Detroit Lions: Debunking the Brandon Pettigrew Myth


If you’re a Detroit Lions fan, chances are you have heard the myth said by others that Brandon Pettigrew is not a reliable receiver.

Some of you may have even said it yourself. Has he missed a few key passes in the past? Well yeah, almost every receiver has. But, overall, Brandon Pettigrew is not only a good blocker but a good receiving option as well.

In 2014 you didn’t see much of Pettigrew on the receiving side of the ball. This was mainly due to the fact that the offensive line was struggling and he had to remain on the line to block and offer pass protection. There’s no doubt in most people’s minds, that he is one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL.

Nov 24, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew (87) catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

For this reason, I am leaving out the 2014 season as he only was targeted 15 times and caught 10 of them.

Now, when you look at the best tight ends in the league, like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, you will see that they had very similar reception percentages as Pettigrew. Now, I am not saying that he is on the level with those two tight ends, this is strictly for a comparison of numbers.

In 2013, Jimmy Graham was targeted 144 times and he caught 86 of them. That equals out to 75.4% balls caught.

Also in 2013, Rob Gronkowski was targeted 67 times and caught 39 which equals out to 58.2% balls caught.

In the same season, Brandon Pettigrew was targeted 64 times and caught 41 which equals 64% balls caught.

As you can see, he is in between as far as percentages go when it comes to passes caught. So this right here tells you that the moans and groans if you mention he has solid hands, are really unwarranted.

Lets put this into perspective against wide receivers as well and limit it to just Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. We can all pretty much agree that Calvin Johnson is the greatest in the game and Golden Tate had an excellent season with the Detroit Lions in 2014.

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In 2014, Calvin was targeted 128 times and caught 71 which equals 55.5% passes caught.

Also in 2014, Tate was targeted 142 times and caught 99 of them. This equals out to 69.7% complete receptions.

So, are people trying to say that Pettigrew, with a reception percentage of 64%, isn’t a very good receiver when the person we can all agree is the best only caught 55.5% of the passes thrown to him last season? Might I also add, that Pettigrew also bested Charlie Sanders single season record not once, but twice in his 6 season career thus far.

I think at this point in time, it is time to cut Pettigrew some slack. He has shown fairly consistently in his career that he is a good option when it comes to passes.

With the Detroit Lions having a solid offensive line again, hopefully, we will see more out of Pettigrew with the help of Eric Ebron and Joseph Fauria when it comes to tight end receiving.

Mark DeGain is a columnist for of the FanSided Network. For continued Detroit Lions news, rumors and analysis, be sure to follow him on twitter at @SLR_Mark.

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