Justin Rogers’ Lions grades: Plenty of A’s in domination of Bears

Detroit News

Detroit — Justin Rogers grades the Detroit Lions’ performance following the team’s 41-10 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff continued his incredible hot streak, completing 21-of-29 throws for 255 yards and three touchdowns. He connected on throws to 10 different receivers and kept the ball out of danger against a defense that’s shown a knack for forcing turnovers. It marked the eighth straight game he didn’t throw an interception, extending his franchise record to 290 attempts without a pick. Grade: A

Running backs

After struggling through the past month, the ground game found some life against the Bears. With a 58-yard romp in the fourth quarter, Jamaal Williams surged past his previous single-game high. He finished with 144 yards on 22 carries, including his 15th touchdown on the season. He’s now just six yards shy of his first 1,000 season.

Additionally, D’Andre Swift exploded for 117 yards from scrimmage, scoring twice. He showcased a big-play ability that’s been missing from Detroit’s backfield with a 17-yard touchdown run, a 35-yard gain to convert a third-and-18 and a 21-yard touchdown reception. Grade: A

Wide receivers/tight ends

Shrugging off an early drop by DJ Chark, the group settled down to deliver a steady performance, providing several explosive plays, third-down conversions and a couple of touchdowns. Chark drew a pass interference in the end zone shortly after the drop, setting up the first of two scores for tight end Brock Wright.

And even though he didn’t catch a pass on three targets, Jameson Williams delivered a big play with a 40-yard run off a reverse.

Blocking was also solid from the group. Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds had key blocks on Swift’s touchdown run, while Shane Zylstra effectively set a pick that helped Wright get open for his first score. Grade: A-

Offensive line

The ground game was obviously clicking for the first time in a while, and Goff faced limited pressure, getting sacked once and hit just three times. Opening up run lanes and offering quality pass protection played a key role in Detroit’s 41-point output. Grade: A

Defensive line

The defensive line was partially responsible for a couple of big gains by quarterback Justin Fields in the first quarter. Edge rusher James Houston got pinned inside by a block from receiver N’Keal Harry on a 35-yard gain on the opening drive, and Isaiah Buggs got dragged down by center Sam Mustipher, opening the lane for a 60-yard run by Fields that led to a field goal. But corrections were quickly made and that was the end of Chicago’s offensive success.

The front, led by Houston’s three, tallied 6.5 sacks. And even that number doesn’t reflect how often Chicago’s dual-threat passer was under duress. To go with the sacks, Houston also forced a fumble, which was recovered by teammate Aidan Hutchinson. That paired nicely with an interception by the No. 2 pick in the draft at the end of the first half.

Hutchinson’s gap discipline as a rusher should not go unnoticed. He rushed unselfishly all day, hitting the brakes on his rushes, focusing more on keeping Fields in sight and creating opportunities for his teammates. That led to a sack for John Cominsky and a third-down stop in the red zone. Grade: A+

Linebackers

Malcolm Rodriguez missed an on-field call to change assignments, leading to a blown coverage on Chicago’s only touchdown. Otherwise, the ‘backers were solid, combining for 13 tackles and limiting the running backs to 55 yards with a long of 15. Grade: B+

Secondary

The coverage was tight much of the day as Fields completed just seven passes for 75 yards. Jerry Jacobs committed a hold on third down that kept the Bears’ opening drive alive, but there wasn’t much else to complain about. Harris, as a blitzer, blew up the running back in protection, hitting Fields’ arm to force an incompletion on third down that led to a punt. Grade: A-

Special teams

The punt-return unit wasted some opportunities due to subpar blocking. Kalif Raymond managed just 16 yards on three attempts. And on coverage, the team allowed a 63-yard kickoff return at the end of the first half, although Hutchinson’s interception killed the potential scoring threat.

On the positive side of things, Michael Badgley made both of his field-goal attempts and Jack Fox averaged a healthy 46.7-yard net on his three punts. Grade: C+

Coaching

Dan Campbell committed to having the team better prepared after last week’s dud in Carolina, and despite a slow start by the defense, the Lions responded in a big way with the blowout victory.

Defensively, corrections were made quickly by coordinator Aaron Glenn and Hutchinson’s discipline was a prime example for how well the game plan of containing Fields was drilled home for the young unit.

On offense, Ben Johnson dialed up a nice mix of plays, and although his attempts to get Jameson Williams more involved fell a little flat outside of the reverse, the run-pass balance was just right for a big day from his group. Grade: A-

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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