Lions' Week 12 Offensive Grades: Hockenson Being Held Back by Bevell

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Another Thanksgiving Day game and another loss for the Detroit Lions in front of a national TV audience. 

With Thursday's 41-25 loss to the Houston Texans, Detroit now has suffered four straight losses on Thanksgiving, including three consecutive with Matt Patricia at the helm. 

Patricia and Lions general manager Bob Quinn should be receiving their walking papers from the team's principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp by the end of the weekend.

While you're waiting for that to happen, I give you my Week 12 offensive grades for Detroit. 

Quarterback: D+  

Another pick-six and another loss for Matthew Stafford and the Lions.

The defense was the biggest culprit in Detroit's putrid Thanksgiving performance. Yet, the 12th-year passer still only threw for one touchdown, and threw for under 300 yards (295) for the ninth time this season. He also recorded a QBR of just 45.5. 

A common theme throughout 2020 has been that Stafford hasn't been good enough to make up for the catastrophic woes of the defense, and it was true yet again Thursday.

In what could've been his last Thanksgiving Day game in the Motor City, Stafford delivered a performance worthy of a subpar grade.  

Running backs: D+  

Adrian Peterson, who started with D'Andre Swift out for a second straight week, led all Detroit runners with 15 rushes for 55 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a game-best run of 19 yards.

Yet, he recorded only 3.7 yards per carry. 

Meanwhile, Kerryon Johnson rushed for 46 yards on 11 carries, good for 4.2 yards per rush. However, he also fumbled to start the second quarter. 

It wasn't the only fumble of the day for Detroit's backs, either. 

Jonathan Williams fumbled on his first and only carry of the afternoon, which came in the first quarter and led to a three-play, 30-yard touchdown drive for Deshaun Watson and the Texans. 

Detroit did sustain a nice, long drive at the start of the third quarter, which featured nine runs on the first 10 plays and produced 59 yards. It ultimately led to a successful 29-yard field goal try from Matt Prater.

At the same time, though, there were a couple of Peterson runs throughout the game that left fans clamoring for Swift, because of the sizable difference in speed between the two backs at this point in their respective careers. 

Taking into account that and the two fumbles brings down the Week 12 grade for this position group. 

Wide receivers/tight ends: C-  

T.J. Hockenson finished with a team-high 89 receiving yards, and also recorded a game-high 51-yard catch.

Most of his production came in the first quarter, though. He caught three passes for 78 yards on three targets -- all of which came on the opening drive which resulted in a touchdown. 

It was the most receiving yards ever produced by a Lions tight end in the first quarter of a game and also the most by a tight end in the first quarter of a game this season in the entire NFL.

Yet, he logged just two receptions for 11 yards the rest of the game -- a result of poor play-calling from Detroit offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. 

It was disappointing to see, especially when you consider the second-year tight end has grown into one of the best pass-catchers at his position in the league.

T.J. Hockenson runs after a catch against the Houston Texans. 

T.J. Hockenson runs after a catch against the Houston Texans. 

The only other player with at least 50 reception yards on the afternoon was Johnson, who hauled in four balls for 52 yards.

The third-leading receiver in the contest for the Lions was Marvin Jones Jr. He had a decent day with six catches for 48 yards, but he also could've ended up with a bigger day, as a result of being the recipient of 12 Stafford passes.

Also, disappointing for Jones was the fact that he averaged under 10 yards per catch (eight yards per grab). Additionally, Bevell failed to get him and Marvin Hall going in the deep passing game.

Hall's longest reception of the day was for nine yards. 

Bevell's unwillingness to allow Stafford to air it out down the field to receivers not named Kenny Golladay has been maddening all year long, and it's held the Lions' offense back from being as dynamic as it was during the first half of last season when Stafford was healthy. 

If Golladay continues to miss time, other receivers like Hall and rookie Quintez Cephus will need to step up. 

Until that happens, the pass-catchers will persist with being more of a hindrance than an aid to Stafford and the offense. 

Offensive line: C 

I'll give thanks to the offensive line for opening up enough holes to allow the running game to rush for 109 yards and two scores.

However, you can't mention that without also bringing up the fact that Stafford was sacked four times in the contest.

Sure, as has been the case all season long, there might've been a sack or two where Stafford held onto the ball too long.

But, it's also obviously a sign of the line not protecting the team's franchise passer in an effective enough fashion.

All in all, it was an average performance from the position group in Detroit's annual Thanksgiving tilt.

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