To say the Detroit Lions were bad on Thursday night in their 24-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns would be an understatement. They were downright dreadful, making it a bit tough to include many players on the list of winners this week. The losers list was unfortunately much easier to compile, as you'll see below.
RB Reggie Bush - Bush was really the only player who could do anything on offense for the Lions. With Calvin Johnson out, Bush became the go-to guy, as evidenced by him getting the ball on five straight plays at one point. Later in that same drive, he got the ball on three straight plays. It's true that he took a bad personal foul penalty at one point in this game, but he bounced back and finished the night with 5 catches for 44 yards. (His rushing stats were another story, as he had only 15 yards on 8 carries.)
DTs Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley - Suh and Fairley are just on another level right now, and they showed that again on Thursday night by wreaking some havoc in the trenches. Fairley was especially impressive as a pass rusher, and Suh made an awesome hit on one play where he chased down Trent Richardson. (And yes, I'm aware that Suh, like Bush, had a bad personal foul penalty.)
K David Akers - All Akers has to do at this point to win the Lions' kicker job is stay healthy and not completely lose his accuracy. On Thursday, he passed the accuracy test and showed off his kicking leg by making a 48-yard field goal.
Overall health of the team - The Lions once again avoided any serious injuries. Considering the Browns' Dion Lewis fractured his fibula and Barkevious Mingo had to go to the hospital with a bruised lung, Thursday certainly could have been a lot worse for the Lions. The game stunk, but at least they continued to have pretty good luck with injuries.
No. 1 offense - The Lions' No. 1 offense was bad last week. This week, it was even worse with Calvin Johnson out. The Lions opened the game with three consecutive three-and-outs and four straight punts. They once again were only able to get a field goal while on the field, and it was just tough to watch at times. Actually, it felt like 2012 all over again, except the starters didn't stay in long enough to finally wake up and make a comeback.
TE Brandon Pettigrew - Pettigrew caught 3 passes for 20 yards, but he had a bad drop at the very start of the game. Some things just never change.
Pass defense - After struggling against the New York Jets last week, the Lions' pass defense was just as bad this week despite Ron Bartell returning to the lineup. He had a rough game, and that's pretty much the best way to describe the performance of the entire pass defense -- it was rough. The Browns' three quarterbacks combined to go 21-for-29 for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns. They deserve some credit, but a lot of times receivers were just wide open. This unit has to improve with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots coming to town next week.
Run defense - Trent Richardson ran for 33 yards on 6 carries (5.5 average) and Dion Lewis picked up 33 yards on 5 carries (6.6 average). What's concerning is that a lot of those yards came from a couple of explosion plays. Richardson picked up 17 yards on one run, while Lewis actually went for 31 yards on one carry. The poor tackling was especially frustrating to watch.
Lions' discipline - The Lions had 8 penalties for 68 yards, and in the first half alone they had 3 personal fouls. The Lions have got to be smarter and avoid penalties like that.
Punt unit - Sam Martin didn't have a very good game despite averaging 45.5 yards on 4 punts. He got a lucky bounce on one of them, but the lack of hang time was concerning. This helped contribute to Travis Benjamin returning one punt 84 yards for a touchdown. The return was negated by a penalty, but the point still stands -- the punt unit wasn't good. (Blake Clingan also had a rough night, as he averaged 36.3 yards on 3 punts.)
Return unit - Micheal Spurlock didn't impress on his 2 punt returns, and his only kick return wasn't very impressive either. Steven Miller had a nice return, but two holding penalties -- yes, two on the same return -- negated it. Generally speaking, the return unit didn't do much in this game, and nobody has really jumped out in the return man competition.