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Lions Team Grades: Detroit Mounts Another Comeback To Defeat Jacksonville

By Michael Ferro

The Detroit Lions had a week off to recuperate and get some much-needed strength back on their defense. During their break, they also managed to slip into first place in the NFC North with Green Bay and Minnesota both losing. In week 11, the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars gave the Lions a bigger test than they might have anticipated. However, the Lions were able to put the game away in the end with a solid 26-19 victory. It also marked yet another fourth quarter comeback for the Lions who have made that storyline part of their regular repertoire.

Offense: C+

Jacksonville hadn't forced a turnover since week six before heading into Detroit. By mid second-half, they had forced two on the Lions. It was clear that if the Jaguars were going to have a chance at winning this game, they would need to make the Lions' offense hand the ball over, which they did -- much to the chagrin of Lions' fans everywhere who have seen better from their team lately. Once Detroit got the ball back, Eric Ebron answered that second turnover with a rushing touchdown to regain the lead in the fourth. It was his first touchdown since week one against the Colts and the first carry of his career.

The beginning of the game saw the Lions end up punting on many of their drives after lackluster plays. During the second half, though, the Lions managed to begin putting points on the board after a few impressive drives. If not for the effort of their special teams and defense, though, this might well have been a loss for the Lions.

Defense: B

The Lions' defense played well in the first half, but exploded out of the gate at the start of the second half. On the Jaguars' first drive, the Lions' Rafael Bush nabbed an interception off a poor pass from Jaguars' QB Blake Bortles that was returned for six.

Despite the Lions' win, their defense still allowed 16 first downs and allowed the Jaguars to win the time of possession battle. If Detroit hopes to hold onto their top spot in the NFC North, they'll need to improve their coverage and increase the pressure on quarterbacks for the remainder of their schedule. The return of linebacker DeAndre Levy should help on both counts.

Special Teams: A

Detroit kick returner Andre Roberts shined on the special teams unit in the second quarter with a masterful 55-yard punt return for a touchdown that took the wind out of the Jaguars' sails (though they did block the extra point attempt.) Before the second half ended, ace kicker Matt Prater nailed a 27-yard field goal to tie the game.

Matt Prater once again was clutch with less than 30 seconds left by kicking a perfect 43-yard field goal to cement the win for Detroit. All in all, the special teams put on one of their most impressive performances of the season during this game. While playing a struggling team like Jacksonville helped to boost their stats, hopefully it will also prove to boost their confidence as a squad, as well.

Coaching: B

Lions head coach, Jim Caldwell saw his team commit five penalties for 32 yards. While those aren't terrible numbers, they were greater than the Jaguars'. For the most part, Caldwell made some admirable calls while his offensive coordinator, Jim Bob Cooter, struggled mightily to get Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense rolling from the get go. Defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, on the other hand, seems to have done his homework.

Up Next: The Lions return for their annual Thanksgiving game on Thursday, November 24 when Detroit hosts Minnesota at 12:30 p.m. EST at Ford Field.

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