DET-CHI grades: WR Calvin Johnson earns season-best grade

The highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Lions' 24-20 win over the Bears in Week 17.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski, File)

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski, File)

DET-CHI grades: WR Calvin Johnson earns season-best grade

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Detroit Lions’ 24-20 win over the Chicago Bears.

Detroit Lions

– QB Matthew Stafford (+1.9) finished the season on a high note. After starting the season with a -16.8 overall grade through the first eight weeks, Stafford bounced back to put up a +13.3 overall grade between weeks 10-17. Stafford was virtually flawless yesterday when he was given a clean pocket to throw, going 24-of-26 for 272 yards, two touchdowns, and a +3.9 PFF grade on throws without pressure.

– WR Calvin Johnson (+5.0) also finished on a high note, posting his highest overall grade of the season yesterday. Johnson caught 10-of-13 targets for 137 yards and a touchdown; he had his way with CB Tracy Porter (-3.0), making eight of his 10 catches while Porter was in coverage. The future Hall of Fame receiver finished the season with a cumulative overall grade of +24.0, fifth-best among the position.

– On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions were led by DE Ezekiel Ansah (+2.4). Ansah was most-accomplished as a pass rusher in Chicago (+2.5 pass rushing grade) racking up a sack, two QB hits, and two hurries, including a hit on Jay Cutler’s final throw that caused an interception. With a +14.1 cumulative overall grade for the season, Ansah finishes with our 12th best overall grade among 4-3 defensive ends.

Top performers:  

WR Calvin Johnson (+5.0)

DE Ezekiel Ansah (+2.4)

LB Tahir Whitehead (+2.2)

DE Devin Taylor (+1.9)

QB Matthew Stafford (+1.9)


Chicago Bears

– QB Jay Cutler (+4.2) had a strong game with limited weapons, despite throwing three interceptions (he was hit as he threw two of them). Like Stafford, Cutler was very effective when given a clean pocket, going 12-of-15 for 195 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and a +1.9 grade on throws without pressure. Cutler bounced back in 2015 with a cumulative overall grade for the season of +5.4, a great improvement over the -13.6 overall grade he put up in 2014.

– It was not a good final game for the offensive line, which combined to post an overall grade of -11.8 yesterday. They were lead by C Matt Slauson (+0.8, the only member of the unit to have a grade north of -1.0 yesterday) who finishes the season with a cumulative overall grade of +18.3, splitting playing time between center and guard.

– On defense, the Bears were lead by OLB Pernell McPhee (+2.4). McPhee did a bit of everything yesterday (+0.5 run defense grade, +0.8 pass rushing grade, and +1.1 coverage grade) to compile that mark. McPhee finishes 2015 with a cumulative +35.9 overall grade, fourth-best among 3-4 OLBs.

Top performers:

QB Jay Cutler (+4.2)

OLB Pernell McPhee (+2.4)

WR Marc Mariani (+2.2)

HB Matt Forte (+1.7)

WR Josh Bellamy (+0.9)

  • Mike

    Cutler a higher grade than Stafford? You guys seriously need to reevaluate your grading system.

    • dlund6cutler

      Let’s see how Stafford does with his 5th,6th,7th WR and 3rd TE. And Check downs make your stats look better and that’s what Stafford is the best at.

      • Mike

        Are you saying that the PFF player grade reads into which WRs played and which didn’t? I think it would more realistically look at run support. Clearly Cutler had better production from Forte than Stafford had from his stable of RBs.

        Let me simplify things for you. The reason the Bears lost the game was because Cutler turned it over 3 times and Stafford didn’t turn it over at all. Cutler couldn’t feel the rush on either Ansah pressure and it cost the Bears dearly. Also, the pick in the end zone was a great play but it was an AWFUL decision by Cutler.

        • dlund6cutler

          Yeah are run game is better and i’m glad we lost though at this point i’d prefer to get a better draft pick and hopefully worse opponents next year. And yeah Cutler made a bad decision but i’d put him over Rodgers now a days… I love it when Rodgers loses 😀

          • Mike

            Cannot argue there–we definitely are likeminded in our disdain for Aaron Rodgers.

          • dlund6cutler

            Yes we are

          • southsidechicago

            over rodgers,lolololololololololololololololololololololololololololol,

          • dlund6cutler

            ey man what ever gets the Packer fans going.

        • Aldo Gandia

          In his postgame comments, Coach John Fox said there were other players responsible for the interceptions Cutler threw.

          • Mike

            Well, that seals it. Cutler is amazing. I honestly cannot remember the last time the Bears beat the Stafford led Lions and that is amazing.

    • Tom T

      I agree with you completely Mike. As for dland6cutler, there’s nothing at PFF that gives guys credit or blame for playing with back-ups so since that’s out of the equation I can’t believe anyone who watched that game would feel that Cutler graded out as more than 2x better than Stafford?

      PFF really lost some credibility with me with how poorly they’ve graded Stafford this entire season. I was shocked early in the season when they constantly placed most of the Lions problems on Stafford’s play. I felt early on in the year that he was having one of his best year’s ever when he actually had some time to throw. The problem was that he never ever had time or a clean pocket. I couldn’t believe how differently PFF (and some of the uneducated public) were seeing this. I will give the uneducated public a free pass for as they don’t know what to look for but for PFF to be that far off with Stafford early on was inexcusable, IMO.

      My thoughts that he looked good early were confirmed in the 2nd half of the season as he’s been one of the QB’s during these last 8 weeks. When the Lions made a change on the offensive line and also with their blocking schemes, Stafford finally had some time to throw but it’s still not been a lot of time either. Since the changes he’s completed 70% of all of his passes with 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions and a QB passer rating around 110 for the 2nd half of the season. I don’t recall a pass being close to picked off in any of his last 6-7 games (outside his 1 int). I’d also say that he’s played at MVP type levels in the 2nd half of the year but I bet that PFF combined grades in the last 8 weeks doesn’t show that to be the case.

      As a paid subscriber and follower of the site since the beginning days, I highly recommend PFF to go back after this season and make some major changes to how they grade QB play. The play of an NFL quarterback is by far the most highly scrutinized position in all of sports and a highly respectable site like PFF needs to figure out a more accurate way to assess how a quarterback has played.

  • twelsh36446

    Only time a Detroit player gets a decent grade or talked about is when they really stand out. Cutler looked liked a sheep out there. Sure he got hit on two interceptions, but he knew he was going to get hit, so why not tuck the ball take the sack and play another down? Instead he gets credited by PFF for it? They have it out for Detroit period, but why?