Just take a long, deep and very warranted sigh.
We were all slapped back into reality on Sunday afternoon after the Detroit Lions’ sadistically sad loss to the Atlanta Falcons. In a 26-30 thriller, the longtime adage of the sport of football was on display as the entire game came down to mere inches. Here are the grades for each side of the ball for the Lions.
Pathetic. One measly touchdown from Matthew Stafford and only 71 total rushing yards tell all of the Lions’ offensive woes against the Falcons. It was a close game down to the end and Stafford was at least able to generate a drive down the field to get the team to the red zone for one final shot. Besides that final drive, the offense was dreadful. There were hardly any consistent drives and the team was able to only convert three rushing first downs while going 3-13 on third down.
It was disappointing to see Ameer Abdullah bottled up after a solid performance last week, but credit is due to an overwhelming defensive front from Atlanta. Stafford was able to spread the ball to eight different receivers but only connected on 55% of his passes (25/45). Golden Tate was the only receiver to catch more than five passes.
The score of the game puts a deceiving veil over the performance of the offense, but one touchdown won’t cut it. They earn a C+.
Who would have guessed that Detroit’s defense would be the spotlight of the team through three weeks?
Teryl Austin and his boys were at it again this week, intercepting the former MVP Matt Ryan three times, including a pick-six. When all hope seemed lost, the defense continued to keep Detroit in the game. Darius Slay held Julio Jones in check for the most part and Glover Quin recorded his 18th interception since 2013. Anthony Zettel and Jeremiah Valoaga were each able to record a sack as well.
The absence of rookie middle linebacker Jarrad Davis was apparent as Devonta Freeman ran for 106 yards and a touchdown. It was the first time Detroit had allowed a hundred yard rusher this season. With key injuries to several starters, the defense bent but did not break against a Falcons team that is hitting their stride. If they can play that well without the likes of Ziggy Ansah and Tavon Wilson, the future is promising. They earn a B.
Special Teams A
There is no argument, Matt Prater is the best kicker in football right now. He went 4/4 on field goals, connecting from 55 or more yards twice. He was the real reason the team was in the game and his consistency continues to carry the Lions. At this point, it might be worth it to let him run the offense.
Kickoff and punt coverage were solid for, presenting an overall standard day for the rest of special teams, giving them an A.
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