By Chris Morgan
The Lions had a huge chance to score a big win over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. They came close. They kept the Ravens out of the end zone, but their kicker Justin Tucker kept converting. Detroit found themselves up 16-15 with Tucker lining up for a 61-yard field goal. He converted it, and the Lions ended up taking a tough loss that pretty much knocks them out of the postseason. Here are some grades to be doled out to Detroit after this particularly painful defeat.
Quarterback: Straight up, Matthew Stafford has been a problem this season. He got his new big contract extension, but all he seems to do is turn the ball over these days. In this game, Stafford only went 18-for-34 for 235 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. One of the picks wasn’t his fault, but two of them were ugly, ugly throws. One of the interceptions ended the game. He also made a bad throw on the two-point conversion that would have made it 18-15. This kind of thing cannot be abided any longer. Stafford is an issue for this team. Stafford was largely responsible for this loss for the Lions. Grade: D-, the gentlemen’s F
Offense: Reggie Bush had a good game, rushing 17 times for 86 yards and a touchdown, while adding 15 yards receiving. Calvin Johnson had six catches for 98 yards, but he also had two awful drops that really hurt this team. Joseph Fauria made a nice catch on the touchdown from Stafford. The Ravens have a pretty good defense, but they are nothing special, and the Lions were at home in a dome, so noise and weather was not an issue. The Lions only managed 16 points. That simply won’t do. Grade: C-
Special Teams: Nothing really to report here. David Akers made his kicks. Sam Martin punted well. Jeremy Ross was fine on his returns. It was a decent enough performance. It was Baltimore’s special teams that stole the show. Grade: B
Defense: Detroit’s defense can’t really be blamed for this one. After all, the Ravens were held to six field goal attempts. They just managed to make them all. Two of them were over 50 yards, and a third was a 49-yarder. The Lions made Tucker make long kicks. He just happened to do so. Admittedly, they also didn’t create any turnovers, and they only got one sack. They did strip Joe Flacco once, however. On the other hand, they took a few bad penalties, and had a couple other poor calls go against them. Detroit’s defense bent, but did not break. If only they had been just a bit less flexible, this could have been a Lions win. Grade: B
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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. .