PHI-DET grades: Big days for Megatron, Stafford, Ansah
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Lions’ 45-14 win over the Eagles.
-It was a tough game all around for the Eagles, but QB Mark Sanchez (+1.9) wasn’t the reason for this loss. While some of his grade was gained during garbage time, he didn’t play badly when the game was still somewhat competitive. Sanchez actually handled the pressure fairly well, completing 5-of-8 attempts for 63 yards and both touchdowns. On passes that traveled over 10 yards in the air, Sanchez went 7-for-10 for 138 yards and a touchdown. While there was plenty of room for improvement in the passing game, this loss can’t be put solely on Sanchez’s shoulders.
-It was a tough game for corners Byron Maxwell (-1.9) and Eric Rowe (-2.9). Maxwell was targeted a team-high 11 times and allowed six of them to be caught for 72 yards. He did manage one pass defensed, but all of his receptions allowed were for first downs, and he was beaten soundly on another play that his receiver dropped. Rowe came on in relief of injured CB Nolan Carroll (+0.8) and was targeted 10 times for seven receptions, 86 yards and two touchdowns. On only one play did he actually influence the incompletion — the other two were a drop and an overthrow. It was a big ask putting a rookie like Rowe up against Lions star Calvin Johnson, who ranks No. 6 in our WR grades after his three-touchdown day, and probably something the Eagles regret in hindsight.
-DE Fletcher Cox (+1.6) had a bit of an up-and-down game for the Eagles. Against the run he was nearly invisible, finishing with a -1.1 run defense grade and just one solo stop. But rushing the passer he managed five quarterback hurries and finished with a +2.4 pass rush grade, the highest on the team. Aside from Cox, the remaining Eagles’ defenders managed just nine pressures in 42 dropbacks.
C Jason Kelce (+2.5)
QB Mark Sanchez (+1.9)
OLB Brandon Graham (+1.7)
DE Fletcher Cox (+1.6)
ILB DeMeco Ryans (+1.4)
-What a game it was for QB Matt Stafford (+6.8). Only a few weeks after being named to our list of the worst players at every position at midseason, Stafford had far and away his best game of the season. He was average under pressure, but when he had time he absolutely picked the Eagles’ defense apart. When not under pressure, Stafford was 20-of-28 for 212 yards and all five touchdowns. Even better was when he was faced with a blitz. He was only sacked once despite 25 Eagles blitzes, and he completed 15-of-23 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns. It may be too little too late for this season, but seeing Stafford play like that gives a lot of hope that he can still be a good QB going forward after a rough start to the season.
-It was an absolutely ridiculous day for DE Ziggy Ansah (+5.9). Easily the Lions’ best pass-rusher going into the game, he did not disappoint, finishing with four sacks and a hurry, leading to a +5.9 pass-rush grade. He also caused two penalties on the offense, and his strip sack and recovery essentially sealed the game for the Lions. He was pretty much unblockable all day, and led a Lions’ defensive unit that finished with seven sacks, two hits and nine hurries on the afternoon.
-It was another spectacular day for WR Calvin Johnson (+4.5), and not surprisingly, his best grade of the year. His three touchdowns were spectacular, each one seemingly more impressive than the previous one. But he also had five other catches, four of which were for first downs. RB Theo Riddick (+2.2) had a fantastic day receiving too, catching all five of his targets for 62 yards and a touchdown. The move he put on Mychal Kendricks (-4.2) to get open on his touchdown was a thing of beauty. Overall it was a good day for the Lions’ offense that has struggled all year to get anything going.
QB Matthew Stafford (+6.8)
DE Ezekiel Ansah (+5.9)
LB Tahir Whitehead (+4.6)
WR Calvin Johnson (+4.5)
G Larry Warford (+3.1)