Here we are again after another disappointing Detroit Lions loss. This week, they fell to Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins. The offense got off to a torrid start in the first half scoring on all five of their first drives. Unfortunately, the defense could not get a stop on the other end. The Dolphins' receivers had a field day and did a great job keeping the Lions' offense off the field. The result was the 6th loss in 7 games as the Lions continue to search for answers. Let's see which groups need to figure out and who has it figured out.
How did the Detroit Lions grade out in Week 8?
Detroit Lions Week 8 Report Card: Offense
Good Jared Goff made his return on Sunday. Goff started the game on fire looking accurate and pushing the ball down the field. He looked especially good on play action where he hit Kalif Raymond on a few big plays. Most importantly, Goff took care of the ball. He never put the ball on the ground and did not throw an interception. A really good game by Goff who only gets dinged for missing Josh Reynolds on 4th and 2 and preventing an easy touchdown by slightly underthrowing Raymond when he was wide open. The pass to Raymond was completed for a big gain, but a decent throw would have led to an easy touchdown and no chance for a goalline fumble.
Overall Grade: A-
D'Andre Swift made his long-awaited return after struggling with ankle and shoulder injuries. However, Swift looked like a different player coming off an injury. He looked a little bit slower and was not hitting the holes as he did on his hot start to the year. He did have a nice TD on a “Texas” route where he beat a linebacker in 1 on 1 coverage. Luckily, the Lions have one of the best backups in the league, Jamaal Williams. Williams ran hard and churned out yards against the Dolphins' defense. Williams picked up 53 yards on only 10 carries and added two TDS and 23 receiving yards. Williams is a nice piece, but the Lions need Swift to be healthy to live up to their potential.
Overall Grade: B
Kalif Raymond took advantage of his opportunities to have a really nice game. Raymond had a 43-yard grab that should have been a TD and added two more catches for a 76-yard game. In the slot, Amon-Ra St Brown did a good job underneath grabbing 7 catches for 69 yards, but uncharacteristically, dropped two catchable passes. However, the biggest disappointment was Josh Reynolds. Reynolds dropped a beautiful pass at the end of the first half that cost the Lions 4 points. Also, on the biggest play of the game, Reynolds had a chance on a poorly thrown pass, but could not adjust to pick up the 4th and 2.
Overall Grade: B-
TJ Hockenson led the team with 80 receiving yards. Most of that came on a really nice catch and run for 58. Outside of the big play, this group was quiet. Hockenson grabbed two more passes, and Brock Wright only reeled in one pass for 6 yards. We did get to see some James Mitchell as the rookie reeled in his first pass for a nice game. The big play by Hockenson brings up the grade big time, but the Lions don't have consistent production out of this group.
Overall Grade: B+
The offensive line did a really good keeping the Miami pass rushers at bay. They only gave up one sack and kept Goff clean for the majority of the game. They also did a good job opening up holes for Williams allowing him to be productive. However, the offensive line needs to be better about penalties. One of three second-half drives was completely stalled out by penalties on tackles Taylor Decker and Peneii Sewell. If they get those cleaned up, they can perform like a top 5 unit in the league.
Overall Grade: B+
Offense Overall Grade: A-
Detroit Lions Week 8 Report Card: Defense and Special Teams
Once again, the Lions' front was unable to generate any pressure without blitzing. With such a weak secondary, the Lions need their pass rushers to step up, and they have not outside of the Dallas and Washington games. If Aidan Hutchinson, Charles Harris, and co. can't generate pressure in one-on-ones, the Lions need to stunt or find some other way to generate pressure with only four. They did do a good job against the run, but the pass rush needs to be better to get a good grade.
Overall Grade: D
Malcolm Rodriguez showed some very promising things in week 8. Rodriguez got his first career sack and seven tackles. He even added a pass deflection on top of it. His running mate, Alex Anzalone also had a nice game against the run. Unfortunately, both were not great against the pass. Tua was able to find holes in the middle of the field, which he was able to exploit throughout the game. A really solid game for Rodriguez, but he still has aspects of his game he can improve on.
Overall Grade: C+
A really rough game for the secondary which resulted in Aubrey Pleasant losing his job. A.J. Parker and Amani Oruwariye were absolutely cooked all game by speed demons Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. They did not have the speed to keep up and did not play with enough physicality to slow them down. It was a total beatdown on those two as the pair gave up 203 passing yards (via PFF). On the bright side, Jeff Okudah was only targeted once and continued his stellar tackling. Also, Kerby Joseph did a good job avoiding being picked on and forcing his second fumble. With Pleasant gone, the Lions need to evaluate all starters next to Joseph and Okudah because currently, they are not cutting it.
Overall Grade: D-
Welcome back, CJ Moore! The special teams ace returned to Detroit and immediately took a fake punt for a 4th down conversion. It was a gutsy call that was executed perfectly. Besides the fake, the special teams' units did their jobs. Michael Badgley hit his field goals, and Jack Fox averaged a great 58.5 yards per punt. The fake punt was the highlight, but it's great to see the Lions have found a kicker.
Overall Grade: A-
On game day, it is hard to critique any of the decisions made by Dan Campbell. The fake punt was timed really well as it allowed the Lions to enter the half with a 10-point lead. The coaching staff did put themselves behind the 8 ball defensively entering the game. Entering the week, easily the biggest mismatch was the Dolphins' receivers verse the Lions' corners. The Lions needed to come up with some game plan to either pressure Tua or help the corners and were not able to. Going forward, the Lions need to come up with game plans their players can execute if they want to prove that they should be the solution long-term.
Overall Grade: C