That being said, there were plenty of individual performances on Detroit’s side that were promising, and Pro Football Focus shared the top five on each side of the ball. Here are the Lions’ top graded players on offense and defense from Sunday.
The Lions offense featured some huge performances despite their loss yesterday. pic.twitter.com/c5WT5YTNix— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 1, 2018
We didn’t need PFF to give us a grade to let us know that Golden Tate was the most valuable offensive player on Sunday. The eight catches (on eight targets) for 132 yards and two touchdowns made that pretty darn clear. Tate earned PFF’s highest grade of all Week 4 receivers, landing him on their Team of the Week.
It’s also not surprising to see Matthew Stafford with such a high number. He completed 80 percent of his passes for a whopping 10.2 yards per attempt. His 90.2 PFF grade was second among all NFL quarterbacks Sunday, trailing only... [CHICAGO BEARS QUARTERBACK NAME REDACTED FOR SANITY’S SAKE].
Kerryon Johnson apparently had a solid game, despite little production outside of two carries, adding fuel to the GIVE KERRYON MORE CARRIES fire. Rick Wagner continues to be quietly solid, and Kenny Golladay is definitely in the middle of a breakout season.
Top 5 Graded Lions Defensive Players in Week 4: (min 10 snaps)— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) October 1, 2018
1. CB - Darius Slay, 84.1
2. CB - Nevin Lawson, 79.0
3. S - Glover Quin, 78.7
4. DI - Da'Shawn Hand, 77.6
5. LB - Jalen Reeves-Maybin, 75.0#OnePride
It took Dak Prescott a little time to realize that throwing to Darius Slay was a bad idea, but he finally learned. Slay was only targeted six times all game, forcing four incompletions and getting his hands on three passes, and the two completions Dallas managed went for just 20 yards total.
More surprising is seeing two other defensive backs this high on the list. Glover Quin seems to have found his footing in the past two games, despite a really slow start to the year. And while Nevin Lawson always seems to get higher grades than he deserves, the maligned Lions cornerback did find himself in good positions to make plays against the Cowboys. He also nearly had his first-career interception thanks to a savvy play.
I’ve already gushed a little about Da’Shawn Hand on Tuesday morning, but let’s do it a little more. You may remember that through three weeks, Hand was the highest graded rookie interior defender with an overall grade of 78.4. Though his Sunday grade was slightly lower than that average, his overall grade is actually even higher right now—sitting at 81.4, between PFF’s “elite” and “good” rating categories. Against the Cowboys, Hand produced two pressures, including what was almost a game-sealing strip sack. As a result, his 90.8 pass rush ranking was second highest among all interior defenders on Sunday.