Justin Rogers’ Lions grades: Plenty of F’s to go around in stinker vs. Seahawks

Detroit News

Seattle — Justin Rogers grades the Detroit Lions’ performance in their 51-29 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Quarterback

Tim Boyle had 69 yards and an interception at the half as the Lions found themselves down at the break, 31-7. The backup quarterback was able to pad the stat line a bit the final two quarters, finishing with 262 yards and two touchdowns, but his three interceptions were the result of off-target throws, with two bouncing off the hands of his receivers.

Admittedly, the Lions asked too much of Boyle because the defense couldn’t get the stop, and not surprisingly, the weight of needing to carry the team proved to be too much. Grade: F

Running backs

Detroit’s trio of backs combined to average 3.1 yards on 19 carries, and that was only because D’Andre Swift snapped off a 31-yard gain in the closing minute of the first half, when the Lions caught the Seahawks off guard with a delayed handoff.

The backs also accomplished little in the passing game, while Jamaal Williams failed to convert a fourth-and-one in the first quarter that shifted the early momentum to Seattle that Detroit failed to stop the rest of the way. Grade: D+

Wide receivers/tight ends

It was quite a day for Amon-Ra St. Brown, who continued his late-season tear by extending his streak of games with eight or more receptions to five, while topping the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career. He caught one touchdown, rushed for another and added a two-point conversion on the ground.

With Josh Reynolds out with COVID, KhaDarel Hodge stepped up with his best game for the Lions, catching five balls for 76 yards, including a 42-yard, diving grab that helped slice the lead to two scores in the third quarter, keeping faint hopes for a comeback alive. Grade: A-

Offensive line

For the second straight week, Boyle wasn’t sacked, although he nearly fumbled when the protection scheme didn’t account for the safety rushing off the edge. In total, the quarterback got knocked down five times, while rookie Penei Sewell got assessed with a holding penalty in the red zone.

As far as opening holes in the run game, it wasn’t as consistent as you’d like to see against a good Seattle front, but Tommy Kraemer and Evan Brown had key blocks on St. Brown’s 26-yard touchdown run.

And tip of the cap to Taylor Decker, who did a nice job running a delayed route and scoring the second touchdown of his career. Grade: B

Defensive front

When an opponent runs for 265 yards, that starts up front. Most of Seattle’s yards didn’t come around the edges as they attacked Detroit between the tackles with great success. Detroit’s pass rush wasn’t much better, sacking Russell Wilson once, in the first half, and not even capitalizing on the moment, allowing a third-down conversion that resulted in an early touchdown. Grade: F

Linebackers

Jalen Reeves-Maybin had a couple of stops early in the game, including two tackles for a loss, but Detroit’s linebackers, particularly rookie Derrick Barnes, routinely found themselves out of their gaps when defending the run. Grade: F

Secondary

The Seahawks’ offensive success was predicated on the run game, forcing Detroit to commit resources to the box. That made life much easier for Wilson, who picked apart the secondary to the tune of 20-for-29 for 236 yards and four touchdowns.

Detroit had zone coverage breakdowns and struggles in man coverage, particularly with D.J. Metcalf, who hauled in three of those touchdowns. The Lions’ secondary only got hands on one pass, a breakup by rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu, in the second quarter.

In total, Seattle converted on seven of their 12 third-down attempts, doing most of that damage through the air.  Grade: F

Special teams

It was a mixed bag for special teams. Two of Jack Fox’s three punts were under 40 yards, and he outkicked his coverage on the third, a 57-yard liner, only to get bailed out by a holding call on the return. Riley Patterson, meanwhile, saw his perfect season come to an end when he badly missed a 55-yard field goal at the end of the first half.

On the flip side, Godwin Igwebuike had a 47-yard kickoff return to spur Detroit’s first touchdown drive, and also recovered a surprise onside kick in the second half that led to another touchdown.

Couple ugly punts, 55-yard missed field goal. Long return for Igwebuike. Recovered onside kick.  Grade: B-

Coaches

Whatever the defensive game plan was, it wasn’t executed, and if adjustments were made, they were equally ineffective. That caused Detroit to bail on its offensive plan to play keep up, despite working with a backup quarterback missing two of his top three weapons in the pass game.

Dan Campbell didn’t have too many in-game errors, as there was nothing wrong with going for it on fourth-and-one early in the game. Challenge that play seemed silly, since Williams was clearly short of the line to gain, but the coach explained after the game that the team wasn’t able to get a good look at a replay prior to throwing the red flag.

The usage of D’Andre Swift was somewhat curious. The Lions led everyone to believe the dynamic back was full go, but he wasn’t involved early and finished with just six touches. Grade: F

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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