Grading the 2014 Detroit Lions: Taking A Closer Look At the Defense

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Oct 19, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions fans cheer on the defense during the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Ford Field. Detroit won 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Rarely, if ever lately, have the Detroit Lions relied so heavily on an elite defense to carry them through a season. Considering the struggles of their offense, however, 2014 must have been opposites year.

From nearly the first snap of the season, the Lions’ revived defense, led by first-year coordinator Teryl Austin, flat out got after it. They stopped the run in elite fashion, rushed the passer in elite fashion and tackled much better in the second level. Additionally, there wasn’t the usual barrage of big plays given up by the secondary in every single game.

Detroit’s defense was one of the most impressive in the league all season, and as such, there are plenty of great grades to go around for everyone. Here’s a closer look at how the defenders grade out after 2014.

Next: Defensive Line