Lions vs Eagle: Best and worst PFF grades for Week 1

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Surely it wasn’t the start the Detroit Lions were hoping for in their Week 1 home opener. The Lions fought their way back, making it a close contest, but in the end, early mistakes and slow starts led to the downfall against the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35.

The offense started very well, scoring on their first drive, but afterward, it came to a screeching halt with the next three drives resulting in three-and-outs and, as a result, gassing the defense as they were having troubles with their own against Jalen Hurts. Afterward, the offense did find their stride, especially through the running game, which had been working throughout the day, and the defense powered through, giving the Lions a shot, but it just wasn’t enough.

In years past, the Lions would’ve called it quits and just let the Eagles continue their onslaught. Not this time. This Detroit squad showed plenty of fight and a lot of grit, which has been the Lions mantra since Dan Campbell took over. Teams are still finding their footing at the beginning of the season, and as long as they clean up the mistakes, the Lions could fight a way to turn out wins.

Here are this week’s best and worst PFF performers for the Lions against the Eagles.

Top Offensive Performers

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  1. RB D’Andre Swift: 82.3

  2. RT Penei Sewell: 79.8

  3. TE TJ Hockenson: 69.1

  4. LG Jonah Jackson: 67.6

  5. WR DJ Chark: 66.1

Swift landing as the top offensive performer this week should be no surprise to anyone who watched the game, as he was decisive in his runs and exploded through the holes the offensive line provided. Swift set expectations high for this season, and performances, as he showcased against the Eagles, are something coaches and fans will enjoy watching on a weekly basis.

Sewell did surrender three pressures and sack, as marked by PFF, but where he shined was in run blocking, sitting in the top ten in the league in that category. Jackson was the only other offensive lineman finishing above a 60 grade, and it was evident in some of the blocks he was throwing around as well as serviceable in pass protection, only giving up one pressure.

Hockenson finished the day with 38 yards on four catches while gaining some yards after the catch, which is any area Hockenson hasn’t displayed very often. While being a strong outlet for Jared Goff, he was also watching his back as Hockenson landed as the Lions top pass protector. Chark started slow, but he made a spectacular touchdown catch, and he wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty as he was the second-best run blocker right behind Sewell

Worst Offensive Performers

(AP Photo/Al Goldis)

  1. RG Logan Stenberg: 25.9

  2. C Frank Ragnow: 48.8

  3. QB Jared Goff: 49.5

  4. RB Jamaal Williams: 55.0

  5. WR Josh Reynolds: 56.4

Note: Matt Nelson and Kalif Raymond landed on the bottom but only tallied five and eight snaps, respectively.

While Sewell and Jackson landed at the top of offensive players, Stenberg and Ragnow didn’t fair quite as well. Earning his first start after an impressive training camp, Stenberg had a rough go surrendering four pressure and a sack, earning a place in infamy with a 0.0 pass protection grade. He did find his footing after taking his licks, but it was a rough go. Right behind Stenberg was Ragnow as he tallied a poor pass protection score but did not have any pressures credited to him.

Goff looked all out of sorts, from overthrowing his receivers to an egregious pick-six. Sure he was pressured consistently, but you could tell he was not in sync with his playmakers. In a consistent trend, he did improve as the game went on, but you have to wonder if he was able to connect on a few of those plays, the outcome would’ve been different.

The grades were grouped rather close to one another for the Lions offense, showing how mediocre the offense was. Even with two touchdowns, Williams fell at the bottom due to his pass protection grade, falling behind Stenberg and Ragnow. Reynolds only caught one pass on three targets for 28 yards and had a dropped pass at one of the worst times to keep a much-needed drive alive.

Best Defensive Performers

  1. LB Malcolm Rodriguez: 73.4

  2. S DeShon Elliott: 70.7

  3. LB Chris Board: 70.3

  4. S Tracy Walker: 70.1

  5. CB Mike Hughes: 67.4

Rodriguez quickly became a fan favorite after his showing during Hard Knocks and after his performance against the Eagles. he is gaining more fandom, especially after throwing down Jason Kelce. Rodriguez did have two missed tackles, but he showed his prowess in coverage, allowing only 18 yards on three catches. With a rather poor performance from the defense, Rodrigo was one of the lone highlights and one to be happy about for the sixth-round rookie.

Elliot was on the field for all but three snaps in this contest and proved a reliable option with Tracy Walker in the safety group. He earned top grades in tackling, notching five tackles and disrupting his lone target of the day. Walker did it all this week, from batting down passes to tallying the Lions only sack of the day. If not for an error in judgment earning his ejection, Walker had a solid performance in Week 1.

Free agent acquisition, Board provided nice juice in a linebacker corps that did not have the greatest of showings, which we will get to later. Board was graded well in pass rush earning two pressures but did fall short in the tackling department grading low in that area with a missed tackle. Hughes earned the spot at nickel corner and was utilized in multiple facets in coverage and pass rushing, racking up two pressures and performing quite well in run defense.

Worst Defensive Performers

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

  1. LB Derrick Barnes: 29.3

  2. S Juju Hughes: 36.9

  3. LB Alex Anzalone: 40.3

  4. DT Michael Brockers: 41.4

  5. DT Benito Jones: 41.5

As I was saying earlier, unfortunately, it was not all rainbows surrounding the linebackers. Barnes and Anzalone landed at the bottom. Barnes saw his snaps take a blow, recording only 21 snaps versus the 46 snaps Rodriguez, but for a good reason — Barnes was not performing well. He would earn poor grades in run defense and tackling, where he went on to miss three tackles, the most amongst Lions.

From the eye test, Anzalone looked to have a good game, but PFF saw otherwise where he would below marks in coverage, but did one of the top tackling grades getting five tackles while assisting on four others. Juju Hughes was thrust into the starting role after Walker was ejected and saw mixed results earning low marks in coverage as he gave up one catch for 22 yards and fell below several marks.

Brockers and Jones were front and center to witness the Eagles rushing attack run all over the Lions defense for 216 yards. As the main men in the middle of the defensive line, they were not providing disruption or gap closure as they seemed to be moved against their will. Due to the onslaught, Brockers and Jones earned two of the lowest run defense grades for the Lions.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire