By Chris Morgan
Failure. That is really the only way to describe the Detroit Lions performance Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Lions were at home against a 2-8 team. The Bucs were starting rookie Mike Glennon under center and Bobby Rainey at running back. However, Detroit played terribly, and ended up losing 24-21. In theory, they still have playoff hopes, but those are likely a pipe dream. There will not be a lot of positive grades handed out for the Lions after this one, and nor should there be.
Quarterback Grade: D- (The Gentleman’s F)
If you are looking for the pinnacle of Detroit’s ineptitude Sunday, look no further than Matthew Stafford. Stafford went 26-for-46 for 297 yards, three touchdowns, and, most notably, four interceptions. One of those interceptions was returned for a touchdown by the Bucs. Another of those interceptions came late, and sealed the game for Tampa Bay. Those three touchdowns are the only thing keeping this game from being a total disaster for him. Stafford is having a good season, but this game, and this loss, could come back to haunt them.
Offense Grade: D+
Stafford’s performance was a big part of the offensive woes for Detroit. However, he didn’t get to have all the fun. The Lions also fumbled three times, with Kris Durham losing a fumble.
Reggie Bush did have a decent game, totaling 100 yards rushing and receiving. Calvin Johnson had seven catches for 115 yards. Nate Burleson, in his return from a broken arm, had seven receptions for 77 yards and a score. Still, only 21 points were scored against Tampa. Compare that to five turnovers. The outcome is not good.
Special Teams Grade: C
David Akers didn’t attempt a field goal, but went 3-for-3 on extra points. The return game was mediocre. Sam Martin had a few good punts. However, the Lions also had a punt blocked, which is bad. Also, Detroit gave up a couple of big kick returns. You can’t really look at this special teams performance and be anything other than disappointed.
Defense Grade: B-
If there was one area of the game where the Lions weren’t terrible, it was on defense. Oh, they weren’t good, but they weren’t terrible. The team let up 24 points, but that includes that pick six for the Buccaneers. However, Tampa also missed two field goals, which helped limit their scoring. The Lions didn’t let up anything on the ground, but they struggled against the pass. Mike Glennon and Tiquan Underwood should not be connecting for two touchdowns, and one of them was an 85-yard score for the game-winning touchdown. The team did have four sacks and seven tackles for loss, including two of each from Ziggy Ansah. It wasn’t a bad performance, but it was definitely lackluster, given the opposition.
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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. .