The Detroit Lions arguably put together their best performance of the season in Week 7 with a big, decisive road victory over the Miami Dolphins. We’ve already voted on the Player of the Game, but who did Pro Football Focus think played particularly well? Here are their top five performances on both sides of the ball:
Top 5 Graded Lions Offensive Players in Week 7 (min 10 snaps):— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) October 22, 2018
1. QB - Matthew Stafford, 93.6
2. TE - Michael Roberts, 91.6
3. RB - Kerryon Johnson, 83.9
4. WR - Kenny Golladay, 74.9
5. G - TJ Lang, 65.0#onepride
Matthew Stafford was nearly perfect, and his performance landed him on the PFF Week 7 “Team of the Week.” Not only was Stafford’s 93.6 grade the best of any quarterback this week, according to PFF’s Matt Stopsky, it was his highest grade ever.
“Although Stafford is known for his strong arm, it was his short passing game efficiency that led to the highest grade of his career,” Stopsky wrote. “On passes between one and nine yards, he was 10/11 for 90 yards and a touchdown. His lone incompletion was a dropped pass.”
It’s not surprising to see both Michael Roberts and Kerryon Johnson near the top, as both had career games against the Dolphins. What is a bit surprising, however, is the big drop off in grades before hitting some of the offensive line players. On a day in which the Lions created some massive holes and kept Stafford relatively clean, it’s pretty surprising to see only T.J. Lang with a grade 65.0 or better.
Jarrad Davis, A'Shawn Robinson and Da'Shawn Hand all had standout performances in the Lions win over the Dolphins. pic.twitter.com/upW5bRHO3z— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 22, 2018
We are truly living in bizarro world right now. The Lions have a running game on offense, and their front seven—specifically the interior of their defensive line—showed up to play against the Dolphins. Da’Shawn Hand continued his magical rookie year in Week 7, ranking among the Lions’ top defenders for the fourth time in the past five games.
A’Shawn Robinson is also rebounding nicely after being a healthy scratch to open up the season. Combined with Hand, the two were almost unstoppable. “The two of them combined for 13 pressures and both of them ranked in the top three in Pass-Rush grade among defensive interior linemen with at least 10 snaps last week,” according to Stopsky.
But perhaps the biggest story here is the rise of linebacker Jarrad Davis. No player had been more disappointing than Davis over the past season and a half, and fans were just looking for any signs of optimism from the Lions’ former first-round pick.
Well, they got it this week. Davis made PFF’s Week 7 “Team of the Week,” and it was well deserved. Davis was excellent in pass coverage, allowing five catches, but for just a total of 17 yards. Per PFF, his coverage grade was fourth-best on the day among linebackers with at least 10 coverage snaps.
Davis has also shown up consistently as a solid pass rusher. He was credited with a sack on Sunday, and also led the team with seven tackles (one for a loss). Per PFF, Davis blitzed 13 times against the Dolphins and accounted for three hurries.
It’s pretty stunning to see such a dramatic turnaround with the Lions’ front seven in just one week, but that’s exactly what you want to see coming out of the bye week. Now, if the secondary can get back on track, the Lions defense could actually turn into something formidable.