Lions guards Frank Ragnow and Kenny Wiggins knew they had a tough task ahead of them heading into Sunday’s game against the Rams and All-Pro defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh.
Ragnow even said last week ahead of the matchup that Donald was the best football player he’d ever watched on film.
It turns out Ragnow and Wiggins did struggle to contain Donald and Suh. Together, Ragnow and Wiggins allowed two sacks, three quarterback hits and six hurries. Subsequently, they were the two lowest graded Lions players on offense by Pro Football Focus.
Donald and Suh have been doing this to opposing interior linemen all year long.
The Rams have played 12 games this year, and are 11-1 on the season. In seven of those 12 games, the two lowest graded players on the opposing offense were the two guards. That was the case against the Raiders (Week 1), Chargers (Week 3), Broncos (Week 6), Packers (Week 8), Saints (Week 9), Chiefs (Week 11) and Lions (Week 13).
In 10 of the Rams 12 games, the lowest overall graded player on an opponent’s offense was a guard. If we count Cardinals center Mason Cole in Week 2, it means an interior offensive lineman was the lowest graded performer the week they faced the Rams in 11 of the 12 contests.
Let’s simply call it the Donald & Suh effect.
In the seven games where the two guards were the lowest graded performers against the Rams' defense, they combined to allow 46 hurries, six sacks and seven other quarterback hits, per Pro Football Focus stats.
So while Ragnow and Wiggins struggled in Sunday’s 30-16 loss to the Rams, they certainly aren’t alone in that regard facing two of the best in the business in Donald and Suh.
"It was definitely quite the experience," Ragnow told reporters Monday. "You watch the tape and you see guys making mistakes and you think, 'Oh, I won’t make those mistakes,' and he makes you make those mistakes that you know you’re trying not to make.
“So, yeah, he’s a really good player. But it’s good to go against him like that because that’s the standard. That’s what I got to get to."
Pro Football Focus Week 13 stats:
Top 3 graded players on offense by Pro Football Focus vs. Los Angeles (at least 10 snaps):
- TE Levine Toilolo (91.2)
- LT Taylor Decker (74.7)
- WR Kenny Golladay (66.9)
Bottom 3 graded players on offense by Pro Football Focus vs. Los Angeles (at least 10 snaps):
- G Frank Ragnow (30.3)
- G Kenny Wiggins (36.4)
- WR TJ Jones (52.4)
Top 3 graded players on defense by Pro Football Focus vs. Los Angeles (at least 10 snaps):
- DT Damon Harrison (92.3)
- DT A’Shawn Robinson (90.1)
- DL Da'Shawn Hand (69.5)
Bottom 3 graded players on defense by Pro Football Focus vs. Los Angeles (at least 10 snaps):
- LB Jarrad Davis (36.7)
- CB Darius Slay (39.0)
- DE Ziggy Ansah (50.3)
Here are some other statistics, both good and bad, for the Lions after 13 weeks of football:
- Damon Harrison leads all NFL defensive tackles with 64 tackles. He has the second most run stuffs (8), and is the only defensive tackle with 60-plus tackles, eight tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles. Pro Bowl anyone?
- Detroit’s offense ranks 23rd in total yards per game and 25th in yards per play. They rank 29th in red-zone scoring at 47.6 percent. Only the New York Giants (47.4), 49ers (44.7) and New York Jets (36.7) are worse.
- Wide receiver Bruce Ellington has recorded 19 catches through his first three games with the Lions, the most combined receptions a Lions player has ever recorded in his first three games with the team. The previous record was 18, shared by Marvin Jones Jr. (2016) and Shaun McDonald (2007). Ellington has 115 yards in those three games for a 6.1 yard average per reception.
- Detroit's offense has left the field after a 3 & out just 20 times this season, or just 15.2 percent of their drives. Only the Rams, Saints, Buccaneers and Chiefs have a lower percentage of 3 & out drives.