OAK-DET Grades: Stafford plays well in Lions’ victory

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Lions’ 18-13 victory over the Raiders.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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.

Oakland 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).

Top performers:

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


Detroit Lions

– 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.

Top performers:

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

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Kent Lee Platte

    Matthew Stafford is signed through 2017. He won’t actually be playing for a contract until next season, and even then the deal is unlikely to be done until that offseason.

    • Chris Schoemann

      Agreed. Also, the Lions won’t let him get away. He is a top 10 QB in this league and the lions know it. I’m tired of hearing people in detroit talking about blowing up the team and starting over……seriously people….the lions are not that far off.

      Look at their position groupings and you’ll find they are only a little more than a handful of personnel away from being perennial contenders.
      Two good Safety’s…check. We need two good cornerbacks to go along with Slay. Three good Line backer’s…..check. We need another Cliff Averil on the LDE and two DT’s.
      Franchise QB……Check. Running backs need another year to see how they would do with a good OLine. Three good wide receivers…..check (I love the lance Moore pick up). Tight end is a sore spot with me. Two first rounders that haven’t produced. We need a LT in this years draft in R1, move Reiff to the right side and you have a young, solid O line.

      So their personnel needs are
      (2) CB
      (2) DT
      (1) LDE

      (1) LT
      (1) swing tackle

      That’s 2 years worth of drafting and Free agency. That’s it people. You can now step back and get off the ledge.

      • Tim Edell

        I would definitely disagree that Stafford is a top 10 QB.

        • Chris Schoemann

          Name me 10 QBs that you would want qb’ing your team for the next 5 years.

          • Marcus

            As a Lions fan here you go.
            Brady, Brees (don’t care if they only play 2 more if it means Stafford is gone.) Cam, Wilson, Luck, Bridge, Cutler, Rodgers, Romo, Eli, Winston, Mariota, Rivers. Most of these guys take advantage of their weapons and sone do more with less than what Stafford has. Plus Stafford has been on a continuous decline…

          • Tim Edell

            You said he is a top 10 QB.. Now your saying for the next 5 years.. Make up your mind Junior!!