Detroit – Three Performances of Note
Fairley Brings his A-game
Ever since his debut in a Detroit victory on Monday Night Football last season Nick Fairley has shown glimpses and flashes of being a destructive defensive tackle, but in recent weeks, and especially this week, he really put it all together for a full game. There wasn’t a quarter in the game where Fairley was kept quiet, as he proved to be a disruptive force to the Green Bay offense throughout. Fairley drew two hurries from Josh Sitton on the Packers’ second drive (one nullified), a sack and two pressures in the second quarter and then forced a fumble from Rodgers in the third stanza. In the past three weeks Fairley has an overall grade of +13.1, making him the form defensive tackle in the entire league. If teams are gravitating towards Ndamukong Suh, terrified of him making game changing plays against them, then they need to start realizing that the Lions have another defensive tackle who can easily make them pay in one-on-one situations as well.
Jekyll and Hyde for Peterman
This was definitively a game of two halves for Stephen Peterman who was as almost as good a run blocker (+2.6) in this game as he was bad in protecting Stafford against pass rushers (-4.5). Peterman allowed seven pressures (all hurries) in a game for the second time this season, and those two games (2 Sk, 5 Hu in Week 7) have accounted for half the hurries he has allowed all season. In allowing three of his seven hurries to Ryan Pickett, the Lions’ RG gave up the Packer’s best game as a pass rusher since Green Bay’s conference championship victory in Chicago back in 2010. Of concern for Peterman is that he was beaten in a variety of different ways, rather than just showing one glaring weakness. Pickett beat him inside, outside and via bullrush for his three pressures, while B.J. Raji and Mike Daniels also got the better of him on bullrush. Things were better in the run game, as Peterman consistently sealed defenders down inside, but showing such a weakness against a Green Bay interior defensive line that has not rushed the passer well this season should be concerning to Detroit fans.
It would be remiss of me to pass comment on performances of note from this game without lending some time to Stafford’s bad day. After a fine run of form in the last month (+10.6 in the Lions’ past three games) Stafford came crashing down to earth with his lowest graded game since the Lions last hosted Green Bay on Thanksgiving last season. The Packers’ secondary had the upper hand on the Lions’ from the first drive of the game, and Stafford didn’t help matters from there on in. Put simply, he forced passes that weren’t on and missed passes that were. Stafford turned the ball over twice and was biblically inefficient in collecting 22 incompletions on 39 pass attempts. The Lions’ got a handful of big plays down the field, one of Stafford’s more efficient regions of the field (3/8, 108 yards, 1 TD) but there were plays missed downfield that held the Lions back as well. The Lions and Stafford were teetering on the brink, but this performance and this loss may have tipped both over the edge to a bad season that will have to be consigned to ‘character building’.