Another week, another way to lose for the Detroit Lions.
Dan Campbell’s team remains winless on the season, the most recent loss coming on a last-second field goal by the Chicago Bears and kicker Cairo Santos. The loss came at the end of a stretch that was poorly managed, to say the least, by the Lions' coaching staff.
In all, it’s the 10th loss of the season for the Lions, and it came against a team starting its backup quarterback (Andy Dalton). The team is scrambling after yet another performance in which it squandered a late chance to win.
Here are SI All Lions’ positional grades for the performance.
Jared Goff was efficient, but unspectacular in his return from injury. He finished 21-of-25 for 171 yards and two touchdowns, but lost a fumble, as well. He surprised everyone when he hit Josh Reynolds for a long touchdown on the Lions’ first drive.
After Tim Boyle took the reins last week, Goff was back in the saddle, and completed his first 12 passes. It was by no means a phenomenal performance, but the Lions got good enough play from their quarterback on Thanksgiving.
Running backs: B-
Star D’Andre Swift had a quiet afternoon, getting six touches for nine yards before leaving with an injury. He never returned with what has been called a shoulder sprain, giving Jamaal Williams the plethora of reps.
Williams was serviceable, rushing for 65 yards on 15 carries. Godwin Igwebuike carried the ball once for 11 yards. There were struggles on the offensive line, including a plethora of holding penalties, that prevented the team from getting into any sort of rhythm.
Wide receivers/tight ends: B-
Reynolds and T.J. Hockenson both scored touchdowns, the first time the Lions have had two passing touchdowns since Week 4 against the Bears. It was Reynolds’ first score of the season and Hockenson’s first since Week 2.
The Lions got contributions from several pieces in the passing game, including Reynolds, Hockenson, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Kalif Raymond. The group put together its best game in a while, thanks to the efforts of Goff.
Offensive line: D+
It was a rough afternoon for the Lions’ offensive line, as the unit was penalized a handful of times. Four of the five starters were hit with holding penalties, as only Jonah Jackson wasn’t called.
On multiple occasions, the Lions went back-to-back plays committing holding penalties. It was not a great showing by the men in the trenches, as Robert Quinn and company wreaked havoc for the Bears.
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Defensive line: B+
After David Montgomery ran wild in the first matchup between these teams, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn had a much better gameplan in game two. Montgomery was held to just 2.7 yards per carry, totaling a long of 12 yards.
Rookie Levi Onwuzurike secured his first career sack in the fourth quarter. He wasn’t the only one who put forth a great effort, as Alim McNeill and John Penisini were generating pressure and plugging run lanes throughout the afternoon.
The linebacking unit as a whole struggled in coverage. Chicago tight end Cole Kmet finished the game with eight catches for 65 yards, a sign of the Lions’ defensive struggles in space. The linebackers contributed to the team’s strong showing against the run, but the coverage struggles left more to be desired.
On an individual level, it was a good showing for Alex Anzalone, who finished with nine tackles and two passes defensed. Derrick Barnes had a tackle for loss, but left with an injury, as did Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
Defensive backs: C-
Amani Oruwariye snagged his fifth interception of the season, but it was a largely successful day for Bears quarterback Andy Dalton. Starting in place of Justin Fields, who was out with injury, Dalton threw for 317 yards and a touchdown.
Darnell Mooney was the biggest benefactor of the struggles in Detroit’s secondary, catching five passes for 123 yards. On the positive side, Dean Marlowe finished with a game-high 10 tackles, and Jerry Jacobs recovered a fumble.
Special teams: B
Jack Fox, forced to punt six times, averaged a whopping 50 yards per attempt. He notched a 70-yarder on his first attempt, which took a bounce off gunner Bobby Price’s helmet.
Riley Patterson didn’t attempt a field goal, but was 2-for-2 on extra points.
A large reason this game unraveled the way it did was because of the coaching. Thanks to some holding penalties, Campbell and company called draw plays and conceded early drives, which incited boos from the home crowd.
The end of the game also got away from the staff, as Campbell called two straight timeouts, which led to a penalty late in the fourth quarter. The Lions were also in relaxed coverage on a third-and-4 play late, which was a third-and-9 before the sequence of timeouts.
Play-calling and penalties both reflect poorly on the coaching staff. This year’s Thanksgiving game will be remembered for the ineptitude of the Lions' staff, as it failed to secure a win that was handed out on a platter.