If you are not aware by now, Pro Football Focus is a website dedicated to grading NFL players’ individual performances based on in depth review of every snap of every game. If you’re interested, here is a look at their grading system.
Let’s take a quick look at what PFF had to say about the Detroit Lions and their victory over the Green Bay Packers, shall we?
Reggie Bush: +2.2
Riley Reiff: +1.6
Theo Riddick: +0.9
Rob Sims: +0.7
Calvin Johnson/Dominic Raiola: +0.6
Joique Bell: -2.1
Cornelius Lucas: -2.0
Joseph Fauria: -1.3
Jeremy Ross: -1.1
Eric Ebron: -0.6
The top best and worst grades pretty much tell the whole story for the offense during Sunday’s victory over the Packers. Bell really struggled to get any rhythm going on the ground while Bush made out pretty well and had a 26-yard touchdown late in the game that put things out of reach for the Packers.
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The low grades for the tight ends have a lot to do with the fact that they were collectively nonexistent throughout the game in its entirety. Many thought the gameplan would be to give the ball to our TEs and exploit the Packers’ weak linebacker unit, but Ebron, Pettigrew and Fauria all combined for just a single catch. Also, Ebron was rarely (if ever) on the field for more than one consecutive play at a time. Keep an eye on his playing time moving forward.
It’s a bit shocking not to see Matthew Stafford among the worst grades on account of his three turnovers, but he managed to get the job done regardless, and that’s all that matters.
Nick Fairley: +2.6
Darius Slay: +1.5
Stephen Tulloch: +1.1
Rashean Mathis: +1.0
Don Carey: +1.0
Danny Gorrer: -2.3
Tahir Whitehead: -1.8
Devin Taylor: -0.7
Ezekiel Ansah: -0.2
Darryl Tapp: -0.2
The Lions have suffered a couple season-ending injuries at the nickel corner position, and after signing cornerback Danny Gorrer, they were basically throwing him into a dumpster fire against a high powered Packers offense with Aaron Rodgers under center. Despite the low grade (-2.3), I thought he performed well for his first NFL regular season game by limiting Randall Cobb to just three catches on six targets.
Tahir Whitehead also had a lot on his plate after replacing Stephen Tulloch who suffered an injury caused by a celebration after a third-down sack.
It’s a good thing the Lions decided not to rest Nick Fairley who was listed as questionable coming into Sunday’s matchup, because he was a force to be reckoned with on just 34 snaps. The same cannot be said for Ziggy Ansah (also listed as questionable), who was invisible for a majority of the game and didn’t record a single pressure on Rodgers.
Darius Slay has been on fire to start the year, and continued his solid play with a +1.5 overall grade. Through three weeks, Slay is currently graded as the seventh best cornerback in the NFL with receivers catching just 42.9 percent of balls thrown his way. At this point I think it’s safe to say that he feels much more comfortable in defensive coordinator Teryl Austin’s aggressive scheme.