Several Detroit Lions had noteworthy seasons in 2017.
Putting the Detroit Lions’ head coaching search aside for a minute, let’s take a moment to examine Detroit’s final performance of the 2017 season. While the Lions faced off against a lackluster Green Bay Packers team, there were a lot of impressive performances across the board on the Lions’ side of the field. Here’s a recap of the most notable performances, as graded by analytics website Pro Football Focus.
4 Lions finish in the top 10 at their position
The Detroit Lions may only have one Pro Bowler, but four different players ended up with season grades in the top 10 at their position. They are:
- S Glover Quin — Overall grade: 88.7 (5th)
- OT Rick Wagner — Overall grade: 82.2 (10th)
- CB Darius Slay — Overall grade: 88.5 (10th)
- WR Golden Tate — Overall grade: 86.1 (7th)
Outside of those four players, there were a few Lions that finished just outside the top 10, including Matthew Stafford (14th), T.J. Lang (12th) and Marvin Jones Jr. (17th).
Ezekiel Ansah finishes strong
Ziggy had himself a day against the Packers and it wasn’t just the 3.0 sacks that showed up on the box score. Ansah Produced six total quarterback pressures, resulting in an overall grade of 85.6—the fifth-highest mark of all edge defenders in Week 17. Despite a season plagued by injuries, Ansah finished with a very respectable PFF grade of 81.1, good for 37th (of 108) at his position.
Bad job, Joe Dahl
Many, myself included, suggested that with Travis Swanson’s future very much in doubt, Joe Dahl could become a permanent fixture at left guard given his promising play earlier in the year. However, Sunday was not a good example of that positive performance. According to PFF, Dahl was “a complete liability in the run game.” Even though he only allowed one quarterback pressure all game, he still earned a team-low 36.5 overall grade.
It was an up-and-down year for Tahir Whitehead, who will become a free agent in 2018 if the Lions don’t offer him a contract. Whitehead did his best to convince the Lions to keep him against the Packers. On Sunday, Whitehead produced an overall grade of 84.3, good for eighth best among all Week 17 linebackers.
Overall, Whitehead’s 2017 was a huge step up from last year. He produced the second-most run stop among all 4-3 outside linebackers, and his 79.1 overall grade was a huge jump from 2016’s mark of 36.5.
A wild A’Shawn Robinson appears!
Though his play has been above average, A’shawn Robinson has had a quiet sophomore season. His play hasn’t been all that flashy, which is typical for a space-filler like Robinson. However, that was not the case on Sunday. Robinson was in rare form, doing just about everything right, including rushing the passer—something he has struggled with all year.
According to PFF, he produced two quarterback pressures (and picked up 0.5 sacks) and added three run stops for the game. His 84.4 game grade was good enough for fourth-best on the team, and his season grade of 79.3 was a marked improvement from his rookie year (73.6).