If you're not aware by now, Pro Football Focus is a website that focuses on grading NFL players for their individual performances based on an in-depth review of every snap for every game. If you're interested, here is a look at their grading system.
I didn't enjoy last night's game as much as you guys. I was sucked into the depths of fantasy hell, rooting for Benjamin Watson to catch one last pass. I know, I'm a monster. But I quickly got over it this morning and now appreciate the game for what it really was. Despite nearly blowing it at the end there, the Lions played a hell of a game. Matthew Stafford had arguably the most efficient performance of his career, albeit against a putrid Saints defense, and the running game even produced a 15-yard rushing touchdown! It was glorious. Now here is a closer look at the individual performances from Monday night's victory.
Riley Reiff: +3.0
Matthew Stafford: +2.5
Golden Tate: +2.0
Michael Burton: +1.5
Eric Ebron: +1.2
Hey, look who decided to show up, it's Riley Reiff! For the third time this season, Reiff completely shut down the opposition and didn't give up a single pressure. He also earned a +1.3 run blocking grade and now sits just barely on the wrong side of the fence (-0.2 overall grade) for the year. A +3.0 on just 53 offensive snaps is a very impressive performance for Reiff. Credit him and the rest of the O-line because Stafford had all night to throw the ball.
Speaking of Stafford, I've never seen such an efficient performance from him. An 88 percent completion rate brings him up to a career-high 66.1 percent on the year. Only six QBs have a higher completion rate.
Matthew Stafford, last nine games: 215-321 (67 %), 2,458 yds., 21 TD, 5 Int., 105.1 passer rating.— Mike O'Hara (@MikeOHaraNFL) December 22, 2015
Golden Tate continues to be a stud and has forced 23 missed tackles on the year leading all wide receivers. Eric Ebron also put in one of his best efforts making a brilliant catch-and-run for 45 yards that I'm sure Aaron Donald would have dropped.
Quandre Diggs: +2.6
Tahir Whitehead: +2.0
Darius Slay: +2.0
Josh Bynes: +1.8
Kyle Van Noy: +1.6
Stephen Tulloch: +1.5
Darryl Tapp: -2.1
Nevin Lawson: -1.6
Jason Jones: -1.4
Ezekiel Ansah: -1.4
Isa Abdul-Quddus: -1.2
Khyri Thornton: -1.2
C.J. Wilson: -1.0
There's a lot of good and a lot of bad to discuss from Monday night. First order of business, have you talked to your kids about Quandre Diggs yet? I think it's about that time for them to know. He's been lights out as of late. Since Week 10, Diggs has a +11.4 overall grade, which is the highest among all CBs. During that span, he's allowed just 100 passing yards on 32 targets for a 46.9 percent catch rate and a passer rating of 54.2. Get used to the name.
Darius Slay is also having a career year. He is now PFF's No. 2 graded CB (+15.0) behind Tyrann Mathieu, who is now out for the year with a torn ACL. But it's not just his solid performances in pass coverage that should be lauded, he's also one of the most efficient tackling CBs in the game right now. With just one missed tackle all year, Darius Slay is the fifth-most efficient tackling CB in the NFL via PFF. He's also been penalized just twice this year, with one being declined or offset. He's reaching elite status as we speak.
There are other performances to talk about, but nothing too crazy. Stephen Tulloch, despite struggling in coverage this year, has been a very efficient run stopper and proved so on Monday night with a +1.7 run defense grade. Tahir Whitehead did a wonderful job of stalking Benjamin Watson and remains the Lions' best cover linebacker. Kyle Van Noy also made his first cameo on the 'Good' list putting in a solid effort against the run.
As for the bad, it wasn't a great game for the defensive line. Drew Brees was touched just three times (1 QB sack and 2 QB hits), but could hardly muster up anything in the passing game because of sticky coverage from the Lions' secondary. Darryl Tapp posted the lowest grade on the team and didn't earn a single pressure on 20 pass rushing snaps.
Nevin Lawson had a fairly rough game according to PFF. He gave up eight catches on nine targets for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
Sam Martin: +2.0
Ameer Abdullah: +1.5
Matt Prater: -1.2
Matt Prater has been tremendous all year, but really loves to give Lions fans a heart attack instead of closing things out. Sam Martin was his same old efficient self, while Abdullah impressed as a kick returner. Good job, good effort.