Whenever a game goes so well or so poorly that it’s difficult to find a seemingly unslanted angle for articles like this, we usually simply find something else to write about. After all, a stock report by design is meant to look at the good and the bad of a week in the NFL. Sometimes we like to take a step back and just lay it on as thick as it is. It’s like opening a Tupperware that has been sitting in the back of your fridge for three months just to see what it smells like. Spoiler alert, though most of you who watched this week’s match up between the Lions and Vikings are already aware, it isn’t good.
Stock Down: David Blough, QB
When David Blough was slated to start against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving, very few were expecting him to even last the day. Instead, he went toe to toe against one of the better defenses in the NFL and didn’t look nearly as out of place as most would have guessed. Mike Zimmer and his Vikings did not make it easy on him, as they rarely make it easy even for experienced quarterbacks, but David Blough seemed to go out of his way to make unforced errors throughout the game.
Danielle Hunter is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, but running right toward him on third down or being completely oblivious to his presence after five seconds in the pocket is taking those difficulty sliders all the way down, and that’s not great.
Stock Up: Frank Ragnow, OC
One player I was happy to see play in this one was center Frank Ragnow. Though it didn’t show up on the stat sheet, Ragnow was having a good day blocking up front and if the team starts finding a little more success, I think he’s going to be slated for a Pro Bowl sooner than later. It’s a bit disheartening to see such a good performance essentially wasted by such poor QB play, but it’s a positive sign for his development and the team’s fortunes in general to see him playing well.
Stock Down: Jahlani Tavai, LB
Jahlani Tavai's less-than-intelligent method for stopping Dalvin Cook (by lowering his helmet, not tackling), gets the Vikings down inside the 10 yard line. So instead of potentially holding the Vikings to a field goal, that penalty made way for Bisi Johnson's 9 yard TD.— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) December 8, 2019
Tavai has been the Lions’ best linebacker in 2019. I wish that were more of a positive statement than it is, as it’s more a statement about how bad the unit has been as a whole. But it’s a credit to the 2019 second-round pick that he has rarely looked out of place. He hasn’t looked like a future pro bowler or anything like that, but he’s looked good in most roles and hasn’t had many bad days.
Set up done, this was very much a bad game for the rookie. When he wasn’t getting swallowed up by play action, he was missing Dalvin Cook. When Jarrad Davis went down with an injury, we got to see him try to step up and we were rewarded with an egregious “leading with the helmet” penalty (a later one would be questionable, but wasn’t even on Tavai though it was called on him) and a terrible play in coverage that would have made Tahir Whitehead, Jarrad Davis, and Christian Jones ‘proud.’ He also got very lucky a late hit on Kyle Rudolph went uncalled, despite a flag happy officiating crew. He would later take out his own teammate, Tracy Walker, with a friendly fire tackle.
Stock Up: Tavon Wilson, SS
Kirk Cousins just threw a dropped pick. Tavon Wilson should've caught that.— Omar Hersi (@HerciMerci) December 8, 2019
One of the few players on this team who kept fighting through the whole game despite it never looking like they stood a chance, was Tavon Wilson. He did have a few rough moments worth noting. Still, the positives far outweighed the negatives in this one. Primarily in run support, Wilson was flying all over the field and was generally sure handed as a tackler. He was a difficult player to follow and was deployed in a number of ways from Paul Pasqualoni to great effect.
Stock Down: Rick Wagner, OT and Tyrell Crosby, OT
Staring down Danielle Hunter every play is not an admirable assignment. Still, we don’t let guys off the hook just for having a hard job that day. Rick Wagner got smoked by Danielle Hunter all day until he went down with another injury. By that point, he had allowed two of three sacks to Danielle Hunter, though as mentioned, some of that blame went to David Blough at QB.
This paved the way for Tyrell Crosby, who was similarly cooked by the time the game ended. Crosby’s play in extended action this season has been even more disappointing, as it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Rick Wagner was going to be cut during the offseason. With Crosby also playing very poorly, the team is left with no backup options if they’re unable to draft a new RT or pick one up in free agency.
Stock Down: Trey Flowers, DE
Trey Flowers has had a pretty good run since midseason and faced an easier assignment in former Detroit Lions starting left tackle Riley Reiff. Rather than feasting, he got eaten up all day and failed to make an impact at any point in the game. I gotta tell you, there were several players worthy of the dubious ‘honor’ of being the final stock down write up here, and I struggled picking between Flowers, Kennard (who ended up dropping as a linebacker far more than he ever should have been), Darius Slay, Paul Pasqualoni, and others. It would be unfair to give Flowers a pass in this one, though, as he was anything but a top tier pass rusher against the Vikings. Until the game was far out of reach, Flowers couldn’t get a finger on Kirk Cousins.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT: Robinson is playing for a contract and the lost season hasn’t dampened his attempts at getting a big pay day.
Tracy Walker, FS: Until he got taken out by his own player, Walker was making up for an incredible volume of mistakes made by those in front of him.
Amani Oruwariye, CB: Oruwariye has had a strong couple of weeks when he finally got playing time, but he was picked on often in this one and rarely won his match ups.
Bo Scarbrough, RB: Scarbrough has made missed tackles his currency, but he squandered a strong start to the game and fizzled down the stretch.
Ty Johnson, RB: I remember a time when Johnson’s speed was thought of as a possible weapon for this offense, but he has yet to show that early season promise again.
Kenny Golladay, WR: Sure, it’s mostly his quarterback, but a great wide receiver makes plays and finds ways to get open to help a struggling passer. Kept the loss to ‘only’ two scores at least.
Marvin Jones, WR: Same as above.
Danny Amendola, WR: Also the same as above; also drops.
Jesse James, TE: I know we said he’d flatlined, but with T.J. Hockenson out it’s even more disheartening to see how bad James has been as a free agent signing. It wasn’t until the team was down by three scores that he had any positive impact.
Isaac Nauta, TE: With Hockenson on IR, there’s an opportunity to step up for any of the guys on this roster. None have.
Logan Thomas, TE: Thomas has the most versatility as a pass catcher of the remaining tight ends due to his athleticism, but he’s failed to take advantage of numerous opportunities.
Taylor Decker, OT: Decker didn’t have as bad of a start to the game as the other side of the line, but like the terrible sack he gave up in the 4th quarter it appears he was just late. It’s rare a tackle ends up blocking nobody at all without a stunt.
Darius Slay, CB: Slay had a rough go against Stefon Diggs. He didn’t lose every match up, but he lost more than he won and in big moments such as the end of the first half.
Justin Coleman, CB: Coleman hasn’t had a good game in weeks and that doesn’t seem to have changed this week.
Will Harris, SS: Will Harris had Laquon Treadwell dead to rights with a tackle after a long catch. Then he let him spin free and get more yardage.
Matt Prater, K: No, I’m not letting him off the hook for that miss. It was all him, too, just hooked it.
Matt Patricia, Head Coach: Stock Down
The lack of urgency in games this season has been a problem, but it was absolutely stifling in this game. The team seemed to be trying to run the clock out from the first quarter to the fourth. It’s almost as if they’re already done with the season and just want it to end. It’s the first time I’ve gotten that impression all year, as they’ve been competitive every other week from start to finish, but man they were shades of 2018 boring in this one.
Paul Pasqualoni, Vikings Points Custodian: Stock Up
Pasqualoni was fantastic in this game. He expertly fashioned a defensive scheme that allowed the Vikings to march down the field with a short amount of time left in the first half to put another touchdown on the board. Most opposing defensive coordinators would tighten up in such a situation, but not Pasqualoni, he’s dedicated to putting points on the board for his opponents.
Darrell Bevell, Offensive Coordinator: Stock Down
For 12 previous games, it seemed like Darrell Bevell had a game plan for the first two drives and then struggled to adjust after that, regardless of opponent. He turned that on its head against the Vikings, where he didn’t even scheme a single drive until the fourth quarter. Even when given gifts of long yardage due to penalties by the most flag happy officiating crew in the NFL, Bevell couldn’t put points up. It was shocking they managed to avoid a shut out.
John Bonamego, Special Teams Coordinator: Stock Up
The only coordinator who seems to be more or less consistently good or bad, Bonamego has kept his unit chugging in each phase of teams and is the only coordinator I’m actually happy to see return in 2020.