Defensive Line: B+
It’s tough to ask for more from this group, but with the secondary depleted, Detroit’s defense could have used more. Two sacks (one a safety) and stellar run defense kept Detroit in this game. Don’t get me wrong; the Lions defense played well enough to secure a win.
Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy are two of the most consistent players on the Lions defense and I believe both are highly undervalued. Today, however, with the secondary crippled by injury, we saw much more 3 linebacker packages, and we saw that Ashlee Palmer is not meant to be a starter in the NFL. He struggled in pass coverage, especially against screens. Again, run defense was superb.
I’m going to give them a huge break here, and here’s why: Rashean Mathis, Chris Houston, Darius Slay, and, for much of the game, Bill Bentley were all not available. That left Glover Quin and Louis Delmas playing with Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood, with Don Carey playing some corner as well. The results? Eli Manning barely completed 50% of his passes while averaging just 6.1 yards per completion with an interception and a safety. Now, if you told me those would be Manning’s stats before the game, I’d have been thrilled. Again, the defense took care of their end of the deal.