Analysis and grades at the midpoint of the 2011 season ...
PASSING OFFENSE: B -- QB Matthew Stafford
has the fifth best passer rating in the NFL. He has been patient beyond his years, rarely forcing passes into danger zones. Thus the 19 touchdown-to-four-interceptions ratio. WR Calvin Johnson
has 11 touchdowns in eight games; a feat matched only by Randy Moss.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- They will tell you it has been efficient, that it has very few negative plays and defenses still have to honor the play fake. But at 95.2 yards per game, it ranks 27th in the league. Worse, there is major uncertainty regarding RB Jahvid Best
's health (he's had two concussions this season).
PASS DEFENSE: A -- The defensive line continues to wreak havoc. They are fourth in the league with 24 sacks, first in the league in forcing three-and-outs and their 18-to-5 takeaway ratio is best in the league. Chris Houston
has returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns.
RUSH DEFENSE: C -- They have given up far too many long runs and are 30th statistically against the run. But they are tough to budge in short-yardage situations -- they have nine stops in third- or fourth-and-1 situations.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C- -- PK Jason Hanson
is the only bright spot. The coverage teams have been spotty. Return ace Stefan Logan has been hesitant on his punt returns and he's fumbled away a kickoff return. Rookie P Ryan Donahue
has been inconsistent all season.
COACHING: A -- You have to look real hard to find anything to complain about. The team has been prepared every week. They have made sound in-game adjustments. They have won all four road games. They have not allowed the success to soften or alter their process.