It wasn’t a good first, third or fourth quarter for the Lions and it wasn’t a good fake field goal play calling day for Jim Schwartz or Sam “I could’ve checked out of the play but I liked the call” Martin, but the offensive line wasn’t bad. It even saw the return of an old friend: Mean Larry Warford.
The right guard had his best day in four weeks. He and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle combined to make enough pancakes to open their own homeless shelter. Warford also caused Troy Polamalu to pull a Claude Lemieux on a screen pass, allowing Joique Bell an extra 20 yards. His only semi-mistake was when he let Cameron Heyward spin off and run around the line for the sack, but he also got unlucky on the play, getting his feet tangled with Waddle’s.
Speaking of Waddle, he didn’t have another day that would earn him tons of groupies, but it was still solid, even if it was a bit inconsistent. He had a handful of straight pancakes, and a couple other nice blocks. My personal favorite came on the second-to-last offensive play the Lions ran. Waddle switched off on a block and pushed the defender down with one hand. He got one hand on a defender at other times, but those guys didn’t fall down. They ran past him. That was a change from his first few games.
Center Dominic Raiola and left guard Rob Sims finished on a similar level as Waddle, although they got there in different ways. Sims became a creator of great plays and a victim of great plays by the other team. Raiola was much more subdued. He just went about blocking people. Evolutionary. Little of it was spectacular but it was effective. He made just one mistake in the passing game: he couldn’t handle a bull rush and got driven into Matt Stafford.
Left tackle Riley Reiff played at a level only slightly below the last three. He got blown by, giving up a tackle for a loss and recorded his fourth penalty of the year, more than the rest of the line combined. He wasn’t all bad, but when compared with four others who put in a solid day’s work, he’s at the bottom.
Run game breakdown
Stafford had two scrambles and one rush on a broken play. Remove those and the Lions rushed 22 times for 86 yards. If you think that’s bad look at the stats for the Bengals game.
Not much here. Pretty even. The YPC disparity isn’t much and there’s an easy explanation: the right side blocked better.
Chances of Rodney Austin making the lineup: Why is this still a weekly feature?
Offensive lineman weekly rankings:
1. Larry Warford
2. LaAdrian Waddle
3. Rob Sims
4. Dominic Raiola
5. Riley Reiff
Week 9: BYE