By Chris Morgan
Any pregame predictions as to the outcome of the game between the NFC North leading Detroit Lions and the NFC East leading Philadelphia Eagles went out the window when fans took a look at the snow-covered field at kickoff. It snowed heavily for the duration of the game, leaving Lincoln Financial Field a white mess. Naturally, this led to some sloppy football, but while Philly eventually gained their bearings, the Lions never did, and they blew a 14-point lead and eventually ended up losing 34-20. It was a tough loss for the Lions, who put up arguably their ugliest performance of the year, even if the weather was a bit of an excuse.
Quarterback Grade: D+
Matthew Stafford is going to want to forget this game. The weather seemed to really, really hold him back. Stafford was held to a mere 10-for-25 for 148 yards by the Eagles. Even worse, he fumbled a whopping five times, losing one of the fumbles. Even given the circumstances, Stafford’s performance was bad. It is just that the weather made it worse. You can never excuse five fumbles, many of them botched snaps. Stafford has performed all over the map this season, and this is one of his negative outings.
Offense Grade: D
The overall offense was not really any better than Stafford. Reggie Bush hurt his knee in pregame warm ups and was held out. Only Joique Bell did anything of note. He rushed 23 times for 69 yards and a touchdown and caught the two-point conversion pass from Stafford afterward. He also had four receptions for 58 yards. However, he also fumbled twice, losing both fumbles. They were deep in Philly territory as well, potentially taking points off the board. Overall, the Lions scored one offensive touchdown, only had 228 yards, and lost three fumbles. Only the weather excuse kept them from receiving and “F” on Sunday.
Special Teams Grade: A-
The special teams was the only unit for the Lions to have any success. Yes, David Akers missed an extra point, the only kick attempted by either team, however, the weather was the obvious reason for that miss. Sam Martin had a solid game punting the ball in the snow. Also, Jeremy Ross returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown. The Lions had not had a punt returned for a score since 2004. Two kick returns in one game, in any weather, is very impressive. If not for that one missed kick, they would have gotten an “A.”
Defense Grade: D+
Early on, Detroit’s defense was looking fine. The Eagles were held scoreless until late in the second quarter. However, in the second half, suddenly the Eagles were driving all over them, led by powerhouse running back LeSean McCoy. The Eagles ended up putting up 34 points and 478 yards, in a blizzard! The Lions did pick off Nick Foles, the first interception he’s had all season, but that is but small solace on a disappointing day all around.
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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. .