often with moving pockets to take advantage of Driskel's mobility. He completed 58.7% of his 46 throws, in line with his career average, that included a 47-yard touchdown to Kenny Golladay while evading pressure.
Driskel's feet were an asset. In addition to escaping pressure multiple times, he scrambled on five occasions for a team-high 37 yards. Grade: B
Ty Johnson went down early with a concussion, leaving change-of-pace back J.D. McKissic to shoulder more of the load. Without much running room, particularly in the second half, he mustered 36 yards with his 10 carries. Paul Perkins, after converting an early short-yardage situation, was even less efficient by gaining nine yards on seven carries.
In the receiving game, the contributions were equally modest. Perkins, Johnson and McKissic combined for eight catches for 31 yards. Grade: D+
Wide receivers/tight ends
Marvin Jones paced the Lions with five grabs for 77 yards, while Golladay's 47-yard score was the offense's biggest play. But penalties and drops anchor the overall performance.
Jones got hit with an illegal block, knocking Detroit out of Chicago territory and killing a drive, while Golladay dropped a pass and committed offensive pass interference on a potential game-tying possession late in the fourth quarter. Grade: D+
All-world pass rusher Khalil Mack barely made a dent on the stat sheet and failed to hit Driskel even once. But that rest of the Bears got in their licks, popping the quarterback eight times, including a pair of sacks.
As for the ground game, it was the same old show, with minimal push resulting in the running backs averaging 2.8 yards per carry.
On the penalty front, the group committed three infractions, including two holds. Grade: C-
Finally, Detroit's front managed to get some consistent pressure. Trey Flowers, Devon Kennard and Mike Daniels each recorded a sack, while quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was moved off his spot another dozen times.
Additionally, the Bears did minimal damage on the ground, rushing for a total of 81 yards and averaging 3.4 yards per carry.
Not bad for a unit missing Romeo Okwara and Da'Shawn Hand from the start and seeing A'Shawn Robinson, Kevin Strong and Daniels limited by injuries suffered during the game. Grade: B+
Detroit's gap integrity was much improved, including the play of much-maligned middle linebacker Jarrad Davis, who led the team with eight tackles despite a reduced role. Rookie Jahlani Tavai came up with a sack and a pass defense, and the group played its part slowing the run.
Christian Jones had a quieter day, recording a single tackle. He also ran into a teammate while in coverage, resulting in a Bears' third-quarter touchdown. Grade: B
Trubisky didn't throw for huge yardage, but he was efficient, racking up a 131.0 passer rating on his 23 throws. Safety Will Harris and Mike Ford were both soundly beat on longer touchdown passes, while Pro Bowler Darius Slay got called for pass interference shortly after giving up a 33-yard completion to Allen Robinson, setting up Chicago's other touchdown. Grade: C-
Matt Prater continues to be a weapon and converted both of his field goals, including a 54-yarder he blasted through the uprights. Punter Sam Martin, playing through an abdominal injury, was decent and pinned Chicago inside its 12-yard line four times.
Detroit's coverage units also continued their solid play, supplementing the efforts of Prater and Martin, but Jamal Agnew struggled to make much happen in the return game, outside of bringing back a punt 14 yards in the second quarter. Grade: B-
On first glance, it appeared the Lions made some defensive adjustments, particularly with substitution patterns in the back seven. Beyond a couple blown coverages in man-to-man — which can be chalked up to execution errors — the game plan sufficiently limited a struggling Bears offense to 226 yards.
Offensively, the team got decent yardage out of a Driskel-led offense but not enough points. After starting the game with a zone-read run that gained 10 yards, they settled into a pattern of more traditional handoffs, which were less effective.
The start-stop play-calling at the end of the first half didn't make much sense, and the crossing pattern in the closing seconds was a risky call that failed when it was stopped in the open field, bleeding valuable time off the clock. Grade: C+