WAS-DET grades: Stafford-Jones connection key in Lions’ comeback victory

Washington defense keeps Lions' offense in check most of day, but Detroit QB leads game-winning drive.

| 8 months ago
(Leon Halip, Getty Images)

(Leon Halip, Getty Images)

WAS-DET grades: Stafford-Jones connection key in Lions’ comeback victory

Detroit Lions 20, Washington Redskins 17

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest graded players from Detroit’s last-minute 20-17 victory over Washington:

Detroit Lions

Quarterback grade: Matthew Stafford, 70.5 

Stafford turns it on in second half

After a quiet start to the game, Stafford and the Lions’ passing attack came out firing to start the third quarter, highlighted by an absolutely beautiful 52-yard throw on a post route that wideout Marvin Jones caught through a pass interference penalty. Stafford had a fine game when he was given time to throw, completing 16 of 21 attempts for 235 yards, a touchdown and a 128.1 QB rating when not under pressure. The veteran QB was just two of eight for 31 yards and a 43.2 QB rating while under pressure, however, and he also struggled to handle Washington’s blitz, completing just three of nine passes to go with a 49.8 QB rating when blitzed.

Top offensive grades:

T Taylor Decker, 80.7

WR Marvin Jones, 79.7

G Larry Worford, 73.3

TE Clay Harbor, 67.4

C Travis Swanson, 66.7

Rookie lineman Decker continues to impress

Other than a blip in Week 3, Taylor Decker has gotten off to a fine start to his NFL career, continuing his recent stretch of good play against Washington. Decker allowed just one total pressure Sunday in pass protection (a hurry) and has now just allowed four total pressures over his past four games after allowing seven total pressures in Week 3 alone. Marvin Jones led the receivers with 94 yards coming on four catches and five targets, and Stafford had a very good 118.8 QB rating when targeting Jones. Opposite Jones, Golden Tate (65.1 overall grade) was active, catching six passes on 11 targets (one drop) for 93 yards.

Top defensive grades:

LB Tahir Whitehead, 82.4

CB Quandre Diggs, 81.7

DE Kerry Hyder, 80.6

CB Nevin Lawson, 80.3

DE Anthony Zettel, 78.6

Lions capitalize on Washington mistakes

Detroit made Washington pay when it put the ball on the ground, but it also created some pressure with its front four to limit some of Cousins’ options. The Lions finished the day with two sacks, four QB hits, and 12 QB hurries. Only one of those sacks/hits/hurries came from someone outside of the defensive line. Kerry Hyder had two hits and two hurries, and Anthony Zettel had three hurries on only 13 pass-rush attempts. LB Tahir Whitehead finished with 10 tackles and four stops, as he was steady in the middle of the defense.

Washington Redskins

Quarterback grade: Kirk Cousins, 72.1

Cousins has strong day through air marred by a key mistake

Cousins had an efficient day passing against the Lions’ defense, but his lone mistake help contribute to a disappointing Washington loss. Cousins tripped coming out from under center and still tried to make the handoff to RB Matt Jones, losing the ball in the process and ultimately losing the fumble to Detroit. Otherwise, Cousins played well, and was extremely efficient in getting the ball into his playmakers’ hands, especially in throws under 10 yards where he went 24 of 25 for 190 of his 301 total yards. 

Top offensive grades:

LT Trent Williams, 86.6

RT Morgan Moses, 82.5

C Spence Long, 79.1

RG Brandon Scherff, 77.8

TE Vernon Davis, 74.1

Offensive line and Crowder excel for Washington

The Washington offensive line grabbed four of the top five offensive grades, with left tackle Trent Williams leading the way. Williams finished with an 89.6 run-block grade, using his athleticism and strength on backside cutoffs as well as at the second level. Right tackle Morgan Moses finished the game with a clean sheet in pass protection and an 88.0 pass-block grade. Tight end Vernon Davis and WR Jamison Crowder helped move the passing offense along, as they combined for 16 targets and 13 catches for 187 yards. However, this is a game Washington let get away with self-inflicted mistakes. RB Matt Jones had two crucial fumbles, one in the red zone, along with the previously mentioned Cousins fumble.

Top defensive grades: 

S Will Blackmon, 84.8

LB Mason Foster, 82.4

ED Trent Murphy, 79.7

DI Chris Baker, 79.4

LB Will Compton, 77.4

Defense holds Lions in check for 59 minutes

It was not a bad day for the Redskins defense, which held a Lions offense that had averaged 25 points per game coming into Week 7 in check for most of the afternoon, but a bad series at an inopportune time cost them a chance to exit Detroit with a victory. Safety Will Blackmon led the unit in terms of overall grade after having a very nice afternoon in coverage, as he allowed just one of two targets to be caught for a total of three yards, made a great read and play on a deep ball down the sidelines that he picked off, and he also had two pass defenses on the day. Trent Murphy led the unit with a 79.8 pass-rushing grade after gaining two pressures on just 17 pass-rush attempts, with one of those being a strip-sack.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Lions QB Matthew Stafford

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

  • TKIY

    At some point does Stafford enter the MVP discussion?

    • crosseyedlemon

      Provided the bartender doesn’t think you and your buddies are too drunk, I think your allowed to mention him after 6 beers each.

  • Richard Grove

    How did Will Blackmon pick off a deep ball down the sideline if Stafford doesn’t throw any interceptions?
    Sometimes I think PFF would be better served to not rush their statistics up. There’s hardly a game covered here that doesn’t have an obvious mistake like that, and it kinda calls all the ratings into question.

    • James Lomangino

      Lol he dropped the int. Still wasn’t a good decision by staff.