This is especially the case when you look at the performance of Detroit's offensive line against the 49ers.
For Week 1, the Lions ended up with the sixth-best run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus. And, on a big-time positive note for the franchise, offensive tackle Penei Sewell, the team's 2021 first-round pick, was a major reason why.
The Oregon product and No. 7 overall selection in the 2021 draft finished with the fourth-highest run-blocking grade among left tackles for the week. He also graded out as the 11th-highest-rated offensive tackle and as the highest-graded rookie offensive lineman at any position, per PFF.
It was a highly impressive performance from the first-year pro, who was tasked with lining up at left tackle and going head-to-head with 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, after Detroit's starting left tackle Taylor Decker was placed on injured reserve leading into Week 1.
Additionally, as if it wasn't impressive enough, Sewell did all this Sunday at the tender age of 20 years old, becoming the youngest player in NFL history to start at left tackle.
Also contributing to the Lions' standout run-blocking performance were center Frank Ragnow and left guard Jonah Jackson.
Ragnow finished Week 1 as the league’s highest-rated center, including grading out as the fourth-best run blocker, while Jackson finished with the 10th-best run-blocking grade among left guards.
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Ragnow and Sewell also each finished in the top five for the Lions' highest-graded offensive players for Week 1, per PFF. Ragnow led the way for all the members of the offense, with an 83.7 grade. Meanwhile, Sewell produced the third-highest grade among the team's offensive players, with a 75.6 mark.
Rounding out the team's top five PFF-graded offensive players for the week were tight end T.J. Hockenson at No. 2 (76.4), running back Jamaal Williams at No. 4 (68.4) and wide receiver Quintez Cephus at No. 5 (67.5).
As for the team's top-rated defensive players, PFF had outside linebacker Trey Flowers leading the way, with a Week 1 team-high 89.9 mark. Following him were cornerback AJ Parker at No. 2 (72.3), inside linebacker Jamie Collins at No. 3 (70.9), safety Tracy Walker at No. 4 (65.7) and defensive tackle John Penisini at No. 5 (64.0).
Next up for the Lions is a divisional matchup with the Green Bay Packers, taking place at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football.
Lowest PFF-graded defensive players
- CB Amani Oruwariye (38.5)
- CB Will Harris (38.3)
- CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (37.7)
- OLB Charles Harris (29.6)
- LB Alex Anzalone (28.6)
Lowest PFF-graded offensive players
- WR Trinity Benson (54.9)
- OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai (54.3)
- OL Matt Nelson (52.0)
- TE Darren Fells (48.0)
- FB Jason Cabinda (41.3)