Detroit Lions Week 4 Report Card: offense shines bright, defense falls flat

Detroit Lions: Week 4 Report Card is good and bad. The Lions fell to the Seattle Seahawks 48-45. Here's how they graded out.

The Detroit Lions fell to the Seattle Seahawks 48-45 in a high scoring affair. Both offenses looked unstoppable the entire game, and unfortunately the Lions' offense fell just short. The offense was fueled by TJ Hockenson, Josh Reynolds, and Jamaal Williams who all stepped up big time to fill in for injured players. Defensively, as the score indicates, nothing went well. Geno Smith looked like Patrick Mahomes, and Rashaad Penny found a lot of opening running room whenever the Seahawks needed it. In our Detroit Lions Week 4 Report Card, here's how the position groups graded out in the loss.

How did the Detroit Lions grade out in the week 4 Report Card?

Detroit Lions Offense: A-

Quarterback: A-

Once again, Jared Goff proved the doubters wrong (myself included). Despite missing his top targets, Goff engineered scoring drive after scoring drive. For most of the game, Tom Kennedy was his wide receiver 2, and he still managed to pass for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns. Goff made some big time throws and kept the Lions in the game. However, Goff's game was not perfect. At the start of the second half, he threw a costly pick-six after TJ Hockenson was undercut on a crosser. Also, Goff could have thrown at least one more interception where he stared down a receiver, and it was dropped. Despite those blemishes, a good day of work for Goff without his top two options.

Running back: B+

Jamaal Williams stepped in without D'Andre Swift  and had a solid day running the ball. He even added another 50+ yard run with a 51-yard touchdown scamper with a nasty stiff arm. In addition, he punched it in from one-yard out on a big 4th and goal. This year, Williams has shown, he is a great compliment for Swift with his effectiveness in short yardage situations, and his ability to spot start. However, Williams is much better as a 1B verse a 1A. He is not a major threat as a receiver and had two drops on 3 of his targets. Surprisingly, the Lions mainly did not utilize Craig Reynolds or Justin Jackson more in the pass game.  Also, without his 51-yard run, his yards per carry drops to 3.17 from 5.7. Even with the warts, Williams stepped up and kept the offense rolling.

Wide Receivers: B

The Lions entered the game without two of their top targets, Amon-Ra St Brown and DJ Chark, and during the game, Kalif Raymond and Quintez Cephus exited as well. So, the Lions were left to rely on Tom Kennedy and Josh Reynolds as their main outside threats. Given those circumstances, a solid performance by the group. Reynolds did what his thing. He was a reliable target for Goff and used his strong hands to snag a touchdown pass. After his practice squad elevation, Kennedy played pretty well and grabbed a huge 4th down conversion. There was some miscommunication on one corner route, but that can be expected when they haven't had time to build rapport. Outside of a Raymond fumble, the receivers did their job under tough circumstances.

Tight End: A+

After a quiet start to the year, TJ Hockenson broke out with a monster game. He showed off all the skills that made him a Pro Bowl tight end. He beat the Seahawks over the top for big plays. In the intermediate game, he did a great job moving the sticks and was able to break one for a 81 yard run after catch. It was a complete game for him receiving which led to a monster statline of 179 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the run game, Hockenson was great as well. He had a key block on the long touchdown run and did not miss any assignments. A fantastic game all around for Hockenson proving why he will get paid this offseason and how he can be a gamechanger for the Lions' offense.

Offensive Line: B+

The Lions offensive line had the same starting line as last week with Evan Brown and Dan Skipper starting at guard. Again, the offensive line played well. They perfectly blocked Jamaal Williams touchdown run leaving him just one defender to beat. It was not their best run blocking game, but still another solid performance. In the pass game, they did a great job keeping Jared Goff upright, only giving up one sack. The one fault of the line were penalties. They were called for two holdings and one false start. The offensive line continued to be a dependable force the Lions can rely on.

Detroit Lions Defense: F

Defensive Line: F

Once again, the defensive line failed to disrupt the Seahawks offense. They were completely ineffective whenever rushing 4 failing to get any sort of penetration. The only  player who got any pass rush was Charles Harris who drew a hold and forced an intentional grounding. That simply was not enough and handicapped the rest of the defense. The Lions were forced to blitz incredibly often to generate some sort of pass rush. Once they blitzed, that left the back 7 of their defense vulnerable to big plays in both the air and ground. To turn around the historically bad defense, the Lions need more players to step up and make plays. The Lions have spent substantial resources on the front 4, and the high end draft picks need to step up to help the entire defense.

Linebackers: D

A really rough game for Alex Anzalone. He missed a couple tackles on Seahawks runners in the hole leading to big gains, and they picked on him repeatedly in the pass game. Geno Smith hit multiple short passes on Anzalone that turned into big gains as he failed to make the tackle. Chris Board was not much better as he missed multiple tackles as well.

The only somewhat saving grace was Malcolm Rodriguez. He started off the game with a forced fumble on special teams and had a great play blowing up a screen pass. All in all, Rodriguez grabbed 11 tackles with a nice QB hit too. Rodriguez was a small bright spot for a horrible defense, but he is not good enough to elevate a putrid performance from his teammates. The Lions have to hope Derrick Barnes develops quickly because Anzalone cannot cut it as a starting ‘backer in today's league.

Secondary: F

For the second week in a row, the opponent targeted Amani Oruwariye with tremendous success. Tyler Lockett burned him a few times for big gains. On top of that, he stunk as a tackler failing to bring down ball carriers multiple times in the open field. A really bad stretch of games for Oruwariye, and he needs to look over his shoulder once Jerry Jacobs returns. On the other side, Jeff Okudah played okay. He did give up a few plays to DK Metcalf. He stayed tough after that and made tackles and had a nice break up on a crosser.

Without Tracy Walker, the middle of the secondary struggled. Mike Hughes was also torched a couple times and really hasn't shown much to this point of the year. Kerby Joseph got his first defensive action as the starting safety with DeShon Elliot. It did not go well for either. Joseph gave up the first touchdown pass; he was in good position, but just didn't make a play on the ball. Later on, there was miscommunication on a pick play between the safeties resulting in another touchdown. Joseph did do a good job tackling and should get better with more seasoning. For everyone else, it was an incredibly forgettable performance, and everyone's job should be on the line going to next week.

Detroit Lions Special Teams: C-

A very mixed bag day for special teams. Dominik Eberle filled in for injured Austin Seibert, and it seems like it may be his last time doing that. He made a 49 yard field goal, but missed two extra points and had a kickoff go out of bounds. The punt team did shine. On the first punt, they forced a fumble and recovered. On the next one, Jack Fox showed off his arm hitting Quintez Cephus for a first down. At this point, the Lions need to figure out their kicking issues as they easily could have lost this game due to the missed kicks. The Lions look like they will give Seibert another chance, but they should bring in a new practice squad kicker to compete for the job.

Coaching: D+

This one was a tough one to grade. On one hand, Ben Johnson might just be a wizard. The Lions were missing the lifeblood of their offense, and it really did not matter. The Lions offense could be unstoppable when fully healthy with Johnson's creative playcalling. On the other hand, the Seahawks carved through the defense like a hot knife through butter. Aaron Glenn's aggressive defense was exposed all game. His predictable playcalling often put the Lions defenders at a disadvantage in the play. The Hawks did not even do anything that creative; they were patient and took the easy gains the Lions gave them. Glenn needs to shake things up big time before next week. Otherwise, the Lions defense will continue to be historically bad.

Final Thoughts

Simply, this game is all on the defense and defensive coaching. They did not force a single punt all game, and their only stop was due to missed field goal. For next week, everything needs to be on the table for adjustments. Every position should be up for grabs as not a single player deserves a guaranteed spot. On the coaching side, they need to start from square one. The Lions have been incredibly blitz happy and aggressive due to a lack of pass rush, but they have to tone it down. They need to have Aidan Hutchinson, Charles Harris, or Julian Okwara step up, or they need to get creative with stunts, twists, or zone blitzes to try and get pressure without sacrificing coverage. With such a great offense, this season is not over yet, but the Lions need the defense to do something.