Justin Rogers’ Lions grades: Stafford’s unraveling, defensive meltdown spell doom

Detroit News

Green Bay, Wis. — Justin Rogers grades the Detroit Lions’ performance in their 42-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers


Matthew Stafford was sharp in the early portions of this game, but racked up another round of uncharacteristic mistakes as the contest progressed. He misfired on consecutive downfield throws in the second quarter, held on to the ball too long, eating a sack at the 1-yard line, and the biggest mistake of all, throwing a nail-in-the-coffin pick-six in the third quarter, putting any hopes of a comeback on ice. Grade: C- 

Running backs

For the second straight week, the Lions were productive on the ground, averaging better than 4.0 yards per carry. Adrian Peterson had a 25-yard romp setting up one score, while Kerryon Johnson pounded the ball into the end zone with three straight red-zone touches for 11 total yards. Even rookie D’Andre Swift was productive with 60 yards on five catches.

The group does get dinged for Peterson’s blown block, which rushed Stafford on the pick-six. Grade: B

Wide receivers/tight ends

T.J. Hockenson paced the Lions with 62 yards, catching all four of his targets. He continues to be an efficient weapon for Stafford after a highly inefficient rookie season. Speaking of rookies, Quintez Cephus was also more efficient in his second game, hauling in three passes on three targets for 54 yards. Marvin Jones and Marvin Hall didn’t see many targets, but were on the receiving end of Stafford’s two touchdown tosses. Hall is doing a lot with little opportunity and deserves more playing time. Grade: C

Offensive line

The blocking was OK. As noted, the ground game continues to be sufficient, while Stafford probably faced a little too much pressure, especially when the Packers were able to pin their ears back in the latter stages of the contest. Oday Aboushi, making a start in place of an injured Joe Dahl, had a nice pull block on Johnson’s touchdown run, but negated that positive with two penalties, including a dirty-looking, post-whistle dive at a Packer defender’s legs. Grade: D+

Defensive line

Detroit’s defensive front generated almost no pressure, giving Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers all the time he needed to surgically dissect the team’s depleted and young secondary. And somehow, the run defense was even more pathetic, allowing Green Bay to rush for 259 yards.  Grade: F


Did we mention the Packers rushed for 259 yards? 259! That’s ridiculous. On Aaron Jones’ 75-yard score, Jarrad Davis and Jamie Collins were entirely eclipsed by Packers’ blockers. Collins also got burned badly by Jones on a reception early in the game. Grade: F


An F might be generous. Will Harris had a game to forget. He was assessed 15-yard penalties on back-to-back plays at the end of the first half, helping the Packers score a late touchdown. His response coming out of the locker room was to take a bad angle in run support, letting Jones blow past him on the 75-yard run.

The secondary was unquestionably short-handed, but rookie Jeff Okudah struggled in his debut and Amani Oruwariye and Darryl Roberts got hit with drive-extending penalties, to go with communication errors across the board.  Grade: F

Special teams

Jack Fox might be the best thing the Lions have going right now. Of course no one wants to hear good things about the punter when the team is 0-2, but Fox has been outstanding through two weeks. He averaged 54.2 yards on his punts with the Packers netting six return yards on those five boots.

As for the rest of the unit, the coverage was solid, Matt Prater missed his lone field-goal attempt, but from 57 yards out and Jamal Agnew did little of consequence in the return game other than drawing a penalty for throwing a block after signaling fair catch.   Grade: B


Beyond the offensive script to start the day, which netted a pair of long touchdown drives in the first quarter, there are no positive takeaways. The defense, under coach Matt Patricia’s stewardship, continues to flounder. The team can’t hold a lead, struggles to adjust in-game and doesn’t get critical stops.

If this was one game, fine, but it’s the third year of repetitive mistakes that will ultimately going to cost this regime their jobs. Grade: F


Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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