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Ten Game Notes From PFF & What I Think About Them - Lions Edition

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PFF spills the beans on the Bears - Lions game, and I respond

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Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears
Kyle Long #75 of the Chicago Bears blocks Akeem Spence #97 of the Detroit Lions 
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Our friends at Pro Football Focus (PFF) provide the Windy City Gridiron with some of their thoughts for us to use as references following each Chicago Bears game.

I thought I would share with you this week’s PFF insights in full, and give my views on their grades and opinions.

Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

​​Week 11 Bears Offensive Stats:

  1. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky found most of his success throwing to the middle of the field, and he earned a 70.2 overall grade. He was just 5-of-14 for 21 yards and a touchdown throwing outside of the numbers, as compared to 13-of-15 for 158 yards throwing in between. He was 0-for-6 on throws outside the numbers that traveled 10 or more yards in the air, as opposed to 6-of-7 for 90 yards in the middle. KM responds: Accuracy was an issue for Trubisky going outside, indeed, but outside is the “Darious Slay” zone and not many teams make their living throwing at that man. Overall, Trubisky’s best game as a pro, but there were still may flaws that need cleaning up. It’s a long road.
  2. The Bears' offensive line did a much better job of keeping Mitchell Trubisky clean this week. He was under pressure on seven of his 33 drop backs (21.2 percent), his lowest rate of pressure since taking over as starter. He was 3-of-6 for 39 yards under pressure in the game, as opposed to 15-of-24 for 140 yards and a touchdown when kept clean. KM responds: Perhaps the weakest unit of the Detroit Lions overall is their pass rush, so this may be as much Detroit’s inability to generate pressure as it is great blocking.
  3. Running back Jordan Howard had a lot of room to run and saw a 78.1 overall grade. He picked up 51 yards after contact as a part of his 125-yard performance, forcing four missed tackles on 15 carries. He was not targeted on 11 routes run. KM responds: Jordan Howard is, at this point in his career, a great runner who is a liability in the pass game. One can hope he will improve over time, but I suspect he probably “is who he is” in the passing game. Still, he’s breaking records left and right so I’ll take that!
  4. All five of wide receiver Dontrelle Inman's targets in the game traveled 10 or more yards in the air. All five of running back Tarik Cohen's targets came behind the line of scrimmage, but Cohen was the only Bears receiver to force a missed tackle after the catch in the game. KM responds: Right now, we have ONE WR who’s playing at a pro level, Dontrelle Inman. One.
  5. Both left Josh Sitton and center Cody Whitehair did not allow a single pressure on 35 pass blocking snaps. Let tackle Charles Leno and right tackle Bobby Massie each allowed two hurries in the game, while right guard Kyle Long was the team's lowest-graded offensive lineman at 42.4 overall, in large part due to a 36.9 run-blocking grade and two penalties. KM responds: The pass protection, again, was against a Lions team that can struggle to get pressure. Kyle Long’s penalties hurt his score a lot. They were pretty harsh on the run game, I’ve gone back to the All-22 and... they were pretty harsh scoring on him.

​​Week 11 Bears Defensive Stats:

  1. Two of the Bears' veteran pass-rushers failed to generate pressure on quarterback Matthew Stafford, as defensive end Akiem Hicks and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee came up empty handed on 37 and 23 pass-rushing snaps, respectively. Hicks was able to make up for it with some solid run defense, earning a 77.2 overall grade, while McPhee ended up at 44.6 overall. KM responds: The pass rush was not what it needed to be. McPhee? I expect him to be a cut candidate over the off season.
  2. Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd had a fine performance before leaving with his injury, seeing a 79.9 overall grade. He generated two hits and two hurries on 26 pass-rushing snaps, but his best work came against the run, where he generated two stops and was disruptive through the first three quarters. KM responds: Floyd had another excellent game, he was disruptive everywhere. Thankfully the news on his knee is a lot better than it could have been, but I expect him to be IR’d some time soon.
  3. Cornerback Kyle Fuller gave up a couple of big plays but held his own otherwise for a 77.6 overall grade. He was targeted five times on 33 coverage snaps, allowing two catches for 64 yards, including 25 yards after the catch. He also missed a tackle in the game, but he did have a pass breakup and two dropped interceptions. KM responds: The eyeball test on Kyle wasn’t nearly as kind to him as the PFF grades were. Honestly, shutting down those good WR’s Detroit has is a big ask, and Fuller did OK. Had he held on to the two picks, it would have been outstanding. He didn’t.
  4. Safety Eddie Jackson ended up as the team's lowest-graded qualifying player at 41.4 overall. He was only targeted twice, allowing one catch for two yards, but he was beaten in coverage other times and missed two tackles in the game, one of which was nullified by a penalty. He finished with only one stop to his name. KM responds: Jackson had a “rookie” game, but he wasn’t as bad as PFF is letting on. This is a very good Detroit offense.
  5. Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio chose not to bring the heat against quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Bears' defense blitzed on just three of Stafford's 36 drop backs, sacking him once. On the whole, Chicago pressured him on 11 drop backs, and Stafford was just 3-of-7 for 36 yards and a touchdown under pressure. KM responds: Blitzing Matthew Stafford is a recipe for disaster, he has deadly accuracy and a quick release, and he also has veteran WR’s who know how to get open early when the blitz is on.

SO... what say you. Did PFF nail it this week or are they off base? Do my responses make sense or am I full of beans?