Every Monday during the regular season, the "Detroit Lions' Scorecard" will take a closer look at the on field performance of an important positional group and rank their performance during the prior game.
Given a few injuries, prior to Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins, the Detroit Lions knew they'd need a big day out of one particular offensive group in order to win: the wide receivers.
After looking like the focal point of the offense a week before as they faded without him, Reggie Bush was missing from the lineup again, as was Patrick Edwards, who had come on before succumbing to an ankle injury. Shorthanded, the Lions were depending on Nate Burleson, the recently activated Ryan Broyles and perhaps even Kris Durham to come up with some big catches. They did it, in turn helping the Lions rack up 298 of a solid 378 passing yards.
With four clutch performances on the road, the receivers earn an A grade overall, which was fantastic given the circumstances they were facing.
1. Nate Burleson, A+. Burleson enjoyed his best day as a Lion since 2010, contributing 116 receiving yards and looking like an elusive threat all afternoon. Most impressively, Burleson had explosion, breaking behind the defense a few times and moving the chains. Huge credit to Burleson, a veteran, for taking it upon himself to lead the way behind Calvin Johnson and get the job done. It was a very strong day for Burleson.
2. Calvin Johnson, A+. Making an impossible looking catch in traffic for the touchdown, Johnson quietly earned himself a top rating again, snagging 115 yards through the air and remaining a top target for Matthew Stafford. Johnson didn't do anything spectacular on Sunday, but was a solid target for Stafford over the middle of the field, and shockingly, was left alone plenty of times by Washington's secondary.
3. Ryan Broyles, A. Coming off his latest knee injury and being inactive for the first two weeks, it was difficult to say what Broyles would bring to the table on Sunday. So far, so good for the young wide out, who made a few solid catches in traffic over the middle of the field. Broyles also showed some speed. Credit him for coming back sooner than perhaps anticipated and still being able to make a small impact. As Broyles continues to get back up to game shape, expect him to look better as the season goes on.
4. Kris Durham, C+. Despite having a hard time with a few early drops, Durham rebounded nicely with a huge 33 yard catch in the fourth quarter to help the Lions salt the game away. That play helped Detroit win, meaning Durham was important and shook off his early problems to make a huge play. He might frustrate fans from time to time with drops and probably should not be targeted as much as he was, but as he gains confidence, watch for the large Durham to become a bigger part of the offense.
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