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Team Grades: Detroit’s Defense Lags In Loss To Steelers

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By Chris Morgan

Sunday’s game between the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers was built like a sandwich. Alas, it was a sandwich of defeat for the Lions. After falling behind 14-0 after one quarter, the Lions built up a 27-20 lead at halftime. However, the second half was all Steelers, and Pittsburgh got the win 37-27. A couple of key plays may end up getting the majority of the scrutiny, but here is how the Lions looked overall in this disappointing road loss to Pittsburgh in the rain.

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 17 :  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions is sacked by Ziggy Hood #96 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter on November 17, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 37-27.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions is sacked by Ziggy Hood #96 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Credit, Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Quarterback Grade: B- 

From a fantasy football perspective, one would look at Matthew Stafford’s numbers and be quite pleased. After all, he threw for 362 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, and he ran for 24 yards as well. However, Stafford only went 19-for-46 passing, and almost all his yards came in the first half. In the second half, all he really did was throw an interception. The yardage is nice, but Stafford completed less than half of his passes. That cannot be overlooked, especially against a Pittsburgh defense that has not been strong this year.

Offense Grade: B 

Only Calvin Johnson came out looking good in this game. He caught six passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns but, again, that all came in the first half. Joique Bell also had a solid outing. He rushed nine times for 49 yards and a touchdown, and he caught three passes for 48 yards. However, he also got banged up a bit, and at an inconvenient time.

Reggie Bush did not have a good game. Bush only rushed 12 times for 31 yards, and he caught two passes for 23 yards. He also lost a fumble.

The field did not help Bush or anybody. On multiple occasions, you could see Bush lose his footing trying to cut in the rain. No other player did anything of note for the Lions, but the team did score 27 points on the road, which is pretty good, all told.

Special Teams Grade: B 

Special teams performed at their usual proficient level. Sam Martin punted well. Michael Spurlock had a few good kick returns. David Akers went 2-for-2 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points.

The Steelers didn’t do much returning the ball. However, there was one play that will be singled out. On a fourth down, the Lions ran a fake field goal, and Sam Martin fumbled the ball, leaving the Lions with nothing to show for it, and Pittsburgh was able to score on their ensuing drive. Perhaps it is not fair to ask a punter to run the ball and hold onto it, but it was still a big play, and a demerit for Detroit’s special teams.

Defense Grade: C- 

What was more concerning was the fact that after that Martin fumble the Lions defense let the Steelers march all the way down the field for a touchdown. Detroit gave up 37 points to an offense that has had issues this year. The Steelers have a porous offensive line, but the Lions got one measly sack, although they had several tackles for a loss. Detroit got no turnovers. Simply put, this was a day to forget for Detroit’s defense.

For more Lions news and updates, visit Lions Central.

Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .

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