CHI-DET Grades: Lions earn first win
– QB Jay Cutler (+2.0) continued his steady start to the season against Detroit. His base statistics of 26-of-41 for 354 yards, one touchdown, and an interception are unimpressive, but five dropped passes by his receivers distort the numbers somewhat. Cutler was particularly impressive under pressure, completing 6-of-11 attempts for 147 yards and a touchdown. Although his interception was a poor throw (Cutler was picked off when he underthrew an endzone fade), it wasn’t a bad decision. With four positively graded games in a row, Cutler’s stock is improving.
– WR Alshon Jeffery (+1.2) is a terrifying prospect when healthy. His overall grade is somewhat misleading, considering he committed a pair of penalties. Jeffery recorded a +3.1 receiving grade, catching 8-of-11 targets for 147 yards and a touchdown. The grade would have been even higher too, if not for a drop on a go-route that was perfectly placed by Cutler. It was also Jeffery who was targeted on the endzone fade that was picked off, but there was little he could do with the placement so poor. Only the aforementioned penalties prevented this from being a perfect comeback game—the pass interference he committed was especially unnecessary. Still, Chicago’s offense looks like a completely different prospect with Jeffery in the lineup.
– The Bears’ issues at corner came back to bite them against Detroit—and Megatron. Overall, the three corners to take more than 50 snaps combined for a -7.0 grade. None of Chicago’s corners have positive coverage grades, either, this season. Slot corner Sherrick McManis (-3.7 coverage grade) had the most issues, allowing five of six targets to be complete for 102 yards, a touchdown and a perfect QB rating. Tracy Porter (-1.4) meanwhile, is nothing more than a stopgap. He allowed five-of-eight targets for 71 yards and a score. Finally, having invested a first round pick in Kyle Fuller (-1.9), the Bears would be expecting more production. Fuller allowed all but one of his nine targets to be complete for 60 yards and two touchdowns.
OLB Pernell McPhee (+3.3)
TE Martellus Bennett (+3.2)
ILB Christian Jones (+2.7)
QB Jay Cutler (+2.0)
C Hroniss Grasu (+2.0)
– Detroit’s offensive line has been an issue for a few years, but the addition of first-rounder Laken Tomlinson (+3.9) and return of Larry Warford (+2.3) has the potential to turn that weakness into a strength. Tomlinson had a slow start to the season, recording grades under -1.0 in each of his first four outings, but his performance against the Lions was much-improved. After giving up at least one knockdown in each of the previous four games, and 13 combined pressures, Tomlinson was perfect in pass protection (+2.6). He also recorded his first positive run blocking grade of the season. As for Warford, he’s a dominant player when healthy. His +2.3 grade on the back of a perfect day in pass protection suggests he’s getting back to his best.
– One area of weakness in the Lions’ offense is at tight end after Eric Ebron went down with an injury. Timothy Wright (-4.2) recorded the worst offensive grade for Detroit, struggling in both the run and pass game. As a receiver, he caught a touchdown pass to go with a pair of other receptions, but for just 17 yards with two drops. Wright also struggled more than any other Lion as a run blocker, recording a team-low -1.8 grade. With four games graded below -1.0 in a row, Detroit’s needs their starters to get healthy.
– MLB Stephen Tulloch’s (+2.3) inconsistent start to the season continued against the Bears. He’s excelled in run defense this year, and that was no different on Sunday, as Tulloch recorded an impressive +4.1 grade against the run. His good performance was illustrated by the six defensive stops he recorded, more than any other Lion. While Tulloch has performed well in run defense throughout the year, he’s struggled in coverage. That was the case again against the Bears, where Tulloch missed a pair of tackles, allowing significant yards after the catch.
LG Laken Tomlinson (+3.9)
FB Michael Burton (+2.7)
WR Calvin Johnson (+2.6)
DE Ezekial Ansah (+2.4)
RG Larry Warford (+2.3)
MLB Stephen Tulloch (+2.3)