Justin Rogers' Lions grades: David Blough impresses; most everyone else, not so much

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Detroit — Justin Rogers grades the Detroit Lions' performance in their 24-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday. 


David Blough exceeded the expectations of most, maybe all, but these grades aren't based on a curve. He completed a respectable 22 of 38 throws for 280 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. That came on his final throw of the day, facing a nearly impossible fourth-and-22 situation.

The overall accuracy was inconsistent, with nice throws mixed with inaccurate ones. Blough did show a good feel in the pocket, especially when it came to eluding the rush. His 34-yard pass to Kenny Golladay in the second quarter, out of play-action with a pump fake, was something you'd see from a far more experienced player at the position. Grade: B

Teammates congratulate David Blough after a 75-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay against the Bears.

Running backs

Bo Scarbrough continues to run hard, churning out 83 yards on 21 carries. For the second straight week, the only reason he was held under the century mark is because a penalty wiped out a big gain. 

Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic chipped in another 21 yards on five carries, plus 32 yards on six receptions. McKissic gets knocked slightly for getting tackled behind the line on third-and-1 deep in Chicago territory. He was clearly thinking touchdown over picking up the first down. Grade: B

More: Lions' T.J. Hockenson in boot after suffering late leg injury

Wide receivers/tight ends

Golladay had a big day, fueled by a 75-yard touchdown in the opening quarter. Marvin Jones also caught a touchdown pass, keeping pace atop the league's leaderboard with his teammate. 

The biggest problem for the group was penalties. Jones got hit with a false start, while Golladay was assessed both an offensive pass interference and a block in the back, negating a 21-yard Scarbrough run. 

As for the tight ends, Hockenson also had a block in the back, and despite catching six passes, netted just 18 yards. Grade: C

Offensive line

The run blocking was decent and Blough didn't face an overwhelming amount of pressure. He danced away from some rushers and was only hit three times. Unfortunately, one of the two sacks allowed came in one of the most critical moments, on third down in the final minute, essentially ending the game.

The group also committed a total of three penalties.  Grade: D+

Defensive line

The Bears' backs averaged 4.4 yards per carry and the pressure on Mitchell Trubisky wasn't anywhere near enough, leading to him having one of his best performances of the season. Grade: D


The linebackers share culpability in Chicago's decent day on the ground, and while it's difficult to say without the certainty of knowing the play call, Jarrad Davis appeared to ditch David Montgomery on a crossing route to blitz Trubisky, leading to the running back being wide open for the game-winning touchdown. Grade: D


Darius Slay broke a lengthy drought without an interception, picking off his first pass since Week 2. That is about the only positive thing you can say about Detroit's secondary.

Safety Will Harris got burnt for a touchdown by a complete unknown in tight end Jesper Horsted, while Justin Coleman gave up two long catches on third downs to Anthony Miller on the game-winning drive. Even Slay got beat for a touchdown when Allen Robinson got the best of the Pro Bowl corner on a slant in the first quarter.  Grade: D

Special teams

It was a weird day for the special teams. It started off with a blown kickoff coverage resulting in a 57-yard return. But after that, the groups settled down. The Lions were sharp when punting, Matt Prater made both his field goals and the team recovered an onside kick, which may or may not have been intentional. 

The grade is anchored by penalties. The special teams units committed four, including one on Coleman that forced the Lions to re-kick to start the game, leading to that long return. Grade: C+

More: Bears pick on Lions' Justin Coleman in setting up winning touchdown


Once again, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell solidified his reputation of being able to build a game plan around key injuries. His willingness to push the ball downfield with Blough under center was a smart counter to the Bears' defensive strategy to focus on the run and checkdowns. 

The biggest issue with Bevell was going with McKissic over Scarbrough on a failed third-and-1 carry.

And once again, Detroit's defense let them down. Week after week they look unprepared and unable to adjust. Trubisky shouldn't be lighting up anyone to this degree. 

Also, how do you not challenge Miller's bobbling catch near the sideline in the closing minutes? Sure, it might not get overturned, but maybe it does, and given it came on a third down at the far reaches of field-goal range, it would have been well worth the timeout to have the officials take a closer look. Grade: D


Twitter: @Justin_Rogers