The Detroit Lions head into the bye week after their second consecutive loss, this time at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. Here’s a look at some notable performances from Lions players according to our friends at Pro Football Focus.
T.J. Lang’s absence was devastating
Lang was a surprise inactive after his back injury flared up just hours before kickoff. Emmett Cleary stepped in to take over emergency duties at right guard. It did not go well. Cleary’s PFF grade was 29.3 after allowing four pressures, a sack and a quarterback hit in 53 offensive snaps.
Things didn’t get much better when Cleary left with an injury. Tim Lelito stepped in and earned himself just a 35.7 grade. In only 26 pass blocking situations, Lelito ceded five pressures.
In total, the Lions’ offensive line allowed pressures on 39 percent of Matthew Stafford’s dropbacks. That’s completely unacceptable.
As for how things were going at the tackle position...
Yesterday tackle Brian Mihalik played RT for six snaps. He gave up pressures on three of them including a sack.— Brett Whitefield (@PFF_Brett) October 16, 2017
And in case you are a visual learner, here’s what that one sack looked like:
Linebackers took a big step back against the Saints
A week after Jarrad Davis returned from injury and looked like a huge playmaker on defense, both he and Tahir Whitehead had rough outings against New Orleans. Davis (42.8) and Whitehead (38.6) were particularly bad in coverage, allowing six receptions on seven targets.
Golden Tate is a top-5 receiver
Prior to leaving Sunday’s game with an injury that will likely sideline him for a few weeks, Tate built upon his impressive 2017 season. He forced four missed tackles against the Saints, pushing his season total to 13, which is five more than any other receiver in the league.
His season grade of 84.2 ranked him as the fifth-highest receiver in the league (as of Sunday night).
Get well soon, Tate.
The Detroit Lions needed someone to step up now that Haloti Ngata is out for the year, and they got two instead.
A’Shawn Robinson (89.6) graded out as the highest Lions player on Sunday. He had three run stops, a pressure, a batted pass and, of course, a pick-six.
But Akeem Spence had himself a day, too. He earned an 88.7 run defense grade, while contributing three run stops of his own. PFF singled him out in their postgame “Refocused” series:
Spence beat his blocker easily almost all game, blowing up plays and forcing the Saints’ running backs to constantly change their intended point of attacks.