Lions Week 11 Grades: Defense Finding Groove at Key Time

AJ Parker Alex Anzalone

Getty AJ Parker celebrates his interception with Alex Anzalone vs. the Browns in 2021.

The Detroit Lions remain close to breaking through and scoring their first win of the season, but continue to fall apart in the critical moments leading to losses on the field.

Week 11 was no departure from that norm. The Cleveland Browns blasted out to a big 13-0 lead on the Lions by halftime, but as Detroit so often does, they rallied to cut the deficit down by the waining moments of the fourth quarter to keep the game interesting. At some point, the Lions may win one of these games, but for right now, they’re still waiting for their big break.

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how do the grades shape up for this week? Here’s a look at some of the marks the Lions earned for their Week 11 performance on the field.

Grading Lions’ Offense vs. Browns


The only thing that prevents this week from being a total failure is the fact that D’Andre Swift stepped up and delivered once again, with 136 yards and 1 touchdown on some stellar running. Swift continues to look solid, and was the key cog for Detroit’s entire offense again with this spectacular run:

Otherwise, the rest of the team didn’t deliver a performance to write home about at all. Tim Boyle only threw for 77 yards and 2 interceptions on the day. Detroit’s leading receiver was tight end T.J. Hockenson, who had only 51 yards on the day and didn’t get into the end zone. Their leading wideout was Amon-Ra St. Brown, who had only 18 yards receiving. In other words, not much else went right for the Lions, leading to another low grade.

Grading Lions’ Defense vs. Browns


On the other hand, Detroit’s undermanned defense continues to show some major signs of playing well. The Lions struggled to contain a solid Cleveland ground attack and allowed 184 rushing yards, but the good news was, they managed to keep generating turnovers on the day, forcing Baker Mayfield into a pair of interceptions, arguably the best of which was made by Amani Oruwariye.

Detroit’s defense pitched a shutout in the second half and once again seems to be playing inspired football for Aaron Glenn, who is doing a decent job given some of the roster limitations the team has seen so far this year. Youngsters like Jerry Jacobs, Alim McNeill, Derrick Barnes and others continue to learn on the job. Overall, the defense continues to keep the Lions in games, and that’s enough for a good grade.

Grading Lions’ Special Teams vs. Browns


Detroit’s new kicker Aldrick Rosas didn’t make a mess of the game like Ryan Santoso did in Week 10, so the fact he was perfect on an extra point as well as a field goal was notable for the team. Jack Fox continues to make history punting the ball in elite fashion. If the Lions get docked for anything, it was a mistake that prevented the ball being downed deep in Cleveland territory by Bobby Price. The return game also didn’t do much, but overall it was a much better effort for the Lions

Grading Lions Coaching Staff vs. Browns


It was another underwhelming day for the Detroit coaching staff, as Dan Campbell’s offense was far too passive on the day. Campbell has to start to open things up a bit and see if he can hit some deep passes. The team’s defense is playing very well for Aaron Glenn, and as a whole, the staff hasn’t been quit on at all by the players. To this end, the team deserves credit halfway through an ugly season.

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