Ugly grades for Detroit Lions and Matt Patricia as defense gets shredded by Packers

Detroit Free Press

GREEN BAY, Wisc. — Dave Birkett grades the Detroit Lions’ 42-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers:


Matthew Stafford isn’t playing like the steady hand at quarterback the Lions expected after last season’s lights-out first half. He took a bad sack Sunday for the second straight week, this one right before halftime, and he threw an interception near his own goal line that was returned for a touchdown. Stafford finished 20 of 33 passing for 244 yards and two touchdowns, and he had some good moments early — like when he tucked and ran for a first down on a play when his first look, Danny Amendola, was covered. He’s not the biggest thing holding the Lions back, but he’s not playing winning football, either. Grade: D

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Running backs

Kerryon Johnson looked like the 2018 version of himself on the Lions’ opening drive, carrying five times for 20 yards and a touchdown. He had a nice 4-yard run on a jump cut and ran over Adrian Amos for a first down in the second quarter. But that was about all the success the Lions got out of their backfield Sunday, disappointing considering Green Bay’s so-so run defense. Adrian Peterson, in his second game as a Lion, had a big 25-yard run in the first quarter but did not have the jets to get to the end zone. Peterson also whiffed on a block on Stafford’s pick-six. D’Andre Swift led the Lions with five catches for 60 yards but was largely a nonfactor in the running department. Grade: C

[ Your turn to grade Detroit Lions performance vs. Green Bay Packers ]

Wide receivers/tight ends

Kenny Golladay’s absence continues to hamper a Lions passing game that was one of the most explosive in the NFL last season. With Golladay inactive for the second straight week, the Lions had one pass play of 25-plus yards in the first three quarters Sunday. Marvin Jones averaged a paltry 5.8 yards on his four catches and couldn’t hold onto two tough but catchable balls. Danny Amendola made minimal contributions for the third straight game against the Packers, and Marvin Hall had a drop in the red zone, but T.J. Hockenson had another nice day with 62 yards receiving. Grade: D-plus

Offensive line

Stafford wasn’t under much duress, and the Lions averaged a respectable 4.2 yards per carry rushing, but not everything was rosy for the offensive line. Oday Aboushi, filling in at left guard for Joe Dahl, committed two penalties (one declined), including one of the Lions’ four personal fouls. Aboushi did help clear the path for Johnson’s touchdown with a nice pulling block. Tyrell Crosby gave up a late sack to Rashan Gary after Stafford took an intentional grounding penalty. Jonah Jackson missed a block on one lost-yardage run, though Frank Ragnow came off his block to draw a facemask penalty on the play. Overall, the Lions offensive line was not as consistent as it was last week against the Bears. Grade: C-minus

Defensive line

I shouldn’t be surprised by the lack of pass rush this scheme generates now that we’ve seen it for two-plus seasons, but the Lions continue to underwhelm in that department. Danny Shelton did have five tackles, but no one on the defensive front registered a quarterback hit the entire game. Trey Flowers was a nonfactor to the point he did not appear in the box score, and the Packers’ 259-yard rushing day falls in part on the ineffective defensive line. Until that group improves, the Lions will continue to have one of the worst run defenses in the league. Grade: F


Sharing the blame for the poor run defense is a linebacking unit that had another disappointing day. Neither Jarrad Davis nor Jamie Collins could fend off blocks on Aaron Jones’ 75-yard touchdown run, when safety Will Harris took a bad angle in the back end. Davis appeared to fill the wrong hole when Jamaal Williams broke an 18-yard run on Green Bay’s next offensive play. Collins did have his first sack as a Lion — beating Lucas Patrick with a nice inside move — but Davis had no chance on Jones’ first touchdown catch and the Lions relied on their secondary to make far too many run stops. Grade: F

Defensive backs

Harris had a rough day. Not only did he take a bad angle on Jones’ long run, but he had two costly personal fouls late in the first half that set up Green Bay’s go-ahead touchdown. Amani Oruwariye was called for two defensive holding penalties on the same second-quarter touchdown drive, and Darryl Roberts had two defensive holding calls that were declined. Jeff Okudah led the Lions with seven tackles, but his first start as a pro was a rough one. He got beat on a 41-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and he and Tracy Walker (two pass breakups) appeared to follow the same receiver out of a bunch formation when the Packers converted their first third-down attempt. Rodgers completed 18 of 30 passes for 240 yards, but his receivers dropped at least three passes on the day. Grade: D-minus

[ Jeff Okudah had a bad debut in Green Bay. His teammates had a bad day ]

Special teams

Add Jamal Agnew to the list of Lions who took a silly penalty. Agnew signaled for a fair catch on one second-half punt, then blocked a Green Bay gunner, which negated a touchback after a sack and forced the Lions to start a drive at their own 5-yard line. Neither team did much in the return game, but Jack Fox had another nice day punting. He had an average net of 53 yards on his five punts and rocked a 57-yarder just before halftime. Matt Prater, who made 7 of 8 field goals of 50-plus yards last season, missed another long one just before Sunday. Grade: C-minus

[ Comedy of errors doom Lions for second straight week in blowout vs. Packers ]


Matt Patricia’s future as Lions coach is once again in the crosshairs, and for good reason. His team has followed the same script in far too many of his 34 games: Start fast, finish slow and come unraveled in a slew of mistakes. That’s what happened Sunday when the Lions committed four personal fouls and shot themselves in the foot repeatedly late in the first half. Patricia’s defense remains one of the worst in the NFL, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell needs to find a way to replicate his impressive opening-game scripts after the first couple of series. Give Patricia credit for the worthwhile challenge on a first-half Lions fumble, when Stafford’s arm was clearly going forward, making it an incomplete pass. But not much else went right Sunday, for Patricia or the team. Grade: F

[ Examining Matt Patricia’s hot seat after Detroit Lions’ latest ugly loss ]

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.  

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