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 dominant victory over the Chicago Bears, shall we?
With the First Pick
Matthew Stafford: +4.8
Calvin Johnson: +3.8
LaAdrian Waddle: +2.5
Cornelius Lucas: +2.0
Theo Riddick: +1.9
Brandon Pettigrew: -2.1
Jed Collins: -1.6
Dominic Raiola: -1.5
Eric Ebron: -0.8
Travis Swanson: -0.6
Matthew Stafford earned his highest grade since week one versus the Giants, and I’d have to say I’d agree with that assessment. Aside from the first couple of drives, Stafford was lights out.
Calvin Johnson had his best grade of the season at +3.8, and it was also his highest since week one.
Cornelius Lucas bounced back pretty nicely after a horrible performance against the Patriots. He allowed just one pressure against the Bears, which was three less than the week before.
Brandon Pettigrew has had a terrible year according to PFF. His -10.3 grade is good for 58th out of 66 TEs this season. Normally he can make up for his mistakes in the passing game with his blocking, but he’s earned negatives in every category. Tight end has not been much of a strength for this team.
After grading out as the #2 center in all of football last year, Raiola has taken a turn for the worse and is now one of the lowest graded centers. I think it’s about time for the Lions to move on and develop someone younger with more upside and less of a temper.
Ezekiel Ansah: +7.4
Darius Slay: +4.5
DeAndre Levy: +3.5
George Johnson: +1.9
Cassius Vaughn: +1.3
Ashlee Palmer: -2.0
Devin Taylor: -1.5
James Ihedigbo: -1.2
Jason Jones/CJ Mosley: -0.2
Ziggy Ansah had a ridiculously good game against the Bears on Thanksgiving. With his +7.4 grade last Thursday, he surged all the way to the 3rd highest grade among all 4-3 defensive ends. He was credited with 12 total pressures on just 43 snaps. That means that he pressured the quarterback over 1/3 of the time he put his hand in the dirt.
To put that in perspective, Jason Jones has 15 total pressures on the year. Ansah had 12 in one game.
Despite Ziggy Ansah completely dominating his assignments, Darius Slay may have had the most visibly impressive performance. Slay was targeted eight times and gave up just four completions. Jay Cutler’s QB Rating was a 58.9 when throwing his way, and Slay was also credited with three pass deflections via ESPN’s box score.
Slay has quietly had a spectactular year, but his sophomore year has been overshadowed by Ansah’s.
Ashlee Palmer’s -2.0 grade is even harder to swallow when you consider that he earned it on just 13 snaps all game. There is not much left to say about Palmer. He’s been a major liability for this defense.