Detroit Lions report card for week 6 loss to the New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 15: Mark Ingram II #22 of the New Orleans Saints reaches the ball over the goal line for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 15, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 15: Mark Ingram II #22 of the New Orleans Saints reaches the ball over the goal line for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 15, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The grades are in for the Detroit Lions’ wild week 6 loss to the New Orleans Saints. See how each position graded out as the Lions hit their bye week.

The 3-2 Detroit Lions faced the 2-2 New Orleans Saints in their week six NFL game. The game never was as close as the final 52-38 final score indicated, as the Saints led 45-10 at one point in the second half. The Lions fell to 3-3 on the year losing 38-52.

Here are the grades for the positional groups.



Matthew Stafford turned the ball over early and often. Fumbles, interceptions, missed receivers, this was one of his most unstable performances under offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. The results were obvious as the Saints opened up a 45-10 lead and Stafford was hit again and again.  When he was able to get passes off the Saints defense tipped them at an astounding rate. One praise of Stafford the past two years is his ability to extend plays with a subpar offensive line, with his mounting injuries (ankle, hamstring/thigh, and ribs) he is not able to make up for the lines shortcomings at this time.

Grade: C-

Wide Receiver

Marvin Jones and Golden Tate have potential to be a great tandem in this league, however Jones still disappears for series at a time and Tate is still not a downfield threat and is injured again. Stafford is running out of players to throw to as Kenny Golladay remains inactive as well. Tate and Jones had great touchdown catches this week as Tate turned a short gain into a long TD and Jones elevated with one hand making a catch in the end zone despite pass interference on the play.

Grade: C+

Tight End

Eric Ebron is lost. The safety valve of the offense is a joke of an option at this point. He needs to get his head right and the further into the year it gets, the less likely that seems plausible.  Brandon Fells continues to be stable, especially in the blocking game and red zone, but will never be a spectacular playmaker. The Lions need to address this position in the offseason again, and this time get it right.

Grade: C

Running Back

Ameer Abdullah showed big play ability early on and had several runs of 4+ yards early on. As the game escaped the Lions the running game went by the wayside and with that the results. Theo Riddick was good in the passing game, which is to be expected. This unit will not thrive if the Lions continue to play from behind and the offensive line cannot form some cohesiveness.

Grade: C

Offensive Line

The offensive line is mangled. Injuries to Taylor Decker, T.J. Lang, and Ricky Wagner have left this unit decimated. The bottom line, however, is this is the NFL and the backups have to perform.  They have not the last three weeks and appear unable to protect the quarterback at all. If the line and the coaching staff cannot figure something out Stafford will end the year on the injured reserve list.  At this point it has gone from concerning to unacceptable. The only reason this is not an F is because of Abdullahs’s early success.

Grade: D-


Defensive Line

The only player that seems to be consistently active on the defensive line 6 games into the season is A’Shawn Robinson. Ezekiel Ansah continues to be a shell of himself due to injury and no one else on the line has shown the ability to be consistent from play to play, series to series, and week to week. Without pressure upfront the linebackers and secondary will continue to be stretched thin, tired, and less active in the late stages of games.

Grade: C-


Tahir Whitehead continues to be the most consistent tackler and performer in the linebacking corp. Jarrad Davis continues to show flashes as a rookie and make a few nice plays a week.  The unit is still drastically overmatched in coverage as tight ends and running backs make big plays in the passing game. They are also often confused on responsibilities in zone coverage, especially on plays underneath to the slot receiver.

Grade: C-


This unit continues to tackle well, especially in the running game. That sounds like a good thing, however it means that the opposing team is getting to the second level during running plays too often. On passing downs the coaching staff is too dependent on zone coverage.  Darius Slay is good in man to man and Quandry Diggs has been better than expected.  The Lions may benefit from more man to man in the secondary as the tendency has been for opposing teams to run underneath and sit in the soft spots of the zone.  This leads to lots of big plays over the middle and underneath the safety.

Grade: C+

Special Teams

Jamal Agnew is a dynamic returner in the punting game scoring his second TD of the year, yet he still made a costly mistake this week that indirectly led to points for the Saints.  It would be nice to see him eliminate mistakes and also become more of a weapon in kickoff returns.  Matt Prater missed another field goal from over 50 yards this week, he is normally solid from this range.

Grade: B


There is a disturbing trend with this staff lacking the ability to adjust during the games on both sides of the ball. The Lions have been hit hard with injuries, but the coaching staff must be able to  counter the opposition and their adjustments. This has not happened consistently, and it was evident as the Saints dominated both sides of the ball, specifically in the trenches throughout the game.

Fans must question the decision making in regards to Stafford continuing the game when he was continually hit as the offensive line failed keeping him upright.  He came into the game with an injured leg, and appeared to have added to his malaise with a rib or chest injury. This team is a 3- to 5-win team without him, his health should be a priority in a blow out. Someone watching the game on the couch leaves their quarterback in for a miracle comeback, a head coach makes millions to make better decisions, especially given the knowledge of the injury to Aaron Rodgers within the division.

Next: Lions' week 6 game balls

The Lions can still win this division, but not without Stafford, next time Jim Caldwell needs to sacrifice a potential miracle for the good of the season and his quarterback.

Grade: F