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.
So after another demoralizing and frustrating loss, let's take a closer look at what PFF had to say about Sunday night's loss to the Denver Broncos.
Calvin Johnson: +2.5
Larry Warford: +1.3
LaAdrian Waddle: -9.5 (not a typo)
Matthew Stafford: -5.8
Eric Ebron: -5.4
Laken Tomlinson: -2.9
Lance Moore: -1.9
Cornelius Lucas: -1.5
Riley Reiff: -1.2
Joique Bell: -1.2
It didn't matter who you put out there against Von Miller. It was not going to be pretty. Lucas and Waddle combined for a -11.0 grade on the right side and Miller earned a +6.4 overall grade (+8.1 pass rush) against the Lions, as well as 9 total pressures. It was not good. I still believe Waddle is a big upgrade from Lucas, but he's still not that great if you ask me. The right tackle position remains a huge hole even with Waddle healthy.
Matthew Stafford did not look good Sunday night. It's hard to place much of the blame on him, but he deserves at least a little. When your coaches are consistently getting outsmarted and your offensive line has put you through the depths of hell, it's likely that there is going to be at least somewhat of a trickle-down effect there with your QB. When your play-calling and scheme sucks, I don't know what you expect the QB to do. Stafford has proven that he's not very good at reading defenses and adjusting the protection. The entire offense is a disaster from top to bottom.
Ebron has had a solid season so far, but there was no doubt that he struggled against the Broncos. He had a ball go right through his hands, but it was his poor run blocking (-3.5) that gave him such a low grade. I expect him to bounce back from this and continue to have a solid year.
Joique Bell touched the ball 11 times and gained 4 yards. I'm astounded that the coaches are force-feeding him the ball when it's clear that he is a shell of himself at the moment. Granted, it hardly matters who you hand the ball off to when your offensive line is giving you absolutely no push, but at least Ameer Abdullah gave you more than a yard per carry. Every time Bell touched the ball the drive stalled versus the Broncos. There was a particular drive that the Lions handed it off to Bell for a 1-yard gain and threw him a screen on the next play for a negative gain to set up third-and-long. At this point, I'm speechless.
On the bright side, the Lions did a better job of involving Calvin Johnson, who caught the ball eight times on 13 targets for 77 yards. Other than Warford, he was the only player on offense to receive a +1.0 or higher.
Josh Bynes: +3.2
Rashean Mathis: +3.2
Haloti Ngata: +1.7
Devin Taylor: +1.7
Tahir Whitehead: +1.7
Glover Quin: +1.5
Darius Slay: -3.2
Tyrunn Walker: -2.6
Quandre Diggs: -2.4
Jason Jones: -1.5
Josh Wilson: -1.3
For those that are placing all of the blame on Darius Slay, this is my gift to you.
He had a bad game, it happens. He probably shouldn't have ran his mouth about Peyton Manning prior to the game, though. On the first touchdown reception to Demaryius Thomas, I have no idea why Teryl Austin was calling blitz on an obvious passing situation and leaving his CB out to dry. Teams know to get the ball out quick against our defense and it's been working. Slay was beaten 1-on-1 by a bigger, more physical receiver and nearly had an INT on the second big catch he gave up. Definitely not a good game for Slay, but let's chill out on placing the loss on him. Your offense has to score more than 12 points. Plain and simple.
On the other side of the field, Mathis had himself a solid game. He gave up eight receptions on 11 targets for just 43 yards and also had a pass deflection. This was the most impressed I've been with the entire defense in regards to making tackles in open space and limiting yards after the catch.
I was also very impressed with Josh Bynes on Sunday night. Aside from a missed tackle, he was making plays all over the field, especially in coverage. Quin and Ngata also looked solid and made a team effort to force the first turnover of the game after Ngata tipped the ball up to a diving Quin to make the interception.
Walker's negative grade doesn't exactly surprise me because I don't remember seeing him once all night. Diggs' low grade is most likely due to giving up a touchdown to Owen Daniels that ultimately sealed the game. Not sure I can fault him too much for that catch, since you don't like to see your defensive scheme create that matchup in the first place.
All in all, I thought the defense looked much better than the previous two weeks, but then again, the Broncos had the 31st-ranked offense in the NFL heading into Sunday night's game. You be the judge.
Sam Martin: +3.1
Sam Martin punted the ball very well. Hooray for small victories.
There was also no acknowledgment of Ebron and Lucas' gaffe during the blocked extra point, otherwise that would have been a huge negative.