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PFF Week 5 recap: The Lions offensive line is a mess

The stats don’t lie: The Lions have a big offensive line problem right now.

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NFL: Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Every week we shuffle through data provided by Pro Football Focus to see how the Detroit Lions performed on an individual level against their most recent opponents. After their loss to the Carolina Panthers, there were a lot of negative plays and grades to peruse through.

Here are the most noteworthy observations from the Detroit Lions’ Week 5 Pro Football Focus grades.

SOS—Save Our Stafford

Matthew Stafford was absolutely beat up in this game, and it was largely due to an extremely poor performance from the offensive line. It’s time to admit that the Greg Robinson experiment, while good intentioned, has been an absolute failure. Robinson earned a 43.6 overall grade from PFF this week, but, even worse, he garnered a 30.9 run block grade. He now ranks last among tackles in run blocking efficiency.

Travis Swanson’s overall grade against the Panthers was even worse: 40.3. The combination of Robinson-Graham Glasgow-Swanson allowed a guy like defensive tackle Kawann Short to absolutely dominate the Lions offensive line. Short had two of the Panthers’ six sacks on the game and led the Carolina defense with an outstanding 88.1 PFF grade.

The only shining light of optimism among the offensive line was Rick Wagner, who had a big bounceback game. Wagner earned a team-high 89.3 overall grade from PFF and only gave up a single pressure on Detroit’s final drive of the game.

Darius Slayed

For as good as Darius Slay has looked all year, he was absolutely toasted by Cam Newton and the Panthers pass offense. According to PFF, Slay allowed five catches, 71 yards and 2 TDs in coverage, good for a 155.6 passer rating when targeted on Sunday. The game was easily Slay’s worst performance of the year.

Jarrad Davis is back

The Lions defense looked transformed against the run with rookie Jarrad Davis back in the middle of the defense. Davis earned the highest grade among defensive starters for Detroit (83.5) and was not at all a liability in coverage. According to PFF, Davis allowed just two catches for two yards in coverage.

What’s wrong with Stafford?

Obviously the previously mentioned offensive line issues were a big problem for Stafford and the pass offense, but the franchise quarterback didn’t do much to help himself on Sunday. He had accuracy issues and didn’t navigate the pocket as well as he has in previous weeks.

Stafford was “only” pressured on 14 dropbacks, but was sacked on six of those occasions. PFF dinged the Lions quarterback for taking one unnecessary sack, and gave him an overall grade of just 52.1.

Small glimmers of hope on the defensive line

It was a pretty horrible day for the Lions’ pass rush. Even though they sacked Newton three times, the Lions defensive front spent most of the game giving the Panthers quarterback all day to pass.

That being said, there were a couple of good performances along the front four. A’Shawn Robinson, who played a career-high percentage of snaps on Sunday, notched four pressures on the Panthers and earned himself a respectable 80.8 PFF grade—the fourth highest on the team.

Additionally, Anthony Zettel added to his repertoire by having an excellent game against the run. He earned an 87.9 run defense grade, which was bolstered by three “run stops” on the day. Zettel did not create a single pressure on Sunday, which is obviously disappointing, but he still ranks among the top five in pass rush productivity among edge rushers:

Yes, Eric Ebron was bad

39.6 overall grade, 36.7 receiving grade. No surprise there.

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