Defensive Line: C
I’ve also been a big critic of this group, and today is no different. Ndamukong Suh had the only sack of the day as Andy Dalton had clean pockets to throw from for the majority of the game. The last two games, a lack of pressure from the defensive line has allowed the likes of Brandon Weeden and Andy Dalton to pass for a combined 664 yards. Simply put, this unit needs to play better. Stout run defense saves this grade from being lower.
Yes, the Lions linebackers defended the run well. However, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert were too much for DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch, to the tune of 7 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive Backs: D
Rashean Mathis played well in the first half and keeps this grade out of F range. Gunther Cunningham mixed and matched his outside cornerbacks, rotating Darius Slay, Chris Houston, and Mathis throughout the game. No combination was able to stop the Bengals passing attack. Glover Quin quietly played a solid game and Louis Delmas made some nice plays on tight ends. On a side note, we haven’t spent any time talking about Delmas’ knees this season. That’s a good thing.
Special Teams: C-
Everyone will remember the Sam Martin at the end of the game. Yes, it lowers this grade. Just as crucial, however, was a missed block by Corey Hilliard that allowed a David Akers field goal to be blocked. It would eventually lead to a touchdown. I came away impressed with Michael Spurlock, as he made some intelligent plays returning punts. The coverage units were again superb, downing three Martin punts inside the 20.
This loss seemed more about execution on the field than it did preparedness. Give Jim Schwartz and his staff credit; they did their part and put the team in a position to win.