OAK-DET Grades: Stafford plays well in Lions’ victory
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Lions’ 18-13 victory over the Raiders.
– Even with the offense scoring only 13 points, it was more about untimely errors by wide receivers and overall lack of flow for the unit. QB Derek Carr (+1.8) played well, showing good accuracy and only missing on a handful of throws. His pass along the sideline at the 11:29 mark of the second quarter is a prime example, as he put it in a great spot for WR Michael Crabtree on third-and-nine, but Crabtree was unable to complete the catch along the sideline, and the Raiders were forced to punt. That about sums up the Raiders’ offense for the afternoon.
– Oakland was strong on the edge defensively, getting their typical fine work from OLB Khalil Mack at +5.7 overall, but also rookie DE/OLB Mario Edwards and his +3.5 grade. Mack led the team with six stops—no other player had more than two—while picking up a hit and four hurries on 30 rushes. As for Edwards, he posted his third straight positive grade, showing great power as a pass rusher and in the running game. He picked up four hurries, three of which came on bull rushes, as well as a batted pass, while moving blockers in the run game to the tune of a +1.6 grade.
– It was not as smooth for LB Malcolm Smith, however, who posted his second straight poor grade at -5.5. He over-pursued multiple times when isolated in space, while consistently getting blocked at the second level in the running game. All afternoon, Smith was just a step slow whether defending the pass (-1.8) or against the run (-3.6).
OLB Khalil Mack +5.7
DE/OLB Mario Edwards +3.5
CB David Amerson +2.0
QB Derek Carr +1.8
S Nate Allen +1.7
– It has been a disappointing season for QB Matthew Stafford and the Lions, but he put together a strong +2.4 effort Sunday. It was his best game grade of the season, powered by two big rushes in the fourth quarter. He scrambled for a first down on second-and-two then came back on first-and-goal to run the quarterback draw for the game-winning touchdown. As a passer, Stafford was pinpoint on a number of throws, namely a nicely-placed corner route to TE Eric Ebron (-1.0) that was dropped in the end zone early in the first quarter, as well as a “go” route to WR Calvin Johnson (+0.6) late in the first half that was perfectly placed over the cornerback and away from the free safety. With Stafford playing for a contract at the end of the year, games like this will go a long way toward garnering more interest.
– Our top-graded receiving running back, Theo Riddick (+3.8), was a force again this week, catching all five targets for 72 yards. When coming out of the backfield, he made two defenders miss in space, picking up three first downs on his four backfield targets and he split out wide to convert on the slant route late in the fourth quarter as the Lions were trying to run out the clock. Riddick mixed in a +0.4 run grade, as well as a few strong blocks, to cap off his strong all-around game.
– Quietly emerging as one of the league’s best cornerbacks, Darius Slay (+1.6) put together his third straight positive grade, and his 85.1 coverage rating now ranks 12th in the league. He only surrendered 8 yards on four targets (though two of the passes were dropped), but his allowing only two catches and 15 yards in his last three games is impressive, nonetheless. His best play of the afternoon was a negated pass defensed on a comeback route. Keep an eye on Slay’s development down the stretch.
RB Theo Riddick +3.8
QB Matthew Stafford +2.4
C Travis Swanson +2.4
RB Ameer Abdullah +1.7
CB Quandre Diggs +1.7