Detroit Lions News: Week Eleven’s top performers despite loss

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Considering the Detroit Lions got completely humiliated on Sunday by the Carolina Panthers, it’s difficult to find anything positive, but we did.

After losing 20-0 to an XFL quarterback, a backup running back, and a defense that has struggled to slow anyone down all season, I’ve still found a few positive Detroit Lions performers to highlight before Thanksgiving’s matchup with the Houston Texans.

Here’s a look at the Lions’ top performers from Sunday’s loss in Carolina.

Amani Oruwariye

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Recently I mentioned the Detroit Lions need to give cornerback Amani Oruwariye a larger workload moving forward.  The second-year player has been the teams’ top corner. Yet, head coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Cory Undlin seem to love using this foolish corner-rotation between Jeff Okudah and Oruwariye.

At this point, Oruwariye should not be coming off of the football field unless he’s injured.  The Lions continue to matchup veteran Desmond Trufant against their opponent’s top receiver; Trufant continues to struggle.  I’d love to see Oruwariye in this role to see how he performs.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Oruwaryie earned an elite 91.6 overall grade, the highest grade among all NFL cornerbacks in Week Eleven.

Oruwariye played a total of 49 snaps allowing just one catch for three yards on three total targets, along with completing five tackles.  Oruwariye also intercepted P.J. Walker in the end zone.

Okudah totaled 24 defensive snaps giving up six receptions on six targets and a team high 79 yards.  Once again, proving this cornerback rotation needs to stop.  His stellar run defense earned him an overall grade of 66.1, but his coverage mark came in at 52.6.

Desmond Trufant also pulled down an interception in the end zone but allowed five receptions on six targets totaling 69 yards and allowed a touchdown.  His 44.2 overall grade was the worst of the three outside corners.  Slot corner Justin Coleman also had a rough day earning an overall mark of 42.9.

Reggie Ragland/Jamie Collins

The Detroit Lions received a fantastic performance from veteran linebacker Reggie Ragland Sunday especially defending the run.  According to PFF, Ragland earned an excellent 90.9 grade, by far his best of the season, led by that stout 92.8 mark when defending the run.

Ragland played just 30 snaps but proved to be efficient when called upon, and that’s all any can expect.  Ragland forced a fumble, completed three tackles, and had one quarterback hurry.

It was just another Sunday for the Detroit Lions top linebacker, Jamie Collins.  The veteran backer continues to thrive in this Detroit defense (aside from the Minnesota game) week after week regardless of the result.

Collins earned an overall mark of 81.4 that included seven tackles, three stops, and one hurry.  The veteran linebacker did allow four receptions on five targets but only for 38 total yards.

T.J. Hockenson

The often scrutinized tight T.J. Hockenson continues to impress in his second year.  It’s not Hockenson’s fault he was a top-ten draft pick; all he can control is how he performs on the football field.  That has been something he’s been doing very well in 2020 and consistently.

Hockenson currently ranks as the eighth-best overall tight end, according to PFF.  That is taking everything into account, blocking, pass-catching, etc.  Of those top-eight, Hockenson has played the second-most total snaps (459); only Travis Kelce (584), the top-ranked tight end in 2020, has more. Hockenson has played the 14th most snaps this season at his position.

Next. Darrell Bevell’s play-calling leads to feeling nauseous. dark

In Week Eleven, Hockenson produced 41 total yards after the catch, the most he’s accomplished to date in any single game this season.  Hockenson made four catches totaling 68 yards along with one drop.