The Detroit Lions headed to the Metrodome in Minneapolis for one final time, and in the final game ever played at the dome, the Vikings emerged victorious by a score of 14-13. Here’s how the Lions positional groups graded out.
I began to really feel for Matthew Stafford as I watched this game. Sure, he missed some throws, but without Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew, it really looked like Stafford didn’t know where to go. The receivers were never able to consistently get open (we’ll hit on that later) as there was a severe lack of weapons for number 9 to work with. The bottom line: he didn’t turn the ball over and was able to keep his team within striking distance with limited weapons. That’s worth a passing grade.
Running Backs: C-
Reggie Bush and Joique Bell struggled to get anything going on the ground, managing just 63 yards combined. They did, however, manage this unique stat:
On last catch, Bush topped 500 yards receiving for season. Bush & Joique Bell are 1st RBs in NFL history w/500 rush + 500 rec in same yr
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 29, 2013
Bush was able to find the endzone on a 19-yard reception, but a fumble by Joique Bell keeps this grade lower than we’ve become accustomed to.
Wide Receivers: F
As mentioned earlier, Detroit’s receivers struggled to get any separation, allowing the Viking defenders to stack the box, which didn’t allow much on the ground game. Minnesota dared Detroit to beat them through the air, and it didn’t happen. Kevin Ogletree was the most targeted, especially in the second half, but even that wasn’t much to speak of. It was an overall poor outing for the receivers.
Tight Ends: D
Joseph Fauria saw the majority of the snaps at tight end, while tackle Corey Hilliard found his way onto the field playing the H-back position on running plays. Neither were too effective, though Fauria was able to get open a few times over the middle of the field. There’s definitely some talent there to build on, but Fauria needs to continue to improve his blocking to see the field on a more consistent basis. Brandon Pettigrew will be a free agent this offseason, and it will be interesting to see what direction the Lions front office decides to go.
Offensive Line: F
The lack of a threat of any sort of passing game didn’t help, but the offensive line was not able to do much in terms of opening things up for the running game. Add in five sacks allowed, and this becomes a failing grade.