Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions: Live Grades and Analysis for Detroit

Nick KostoraContributor IIIOctober 27, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 02:  John Phillips #89 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions won a thrilling game against the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 31-30 to move to 5-3 on the season

Detroit Lions Game Grades
Positional Unit1st-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseB-A
Pass DefenseA-B+
Run OffenseCA-
Run DefenseAA
Special TeamsBA
Lions vs. Cowboys

Final Grades for the Detroit Lions

Pass Offense: Calvin Johnson had one of the best receiving games in the history of the NFL. He caught 14 passes for 329 yards and took over this football game. Matthew Stafford threw to him at any and every opportunity, usually with great success. However, two interceptions from Stafford and fumbles from Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson were huge detriments to the Lions offense.

Pass Defense: Dez Bryant found ways to get open and score two touchdowns, but the Lions secondary played much better than anticipated. Quarterback Tony Romo threw for only 198 yards and the Cowboys benefited from great field position after the Lions gave away four turnovers.

Run Offense: Detroit went to the air to move the ball down the field, but the rushing game stepped up when it had to. Both Reggie Bush and Joique Bell found the end zone and had a combined 124 rushing yards. Bush’s fumble hurt, but he made some great plays in this game and was a catalyst for the offense.

Run Defense: Joseph Randle showed flashes early in this game but proved to be largely ineffective as Dallas counted on Romo to provide the little offense it had. Detroit’s front four was stout throughout the game, with Nick Fairley being the standout as he played through multiple nagging injuries.

Special Teams: David Akers made a chip-shot field goal, Sam Martin had lengthy punts throughout the game and Jeremy Ross injected life into a return game that had been terrible heading into this contest. This was one of the best special teams performances for Detroit all season.

Coaching: The coaches made all the right decisions in this game. Jim Schwartz was aggressive throughout the day, and both coordinators called plays that put the Lions in position to win. Turning the ball over four times is tough, but the Lions overcame a great deal of adversity.

/Getty Images


First-Half Grades for the Detroit Loins

Pass Offense: Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson hooked up on an 87-yard pass play to spark some life into Detroit’s offense. However, the Lions passing game has been largely stagnant outside of that play. Stafford has 192 passing yards and 13 completions to this point. The Cowboys are not allowing the Lions receivers to get behind them in coverage and Sean Lee has two critical interceptions.

Run Offense: Both Reggie Bush and Joique Bell are healthy, but the Lions run game has been increasingly mediocre in recent weeks. Bush is not finding many lanes to the outside and Bell is only being used sporadically. They have only 11 carries and 55 rushing yards between them in the first half.

Pass Defense: Tony Romo and the Cowboys passing game have been all but nonexistent so far in this contest. Romo has only 66 yards passing, but Dez Bryant made one of the best catches of the year on a second-quarter touchdown. Dallas does have five passing first downs, but this offense has not found much rhythm in this contest.

Run Defense: This should be one of the most favorable matchups of the season for Detroit’s run defense, as DeMarco Murray is not playing. However, Joseph Randle is playing well to this point and is at least forcing the Lions to respect him. Randle has 33 total yards and is a threat out of the backfield.

Special Teams: Sam Martin has found a quick return to form with three punts for 162 yards in the first half. Detroit has also mixed up its returners, with Ryan Broyles taking punt-return duties and Jeremy Ross handling kickoffs. Neither has been able to attempt a return yet.

Coaching: Jim Schwartz made a statement early in this game as he went for it on fourth down near the goal line instead of taking the easy three points. Detroit converted for a touchdown, but that was a bold play call regardless of the outcome. The Lions are playing to win.