DET-NO Grades: Golden Tate shines in Lions' quick-pass offense
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Detroit Lions’ 35-27 win over the New Orleans Saints:
New Orleans Saints
– Despite being caught in the middle of a disappointing season, Drew Brees (+4.8) has had an impressive second half of the year so far. That continued against the Lions, where he was almost good enough to bring them back from the brink. He looked good throwing downfield , going four-for-seven for 106 yards, including the touchdown throw to Brandin Cooks.
– Speaking of Cooks (+3.7), the Saints WR had his highest-graded game of the year against the Lions, pulling in 10 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown. His matchup with Darius Slay (+2.0) was particularly interesting, with both having their moments. In the end, he has seven receptions in Slay’s coverage, but his biggest play came against Nevin Lawson on the touchdown throw by Brees.
– As had been the theme since he started seeing snaps at left guard, rookie Andrus Peat (-2.6) struggled again. On the field for 31 snaps, he allowed a quarterback hurry, but his biggest struggles were in the run game. Drafted as their right tackle of the future, it doesn’t look like a full time move to guard would suit him.
QB Drew Brees +4.8
WR Brandin Cooks +3.7
RT Zach Strief +2.0
C Max Unger +1.7
HB Tim Hightower +1.1
– Efficiency was the name of the game for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (+2.5), who made very few mistakes as the Lions cruised to a big halftime lead. He didn’t attempt a single pass beyond 10 yards, but finished the game with a positive grade on plays where he was under pressure, and completed a whopping 88 percent of his passes.
– With Calvin Johnson (-0.5) almost a non-factor, it was up to Golden Tate (+2.0) to pick up the slack, and he did just that. This was the perfect type of game for the Lions to get the ball in his hands on quick passes and let him do the rest, and he finished the evening having caught all six passes thrown his way for 45 yards and two touchdowns, with 41 of his 45 yards coming after the catch.
– Two players stood out as having good days in the defensive backfield, and it’s good news for the future of the defense that it was young stars Darius Slay (+2.0) and Quandre Diggs (+2.6). Slay wasn’t flawless, giving up eight receptions for 94 yards, but he did have two pass breakups, including one in the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Rookie Diggs was targeted nine times on Monday night, giving up just three receptions for 12 yards.
LT Riley Reiff +3.0
CB Quandre Diggs +2.6
QB Matthew Stafford +2.5
CB Darius Slay +2.0
WR Golden Tate +2.0