PHI-DET grades: Big days for Megatron, Stafford, Ansah

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Lions' blowout win over the Eagles.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

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.

Philadelphia 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.

Top performers:

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)


Detroit Lions

-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.

Top performers:

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)

| Analyst

Bryson has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, and has also been a contributor to 120 Sports.

  • Mike

    The right Lions are starting to trend up. This should make the Lions GM vacancy quite appealing to any free agent front office guy.

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  • Kent Lee Platte

    Lions fans still trying to figure out why Tahir Whitehead wasn’t starting most of the year. Makes less sense every game he plays.

    • John B

      Totally agree and a lot of their recent turnaround happened when he’s been back on the field

  • Vitor

    Impressive how Brandon graham, who had one of the best pff pass rush productivity last year, has been almost non existent in an expanded role.

    • NAJ

      Probably shows that he’s better suited to a part time pass rushing role or needs to be rotated a bit more.

      • Vitor

        Yeah, I thought the same thing would happen with McPhee when he left Baltimore, but he’s been awesome.

        • GorillaWrrior Billy

          I thought same about McPhee too. What a great chance that turned out to be this far

  • Dennis Forbes

    Stafford’s performance yesterday essentially invalidated the entire basis of PFF, wouldn’t you say? After shitting on him all year long, he gets some protection and better offensive calling, and the game is elite.

    But honestly, whether you think he’ll be a “good QB” going forward is a bit funny. Anyone not inventing fantasy numbers knew the offensive line was the “problem” with Stafford, and a simplified blocking scheme == a dramatically better presence in the pocket.

    • Izach

      That’s one of the biggest issue win general with grading, if you try to isolate the player, you take away the most important part of the game of football ITS A TEAM GAME. RBs and QBs need OL WRs need QBs, OL Need eachother, and the players need coaching and scheme, everything is so dependent on everything else if one thing is off it has a ripple effect on many other things. Goes the same way for defenders as well. Sure physical talent and “special” players can stand out but only for so long if the team doesn’t help them.

      • Wyzel

        This was the same defense that got shredded by Jamies Winston. I will give you this the team is much better with Jim Bob Cooter(greatest name for a coach), but Stafford is what he is good enough not to be replaced. The problem with Stafford is he cannot and has never been good under pressure. If you let him stand and throw, you’ll have problems, but thats just about every QB in the league.

        • Dennis Forbes

          Brady sucks under pressure. Rodgers sucks under pressure. PFM sucks under pressure. Stafford, by PFF’s own metrics, had the worst o-line play in the league in front of him.

          Pressure is the death of any passer that doesn’t primarily rely upon mobility (and if you’re a passer who relies upon mobility…well, opponents will adapt, as seen with RGIII and Kaepernick).

        • GorillaWrrior Billy

          Lol I just saw this, made same point. Winston, after 5tds v Philly (246 yds/ 5 TD/0 INT) , goes 245/1TD/1INT in Loss to IND this past week. . So. ..

    • GorillaWrrior Billy

      Um, so it was Jim Bob Cooter, better protection, and the o-line, right?

      Wrong. It doesn’t hurt to take his opponent into account.
      The Rk QB, Jameis Winston lit up PHI for 5 TDs week 11..

      So, let’s not go overboard.

      Stafford was a top candidate for worst qb at the time. I have no Confidence in him unless he just throws it up to Megatron, as he shouldve done all year.

      • Dennis Forbes

        “Stafford was a top candidate for worst qb at the time.”

        By PFF. In completions, yards, yards / attempt, efficiency, QB and passer rating, and so on he was absolutely *average*. Only PFF and their imaginary subjective measures was Stafford doing so poorly.

        Secondly, Tampa Bay ate Philadelphia alive with the *run*, and then Winston merely completed the job in the red zone. Stafford had 50% more yards through the air, against an Eagle passing defense that was in the top half before the Lions game (where the Lions exceeded their going average by, again, over 50%). And that’s before the Lions took their foot off the gas barely into the third.

        An o-line has an amazing ability to let a passer work, surprising no one. We’ll see if it holds, but my core point is that PFF and their fantasy evaluations is garbage noise.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Apparently the Eagles were jealous that the Jets had 5 players on the “worst of” list last week and tried their best to eclipse that mark.

  • Caelen Butler

    Will Warford ever get the recognition he deserves from the NFL? Smh.