Lions Grades vs. Bengals: Offense Earns First Failure of 2021

Jamaal Williams

Getty Jamaal Williams runs into a wall against the Bengals in a 2021 game.

The Detroit Lions had another awful week on the field, and it led to their eventual 0-6 record, the worst in the NFL right now. As a result, there aren’t a lot of high marks to go around on the field for Week 6.

Detroit was embarrassed in the game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and while they kept it close again for stretches, there were some notable lapses in execution which hurt the team on both sides of the ball. Perhaps notably, this game felt like the first time the Lions perhaps gave in a bit on the field in 2021.

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So what type of marks do the Lions get on the field for their play this week? Here’s a look at the ledger for the Lions.

Grading Lions’ Offense vs. Bengals


There was nothing good about what the Lions offense did in this game. Detroit produced only 11 points and 228 yards of total offense in the game. Worse, they only rushed for 36 yards on the afternoon, which proved the fact that they were being shut down in a big way. Jared Goff didn’t play well at all with only 202 yards through the air and 1 interception. His wide receivers didn’t help in carrying the load at all, as the interception showed.

Perhaps the only player who stepped up was T.J. Hockenson with 74 yards. This may have been the worst offensive effort of the season collectively, and nothing felt right in the game whatsoever. For this reason, the Lions fail this week and don’t make the grade whatsoever. They will have to improve in a big way moving forward if they want to give the team any chance of winning.

Grading Lions’ Defense vs. Bengals


Once again, Detroit’s defense did a decent job in the game, forcing 1 turnover and also collecting 2 sacks. The Lions had also only allowed 10 points into halftime. Then, in the second half, things fell apart in a big way and the Lions seemed to give in. One of the first plays out of half was an ugly touchdown in which the Lions failed to make any type of play on the ball. This was not the effort level of a winning defense:

24 points later, the game was over. All things considered, Detroit held their own on the day, but the defense can only do so much when the offense doesn’t meet them halfway whatsoever. It’s hard to grade the Lions too harshly on this side of the ball, so the only reason they get a lower grade is showing some give in the second half when they haven’t previously.

Grading Lions’ Special Teams vs. Bengals


Six games into the season, it’s becoming clear that the Lions will never completely lose a game based on their special teams. Jack Fox is a solid punter and had another great game with 333 yards on punts and one kick inside the 20. This year, he’s once again shown signs of being one of the best punters in the entire league. Austin Seibert was good on his lone field goal attempt and extra point as well. This season, he’s a surprising 6-7 on field goals when he was signed jus prior to the season. Detroit didn’t get much from their return game with only 114 yards between Kalif Raymond and Tom Kennedy on punt and kick returns, but there were no galling mistakes there, either. Overall, this was probably the best position group for the team on the afternoon.

Grading Lions’ Coaches vs. Bengals


The Detroit staff continues to struggle with decision making and aggressiveness. The Lions rolled the dice and went on fourth down and passed up a long field goal with the game firmly in the balance, and a penalty and ill-advised decision by the quarterback was the result. Dan Campbell should realize he cannot trust a weakened offense implicitly in all these short yardage situations. Defensively, the game plan was good, but the execution became poor in the second half. Offensively, Anthony Lynn may have came into the game with a decent approach, but never really got to show it with as badly as his team struggled. The staff wasn’t the reason the Lions lost the game, but this week, they were fairly average.

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