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The Detroit Lions seemed to be on the up and up competing against the top-tier teams this season. Heading into Week 4, you had to believe they were feeling good against the Chicago Bears team that gave up nine sacks the previous week. The only kicker was they competing against the Bears and themselves, turning to be their downfall.
With poor execution, sub-par defensive play, and the constant shot footing, the Lions could not get anything figured out until it was too late. Also, to add injury to insult, the Lions lost their best defensive player, Romeo Okwara, for the season, making a poor defense much weaker in the long run.
There weren’t too many stellar players this week, and it reflected in this week’s PFF grades for the Lions.
Best Offensive Players
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
1. RB Jamaal Williams- 89.5
2. G Jonah Jackson- 73.4
3. WR Quintez Cephus- 72.9
4. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown- 71.1
5. WR Kalif Raymond- 66.7
Williams was hands down the Lions best offensive weapon through the first half, gaining 66 yards on 14 carries while recording 34 yards after contact. He had the highest run grade and landed third overall amongst running backs so far this week. However, with the Lions behind, they essentially abandoned the run leaving Williams with only 21 total snaps.
Jackson had a nice rebound game earning elite marks in pass blocking, which was good for fifth-best amongst guards this week. He only scored average in run blocking, but he did not give up any pressures, unlike last week, where he gave up two.
Cephus had a career day, recording 83 receiving yards on four receptions at 20.8 yards per catch. He gave Goff a good threat downfield, earning first downs with every catch lining majority on the outside. He also showed out his toughness with two missed tackles.
St. Brown was eventually going to his own, and this week he finally got to show everyone what he is made of. He saw the ball eight times — tied for most with T.J. Hockenson — and caught six of his targets for 70 yards lining up in the slot. Also, three of his catches went for first downs.
Raymond was victim to some errant throws, but after the offense got in the stride, he was the main feature scoring the only two touchdowns the Lions could muster this week. He finished the day with three receptions and 46 yards with two missed tackles.
Note: KhaDarel Hodge would’ve been fifth on the list with a 67.4 grade, but ended up only playing eight snaps and catching his only target for 13 yards.
Worst Offensive Players
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
1. RB D’Andre Swift- 46.3
2. LT Penei Sewell- 46.3
3. TE Darren Fells- 46.7
4. C Frank Ragnow- 47.2
5. C Evan Brown- 53.3
After the Lions threw out the running game, Swift saw an uptick in snaps but failed in most areas. He was one of the worst pass-blocking backs this week as he was overpowered, giving up two sacks. On top of it, Swift recorded 16 yards rushing on 2.0 yards per carry and only mustered 33 receiving yards. With the Lions leaning on Swift, he needs to play a lot better.
Sewell had his hands full with the Bears pass-rushing attack, giving up seven total pressures with two of them being sacks. He allowed Robert Quinn to get to Goff leading to a fumble in the red zone. He has fallen back to earth after a strong start to the season and with Taylor Decker back soon, a move back to right tackle might be inevitable.
Fells had a very quiet day in the receiving department due to providing help with the Bears onslaught. He did have a good day pass blocking, but where it hurt him was low run blocking scores.
Ragnow saw his day end early with a toe injury, but that wasn’t before an early snap that landed right into Bears hands after it bounced it off of Goff. With limited snaps, his grades suffered and he also may be out for some time.
Brown took over center duties after the Lions lost Ragnow, and saw the most extensive action he had had in his career. He was a below-average run block and average pass protector while giving up one pressure. Considering this is his biggest workload, he could’ve been much worse.
Best Defensive Players
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1. NT Alim McNeill- 76.9
2. EDGE Julian Okwara- 74.3
3. S Tracy Walker- 72.6
4. CB Jerry Jacobs- 66.5
5. EDGE Austin Bryant- 59.6
McNeill finally showed up in potential as a run defender getting three tackles and two stops while lining up mostly in run defense seeing 17 of his 21 snaps in that capacity. In a day where the Bears ran all over the Lions for 188 rushing yards, it’s hard to find a bright spot on the defensive line, but the rookie gave out his best performance so far.
Okwara still only sees the field as a situational defender with only 12 snaps with a mix of run and pass defense. He was the best run defender this week for the Lions with two tackles, one being a loss. His pass-rushing grades took a hit, but it was good to see his run defense is improving. With his brother out for the rest of the season, he should see more playing time.
A day where good defensive play was at a premium, Walker had one of his better showings this season with a strong performance across the board. He provided a good dose of run defense and ended up as the Lions top graded tackler this week. The safety group has been a disappointment this season, but Walker can be a breath of fresh air when needed.
After Bobby Price was lost due to an injury, the Lions were found to rely on yet another undrafted corner in Jacobs. You couldn’t ask much more from Jacobs this week finding his way on defense and was not targeted once. We are unaware of the severity of Price’s injury, but we could potentially see more of Jacobs next week.
The Lions’ fifth-best player had a below-average PFF grade, which should speak how poor the defense played, but Bryant was the one who saw an increase in play after Romeo Okwara’s injury. He cooked up three tackles and one pressure through the game but also had a poor day in the tackling department with a missed tackle.
Worst Defensive Players
1. S Will Harris- 27.6
2. S Daryl Worley- 29.0
3. CB Bobby Price- 29.3
4. EDGE Charles Harris- 41.2
5. CB AJ Parker- 42.4
Here we go again, folks. Another week of with Harris right in the bottom of the barrel. He graded very poorly in every department outside of run defense where he was just average. It is downright nauseating watching Harris play and leaving everyone hung out to dry, providing no suitable defensive worth salvaging. Going into the season many were hoping for the best, but if this was his best it might be time to pull the plug.
Oh what do we have here? More poor safety play? Yep, sure is! This time the culprit is Daryl Worley. With Harris’ disgusting play, the Lions tried their hands with Worley at safety and he didn’t fare any better, scoring poor marks in every facet of defensive play you can think of including missing two tackles.
Poor Price. The young converted safety had a game he will want to forget. Right out of the gate he was targeted heavily, allowing 149 of the 209 total passing yards to Justin Fields. He was taking poor angles and was outmatched against the Bears receivers. At some point, you have to feel sorry for him considering the situation he was thrown into along with poor safety play, it is not helping his cause.
I believed Harris had a strong game, but PFF seems to disagree with me. Even though he did cause a fumble on Justin Fields, he did miss three tackles — most among Lions defenders. In a day where the line was slashed open by David Montgomery, who attacked the edges well, it can be easy to see the poor grades from Harris especially in tackling and run defense.
Parker has fallen from grace from a strong start to the season with back-to-back poor performances. He was not targeted this week, but with two missed tackles for the day it ended dragging him down. With the decimated secondary group, the Lions need Parker to find what worked earlier on and get back to that.