One of the sloppiest games the Lions have played all seasons saw a close game turn into a blowout in the fourth quarter. The team dug itself a huge hole early in the game and was scoreless in the first half. They would struggle in all three phases and it was more difficult this week than most just to come up with guys who deserved to be talked about as stock up candidates. Still, there’s some good to be had even in a bad loss, so we’ll look at both sides of the coin.
Stock Up: Tion Green, RB
Tion Green's first carry: 33 yards pic.twitter.com/B1o0LcTAf4— Detroit Videos (@DetroitVideos) December 3, 2017
The big story of the day is going to be Tion Green. Green has been a fan favorite all season after beating up the Buffalo Bills in the final preseason game, but he hasn’t been active in any game prior to this one. Green started the contest with a 33-yard run in outside zone, one of the rare moments in the season where the blocking was perfect (he was barely touched until getting knocked out of bounds). He would later run a toss in for a touchdown. It was a bit ironic that neither of those runs was in any kind of power formation, or would be considered power runs, since that’s his thing. It wasn’t a perfect game, as the rest of his runs were forgettable — including his lone goal line power run that was stuffed — but it’s a positive sign for the team if Green can provide an extra wrinkle going forward.
Stock Down: Anthony Zettel, DE
@MathBomb What a surprise...Anthony Zettel gets suckered on a scoring play— John Henry Smith (@jhsthethird) December 3, 2017
Giving up a touchdown in coverage isn’t something you’re usually dealing with from a pass rusher, but it also wasn’t the worst of Zettel’s struggles on the day. The Lions didn’t muster a pass rush all day and didn’t have an answer to the Ravens run offense. With Ziggy Ansah hobbled and injured multiple times in the game it was up to Zettel to provide some kind of rush, with no success.
Stock Up: Marvin Jones, WR
Stafford has connected deep twice with Marvin Jones vs. Humphrey since Jimmy Smith went out. 41-yard gain puts Lions into Ravens territory again.— Bo Smolka (@bsmolka) December 3, 2017
If you ran a highlight reel of just Marvin Jones deep passes, you would have quite the run time in 2017, and it would have been extended today. Jones has been a marvel for the team, and he hauled in four passes for 90 yards with Matthew Stafford in this one including a pair of beautiful catches deep in coverage.
Stock Down: Corey Robinson, OG
Corey Robinson may not actually be the answer to any question the Lions need an answer to.— Scott Warheit (@swarheit) December 3, 2017
The Lions waited a long time to get Taylor Decker back and his worst game is still better than anything they got out of Greg Robinson. That said, it wasn’t a great showing from Decker in part due to having to help Corey Robinson out. Robinson was bullied on nearly every down, playing the left guard position while Graham Glasgow starts at center over the injured Travis Swanson. The Lions have seemingly played every offensive lineman in the NFL on their line this season and haven’t found a single answer for anything.
Stock Up: Golden Tate, WR
We’re scraping the bottom a bit for guys that are worthy of talking about on a positive note, but it was a decent enough day for Golden Tate. He wasn’t able to get his usual level of separation or blow up huge plays after the catch, but it was a much better outing on the whole than his play against the Vikings.
Stock Down: Matt Prater, K
Things you don't usually hear, if it weren't for Matt Prater the Lions would be ahead right now.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) December 3, 2017
Wow, what a day from Matt Prater. One of the best kickers in the NFL facing off against the very best in Matt Prater vs. Justin Tucker. Prater shrank in Baltimore, however, missing what is normally a gimme kick for him inside of 50 yards and later missing an easy extra point. In what could be his worst game in a Lions uniform, Prater is not walking away from this one very happy.
Nick Bellore, LB/FB - Gotta give a guy credit when he notches his first touchdown.
Quandre Diggs, CB - It started out poorly for Diggs, but he came on much better after the first quarter and played well the whole game.
Eric Ebron, TE - Ebron caught all four of his targets today and three of them were for first downs. He was one of the only bright spots in the first half.
Kenny Golladay, WR - Kenny Golladay is one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL, a big play waiting to happen. A shame he was only utilized a small amount in this one.
Michael Roberts, TE - Having not caught a pass since Week 4, it was nice to see Roberts create separation by boxing out a defender and catching a beauty near the goal line.
Matthew Stafford, QB - The slow start was brutal, as was the crushing interception on the play he was hurt. But with the team down and needing a rally, Stafford completed 20 straight passes to start the second half.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE - Ansah was injured twice in this game, but considering it was rare you noticed him when he was playing I’m not sure that was the biggest issue.
Jarrad Davis, LB - Davis has been losing play time on passing downs and this was another game you can turn on and figure out why.
Graham Glasgow, OC - It’s been talked about before how Glasgow’s odd snapping motion may cause problems, and we saw why in this one, with a fumbled snap.
TJ Jones, WR - Jones was completely blanked on the stat sheet for offense today and did little to state his case as a returner either.
Miles Killebrew, SS - The linebackers and safeties struggled to contain any facet of the Ravens offense. I can’t point to specific plays for Killebrew where he struggled, but the same is true of where he won so I’m landing him here for results.
T.J. Lang, OG - Not a great game for Lang, who has been very good for much of the year up until the past two games.
Sam Martin, P - A fantastic punt earlier in the game is always nice to see, but a squib kick in the fourth while trailing, even if it was a called one, is bad.
Brian Mihalik, OT - Mihalik came in for the injured Rick Wagner, whose loss was noticeable with Mihalik’s play.
Glover Quin, FS - How rare is it that we can look at a game of Glover Quin and not only say it wasn’t his best, but that it was a bad game? This was.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB - JRM has seen increased playing time and was one of the few bright spots earlier in the game. The rest of the game, like the other LBs, was ugly.
Theo Riddick, RB - There were bright spots with his rushing TD and a couple vintage Riddick passes, but with his chance to seize the backfield from Abdullah, Riddick flubbed it.
Christian Ringo, DT - Poor guy. Finally gets his shot and gets hurt almost immediately.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT - I’ve talked before about how Robinson is a fine run defender but not a great pass rusher, and while it’s normally fine we saw in this game how limiting that can be if nobody else steps up.
Jake Rudock, QB - His first time on this list since the preseason, really, Rudock threw his first touchdown pass as a pro! Unfortunately it was to the Ravens and his laughably weak arm strength was on full display.
Darius Slay, CB - Slay has been playing on an all pro level for weeks, but this is not one that will get noticed in a positive way.
Teez Tabor, CB - Lining up in the slot, Tabor gave up what would have been an easy completion to Jeremy Maclin. If not for Quandre Diggs being there to save him, it could have been a big play.
Rick Wagner, OT - Hate to see any starter hurt, and the ankle injury he sustained in this one may have ended his season.
Dwayne Washington, RB - Washington didn’t even play in this one, despite practicing all week. He looks to have been demoted to fifth on the depth chart.
Tahir Whitehead, LB - There were a couple of bright spots, but the LB corps was terrible in this game and he was at the fore.
Paul Worrilow, LB - An inexcusable late hit penalty might have been the worst play of Worrilow’s career, which has been littered with bad plays.
Zach Zenner, RB - Zenner’s pass pro was fine and he actually (somehow) led the team on returns, but Tion Green’s play may have taken away his chance of getting touches.
Jim Caldwell, Head Coach: Stock Down
The Lions went into the week determined not to have another slow start, and yet the team was down 20-0 entering the half. Bad play calling decisions on both sides of the ball were only the start of Caldwell’s poor day as his strength of being able to hold the team together once adversity kicks in was duly strained. He lost the team completely going into the half, but was able to gather up a short lived rally in the second half. Once the team started to struggle again, Caldwell was unable to keep it together and the team completely collapsed, playing like the game was over long before it was.
Jim Bob Cooter, Offensive Coordinator: Stock Up
Though there were no points in the first half, it wasn’t as much of a poorly called game as it was just poor execution. Drops and penalties torpedoed several good plays and for once Cooter was able to get the ball moving on the ground at times. There were several boneheaded moments, such as lining up in the pistol with Theo Riddick on third-and-1 (a sure run almost every time) and failing to convert, but it was generally a good game for the embattled offensive coordinator. Not a perfect one, but better than many of the other horror shows we’ve seen.
Teryl Austin, Defensive Coordinator: Stock Down
This was a terrible game plan from Teryl Austin who came in completely unprepared to play one of the worst offenses in football. He made Joe Flacco look like Joe Montana and allowed more than double their usual points output. He was caught completely flat-footed more than once, and while his team wasn’t executing very well, it was the horrid preparation that deserves a large share of the blame in this one.
Joe Marciano, Special Teams Coordinator: Stock Down
It isn’t often we’re looking at Joe Marciano and wondering what the hell he was thinking. While he can’t be held to task for the missed field goal and extra point, those were basic plays that were simply not executed by his generally reliable kicker, the decision to go for an odd squib kick in the fourth quarter made absolutely no sense and is one of those play calls that make you question why a dude has his job in the first place. Obviously his previous work more than makes up for one terrible call, but this isn’t a game to look back fondly upon by this unit as a whole.