It's safe to say Pro Football Focus hasn't looked too kindly on the play of Isaiah Simmons this year (which, to be honest, surprises me; I've felt quite a few times Simmons has played better than his PFF grade has indicated.) But out of the wreckage of Sunday, PFF gave Simmons a season-best 84.2 grade -- one of a number of good grades the defense with which the defense ended up with despite a bad day in Detroit.
Linebacker Markus Golden had the best grade of the day at 89.2. Young defensive linemen Leki Fotu (86.4) and Rashard Lawrence (83.7) did well, as did new third cornerback Antonio Hamilton (82.0), playing for the injured Robert Alford. Linebacker Jordan Hicks (76.5), lineman Zach Allen (72.6) and linebacker Devon Kennard (66.1) were the other solid grades.
The defensive snap distribution had some interesting outcomes. Hicks and cornerback Byron Murphy played all 65 snaps and safety Budda Baker was in for 64. But linebacker Devon Kennard was used for 28, the most he's played since the Houston game in Week 7, while cornerback Marco Wilson played only 43, his second-fewest of the season since going 15 and getting injured in Week 2. Hamilton was used for 25 snaps.
On the defensive line, Jordan Phillips played 28 before going out of the game with a knee injury, as did Rashard Lawrence in the most work he's had since coming back from a calf injury. Corey Peters played 25, Leki Fotu 21, and Michael Dogbe 19. Allen again led the defensive line with 53. At outside linebacker, Chandler Jones had 56 and Markus Golden 44.
The offensive grades were understandably lower, but once again, the high-level running back tandem of James Conner (78.8) and Chase Edmonds (78.4) made the most of their time on the field. With Edmonds coming back, the two ended up pretty much splitting time again, with 33 snaps for Conner and 29 for Edmonds.
Tackle Kelvin Beachum (77.) and wide receiver A.J. Green (71.9) were the only other offensive players with above average grades.
Green ended up playing 56 snaps, although veterans were pulled at the end of the game on offense when backup QB Colt McCoy went in. Christian Kirk played 72 of 75 snaps in the new Hopkins-less era, with tight end Zach Ertz with 67 and Hopkins replacement Antoine Wesley at 64. Rondale Moore only played 20 before getting hurt, while Andy Isabella played offense for only the second time this season and had a season-most 12 snaps.