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PFF grades: Detroit Lions offensive line, running backs earn praise vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Detroit’s run game got some love from the people giving out grades at Pro Football Focus.

Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Earlier on Tuesday, we reviewed some of the Pro Football Focus’ grades and stats from the Detroit Lions’ defense in their preseason finale versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. After scoring just nine total points, let’s sift through what PFF thought of the Lions performance on the offensive side of the ball.

If you’d like to see all of the stats and grades from Pro Football Focus, here’s the link to get you there—but you will need to sign up for a premium subscription.

90.6 run block grade

Lions center Frank Ragnow is the lynchpin of this offensive line—and the staff here at Pride of Detroit has agreed on that for the past couple of seasons by ranking him as the best player on the roster. On Sunday, Ragnow was a force in the run game, posting the best run block grade (90.6) for Detroit according to PFF and paving the way for Lions runners to put together some impressive tape ahead of roster cuts.

He also did this:

87.5 pass block grade

Holding down the left side of the line has been Taylor Decker’s job for some time and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as he heads into his seventh season in Detroit. The tandem of Tim Boyle—who was recently waived—and David Blough didn’t make the most of their opportunities on Sunday, but it wasn’t for a lack of time in the pocket while the starters were in—a product of Decker’s stellar pass protection where he didn’t allow a single pressure against a fierce Pittsburgh defensive front.

1 quarterback pressure

The Lions offensive line has certainly received a lot of hype heading into this season, and after they marched down the field for a touchdown on their first —and only—series of the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons, the flames were effectively stoked.

Detroit faced a tougher task on Sunday when they faced the likes of T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward, but they were up to the challenge. Halapoulivaati Vaitai was the only starter along Detroit’s offensive line who allowed a quarterback pressure, but he also had the highest overall offense grade for the Lions (81.8).

4.13 yards after contact per attempt (YCO/A)

The competition at running back took to the stage for an encore against the Steelers after a stellar performance a week ago against the Colts when the group averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Against the Steelers, the Lions running backs averaged a healthy 4.9 yards per carry, but was once again paced by another stellar performance by Justin Jackson.

Jackson averaged 5.5 yards per carry against Pittsburgh on Sunday, but what might be more impressive is the way he fought for yards after contact. Jackson averaged 4.13 yards after contact per attempt, an impressive clip for a guy who is fighting for a roster spot. Jackson had two runs over 10 yards, two missed tackles forced after rush, but only earned an overall offense grade of 68.2.

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