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Detroit Lions Week 12 PFF grades: Mike Ford impresses in 2nd career start

The Lions’ rookie cornerback is showing more potential than any other young corner in Detroit.

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions were able to hang with the Chicago Bears for almost all of Thanksgiving. In fact, they were in a very good position to win the game with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Despite it all falling apart from there, the Lions put up a good team performance and had a few individual standouts.

Here are the top five graded players on offense and defense according to Pro Football Focus.

Offense

On a day in which the Lions were able to run the ball effective against one of the best—if not the best—run defenses, it should come as little surprise that three offensive linemen cracked Detroit’s top five grades on offense. Frank Ragnow has had an up-and-down rookie season, but this was one of his better performances of the year.

Of course, the standout performer of the day was running back LeGarrette Blount, who came into Thursday’s game averaging less than 1.0 yards per carry in his past four games. Blount was phenomenal against the Bears, especially after first contact.

Per PFF’s Brett Whitefield:

He came into Thanksgiving Day with 142 yards after contact and just 1.82 yards after contact per attempt but earned over half of that (77) in Week 12 alone, with 66 of those yards coming behind the left side of the offensive line.

The biggest storyline out of Thursday, however, was Matthew Stafford’s late-game mistakes that ended up making the difference. Per Pro Football Focus, Stafford earned just a 61.7 grade when faced with no pressure, well below his 82.3 season average.

Defense

For the first time since joining the team, Damon Harrison Sr. was not among the top five graded players on the Lions’ defense. The Lions’ run defense remained incredibly stout, thanks to solid play from the rest of the defensive line. Ezekiel Ansah, Da’Shawn Hand and Devon Kennard all continued their decent seasons.

The Lions run defense was also bolstered by the play of Quandre Diggs. According to Whitefield, Diggs played 21 snaps in the box and 29 as a free safety. That’s the kind of versatility that makes him so valuable, and the safety notched stops both in run defense and pass defense.

Perhaps the most promising sign of progress is the play of undrafted rookie corner Mike Ford. Matched up mostly against Taylor Gabriel, Ford earned a 69.9 coverage grade, which was best among all Lions defenders. As pointed out by our own Mansur Shaheen, Ford was far from perfect on Sunday, but for someone in his second career game, it was an impressive performance.