Lions’ Grades: Dan Campbell Outcoached Brian Daboll

Lions’ Grades: Dan Campbell Outcoached Brian Daboll

In what was the most successful performance of the Dan Campbell era Detroit Lions won the third consecutive game. The latest in the streak came over the New York Giants, a 31-18 triumph that featured dominant performances on the defensive side of the ball. The Lions will attempt to carry the momentum into a Thanksgiving matchup with the mighty Buffalo Bills. The last time Detroit won three straight games came in 2017, which was the team’s last winning season.

These are the grades for each position, based upon their performance in Sunday’s match.

Quarterback: C

Jared Goff was turnover-free for the second straight game, which paid dividends. The Lions had two takeaways. However, the quarterback was smart in his decision-making and took care of the ball.

Goff didn’t make many big plays, as his longest completion was a 32-yard toss to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Despite his experience, Goff didn’t need to make any big plays, thanks to the consistency of the run game and defensive performance.

Goff almost got picked off in the third period, when he threw Tom Kennedy behind him to get double coverage. The drive was saved by a lucky bounce from a defender. After Detroit had taken a takeaway, the play was completed. The bounce stopped what could have been a game-changing play.

Running backs: B

Jamaal Williams remained the team’s top option in the backfield despite D’Andre Swift’s improved health. He had another great day as he scored his first ever three-touchdown game.

The leading rusher of the day was however neither player. Justin Jackson, who began the season moving between the active roster and the practice squad, delivered a game-high 66 rushing yards on nine carries.

Jackson was the third back on the team in Craig Reynolds’ absence. He showed toughness and physicality while running. He was the only back to reach the finish line, but he gave a great performance.

Fullback Jason Cabinda sacked both his targets. One of them was on a well-designed route that left him wide open.

Tight ends: B-

Brock Wright made two catches for 20 yards, while James Mitchell did not record a target. Wright almost reached paydirt in quarter two, when he made a short pass to the 1-yard line to set up Williams’ second touchdown.

Both Mitchell and Wright were heavily involved in the run game. They did a great job of setting up run lanes to allow running backs to use. Cabinda was also used as a tight end and blocker.

Wide receivers: C

Amon-Ra St. Brown had another team-best day with seven catches and 75 yards. He also carried the ball for four yards. Ben Johnson, the offensive coordinator, continued to use St. Brown and Kalif Ray in different ways.

Raymond was the only receiver to record catches. Tom Kennedy was the other. For Raymond, it was a three-catch, 33-yard performance. Meanwhile, Kennedy had one catch for 13 yards.

DJChark was back in action after being injured reserve, but didn’t make any impact. He only had one target, a long pass almost intercepted.

Offensive line: B

Goff was kept on his feet all afternoon long, while Detroit averaged 4.3 yards per carry on the ground.

Penei Sewell was penalized twice, including an illegal-block penalty committed in the red zone. The second-year tackle was nevertheless impressive in his blocking of screen passes.

Jonah Jackson received a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct during the first half. He landed a shot right after the whistle.

Frank Ragnow was active after missing time during the week with an injury. Apart from the penalties, he performed well in the middle line of the Lions’.


Defensive line: A

The Lions performed admirably against New York star running back Saquon Barkley. Averaging over 100 yards per game entering Sunday, Barkley was held to a season-low 22 yards (on 15 carries).

Aidan Hutchinson, John Cominsky and Alim McNeill each played key roles in this effort. McNeill and Cominsky each recorded five tackles for loss. Both also had a solo sack.


Hutchinson, meanwhile, picked off a pass for the second time in three weeks, and also fell on a fumble. The challenge of facing Daniel Jones, a quarterback who has made few mistakes this season, Detroit created pressure and caused three turnovers.

Linebackers: B-

Malcolm Rodriguez returned to action after missing last week’s game and started alongside Alex Anzalone. Derrick Barnes , Chris Board both contributed to certain situations.

Detroit’s linebackers struggled in coverage, as New York made a living with short passing routes early in the game. Additionally, Barkley made an impact with two catches for 16 yards. The Giants targeted Rodriguez immediately with a quick pass to Barkley.

While the passing game was difficult, the linebackers were able to stop the run. Anzalone had five tackles, while Rodriguez had four.

Secondary: B-

Kerby Joseph continued his ball-hawking ways with his third interception in as many weeks. Will Harris also had a hand in the fourth quarter turnover that Hutchinson recovered.

Detroit was tested as Jeff Okudah entered concussion protocol in the first half. He did not return. In his absence, Harris Amani Oruwariye , and Jerry Jacobs were given the reps.

Oruwariye, who was penalized six times earlier in the season against Minnesota, was called for defensive holding in the fourth quarter.

Robinson led the Giants with 100 receiving yards on nine catches, while Darius Slayton finished with 85 yards. Detroit’s depleted second held up, but it was not broken. It will be tested further on Thursday if Okudah is unable to return.

Special teams: A-

Jack Fox averaged 48.2 yards per punt on five attempts, landing one inside the 20. He had one touchback but boomed a 63-yarder that flipped the field in the second quarter.

Michael Badgley proved his worth Sunday by nailing all of his extra point attempts as well as a 24-yard field goal. Graham Gano, Giants kicker, missed both of his point after attempts.

Justin Jackson totaled 62 yards on two kick return attempts, one of which was a 36-yard scamper to open the second half.

Coaching: A

Sunday proved to be one of Campbell’s best coaching efforts. He was careful in his decision-making. He chose to take the points on Detroit’s first possession rather than attempt a fourth-down try.

The Lions did not force the issue on Sunday. Instead, the coaches responded well to the circumstances.

Detroit offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson continued to roll with a well-planned gameplan that attacked Giants’ interior defense.

On one side, the Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn devised a plan that directed Barkley to the edges where defensive ends were waiting for him to make plays. The Penn State product was rarely allowed to run as Detroit received the best efforts of players like McNeill and Cominsky.

It’s not clear how long this good mood will last for the Lions ,, but Campbell and his coaches are learning how to win consistently. The team has won three consecutive games and has shown a renewed level of confidence by finishing with touchdowns in each quarter.

Detroit will be tested Thursday against the Bills. Its performance on Thanksgiving should be used as a measuring stick, as to the stability of its success for the remainder of the 2022 season.

Read More