Victory Monday is a concept Detroit Lions fans haven’t been able to experience much over the last five years, until now. For the sixth time in seven games, the Lions won on Sunday.
The Week 15 win over the New York Jets evened Detroit’s record at 7-7 after a 1-6 start. The 20-17 road win also kept the Lions’ postseason hopes very much alive with three games to play.
Detroit exited the game without any significant new injuries, a pleasant development that leads to a pretty insightful snap count tally. The initial game grades from Pro Football Focus are also available, and they tell an interesting story with their numbers, too.
Offensive snap count
The entire regular starting offensive line played all 68 snaps, a great sign for the Lions. Detroit used an extra lineman a total of four times, with Dan Skipper playing three snaps and Matt Nelson two; they were both on the field for one play.
The three-WR set dominated the day. Amon-Ra St. Brown (57), DJ Chark (52) and Josh Reynolds (40) were the next three in total snap counts. Kalif Raymond played 20, while rookie Jameson Williams was on the field for 13 as the Lions slowly integrate him into the offense.
For the first time all year, two RBs got more snaps than regular starter Jamaal Williams. D’Andre Swift played 27 of the 68 snaps, followed by Justin Jackson (22) and then Williams (21). No. 4 RB Craig Reynolds was inactive for the game. Fullback Jason Cabinda played 10.
PFF Grades - offense
The top offensive overall grade went to WR Amon-Ra St. Brown with an 82.7. His grade was bolstered by a strong 70.1 run blocking grade.
The rest of the top five on offense:
WR Kalif Raymond 79.5
RT Penei Sewell 78.1
LT Taylor Decker 73.7
RB D’Andre Swift 70.1
Special mention for Decker, who did not allow a sack for the eighth straight game. He did give up two pressures against the Jets but finished his sixth straight game with zero penalties.
Swift had his highest run grade since Week 1, and his five receptions helped cover his one dropped pass in the receiving grade.
RB Justin Jackson 38.6
WR Josh Reynolds 51.1
TE James Mitchell 51.2
QB Jared Goff 51.8
TE Shane Zylstra 53.1
Goff had his lowest-graded game since Week 11 in part because of his low 5.0 average depth of target. That’s his lowest ADOT of the season and well below his 7.6-yard average.
Defensive snap counts
Only one Lions defender played all 63 snaps, and that was rookie safety Kerby Joseph. Three others left the field for just one play:
LB Alex Anzalone
CB Jerry Jacobs
CB Jeff Okudah
Rookie DE Aidan Hutchinson continues to log a heavy percentage of snaps. Hutchinson played 54 snaps, the most of any of the linemen. John Cominsky was in for 51, Isaiah Buggs for 36, Alim McNeill for 31. Rookie Josh Paschal played just 14 at DE, but some of his regular snaps went to Romeo Okwara, who played 26 in his second game back from Achilles surgery. Rookie James Houston played a career-high 25, all in pass-rush situations.
At LB, Anzalone dominated the reps. Rookie Malcolm Rodriguez played 36 of the 63 snaps, Chris Board and Jarrad Davis played 10 each. Early tracking indicates the Lions used three or more LBs on nine of the 63 defensive snaps.
PFF grades - defense
Aidan Hutchinson earned the top grade for Detroit’s defense with an overall 83.4. his 81.0 run defense grade and 74.6 tackling grade also topped all Lions defenders.
Rounding out the top five:
DT Alim McNeill 78.6
S C.J. Moore 71.9
LB Alex Anzalone 71.5
LB Malcolm Rodriguez 70.0
Rodriguez was hurt by a poor tackling grade of 29.2, though the rookie managed the best coverage grade (67.0) on the entire team. Anzalone logged a team-high four QB hurries, none more important than on the Jets’ final offensive play.
LB Jarrad Davis 32.2
DT Benito Jones 42.4
CB Jeff Okudah 43.4
CB Jerry Jacobs 47.3
S DeShon Elliott 48.0
Okudah and Jacobs both got picked on a lot by the Jets — 24 combined targets. Jacobs’ grade is one that needs some explanation from PFF; he allowed five completions on 10 targets but those receptions, combined with his interception, produced a passer rating against of just 34.6–which is exceptional. Nearly all of his YAC came on one reception where he missed his only tackle.
By way of comparison, PFF had rookie safety Kerby Joseph on the hook for two receptions allowed. Both went for touchdowns and he missed tackles on both too. Yet his coverage grade (52.2) and overall grade (53.6) were significantly higher than Jacobs’.