Last week’s game was a horrible showing by the Lions, having no type of offense and the defense allowed 30 points. This week Detroit was looking to reverse that, and sadly, it wasn’t really any better. The first team played the entire first half and while at times they looked like they were on point, they still couldn’t put six points on the board and penalties killed them once again. The defense still wasn’t pretty and definitely isn’t what we expected to see. Next week will be a fight to stay on the roster for many people as the starters will have the week off and the backups will lead the charge against Buffalo. Let’s check out what happened this week.
Preseason Week 3 Review
Matthew Stafford had his worst game of the preseason, going 14 for 23 for 95 yards and he threw an interception. Stafford got sacked two times and had to try and escape pressure many times, twice having to run for 15 yards and even catching his own pass as the defender batted the ball back to him. Catching his own pass was a mistake, but in the scheme of things, wasn’t that big of an issue. Dan Orlovsky came in and for the first time this preseason, he did not throw a pick six, which is an improvement, but he still only went 4 for 7 for 49 yards. Jake Rudock came in and went 0 for 6. He threw three good passes that were dropped by receivers and he got creamed on one play. This was his worst week, but it wasn’t entirely his fault.
Theo Riddick lead the running backs in yards with three carries for 35 yards, even breaking a few tackles for a 34 yard run. Ameer Abdullah made his preseason debut and he had four carries for 16 yards, still making players miss with his nice cuts. Zach Zenner had three rushes for 13 yards as well and preseason underdog Dwayne Washington had three carries for 2 yards, hurting his chances at being one of the 53 come week one. All together the run game improved as the team had 101 yards total on 19 carries. While this isn’t overly impressive, it is a small step in the right direction.
Golden Tate and T.J. Jones lead the team in receiving yards with 29 each. Marvin Jones had three catches for 25 yards and Anquan Boldin had three catches for 22 yards. Andre Roberts had a nice grab of 14 yards, but the Quinshad Davis and Cole Wick hype has died completely. Wick pulled in two catches for 20 yards, but cost Abdullah a touchdown with a bad holding penalty. Quinshad Davis had two chances to get a grab and dropped both, likely bursting his chances of making the team.
The first team offensive line didn’t do well again. Laken Tomlinson had a boneheaded unnecessary roughness flag and Riley Reiff got a flag for protecting his quarterback. It was sad to even see a flag thrown in the NFL for such an offense. The offensive line was faced with pressure for most of the day and couldn’t help the run game break out. The quarterbacks were just trying to stay alive all game with four sacks taken.
The defensive line for Detroit wasn’t very impressive either. Khyri Thornton and Haloti Ngata grabbed two sacks, but they allowed 134 yards on 35 carries. This wasn’t horrible, but if they were playing against a high-talent player such as Adrian Peterson, they would have been torched. Anthony Zettel forced a fumble which helped lead the lions to the final field goal of the game.
DeAndre Levy shockingly returned to play this week. Now it was known that he was back in practice and ready to go, but nobody expected him to play this preseason. He only had two tackles in the short time out on the field. Tahir Whitehead had four tackles and was injured, but luckily returned to the game. Zaviar Gooden reeled in five tackles, one of them going for loss. Antwione Williams had six tackles and looked like a fifth round draft pick. Overall not a bad day for the linebacking core, but I would have liked to see more.
Defensive backs are a different story. Nevin Lawson was tested early and often, sadly he lost majority of those battles, ending with only two tackles. Darius Slay lead the group with six tackles and Darrin Walls was the man who let Baltimore score all over him. Walls was horrible in coverage and let receivers get open over and over again. He only had two tackles, but allowed a touchdown, and almost a second, if it weren’t for a penalty on the Ravens.
Special Teams had a solid day. Matt Prater was two for three on field goals, missing a 53 yard field goal, but later nailing a 60 yard attempt. Devon Bell went one for two and the FG he missed was flat out horrible, he never really had a chance to make this Lions team but with what he put on tape, his chances of making another team went down a lot. Sam Martin had two punts for 94 yards, one ending inside the 20. Kick returns were quiet as Detroit had five for 120 yards, the best coming from Jace Billingsley for 40 yards.
Preseason Week 3 – What it Means
The first team offense was able to drive down the field, but again couldn’t finish their drives. If they can’t get their act together soon, Matt Prater will be a great fantasy football pickup.
Detroit couldn’t stop the run, again. There are no injuries on the defensive line as of right now, yet our starters can’t seem to stop the run or plug holes. Opposing teams may be tempted to run the ball against the Lions defensive line all season, and the way it looks right now, they will be quite successful.
With many of the second and third string players not playing that well, it means many players will still have a shot to prove themselves next week. Well, all but 15 of them. The league calls for cutting 15 players by Tuesday.
Preseason Week 3 – What to Think About
Detroit Lions receivers and actually catching the ball. Detroit had far too many drops today, some costing the team points and shutting down drives. Detroit has always had issues with players who just can’t seem to hold on to the ball and that trend seems to return in 2016.
Detroit has a huge tendency to draw out the yellow laundry, the ground was littered with penalty flags, most of them against the Lions. Detroit had nine flags for 95 yards, they even had a series get totally killed as a result of flags. First it was the Rieff flag, then false start. The play started as a 1st and 10 inside the 20 and even faced a 3rd and 37 before turning the drive into a missed Matt Prater field goal.
Finally, while these last two weeks have not looked well, it’s not time to panic nor give up on the team, the front office, or the coaching staff just yet. This is only the preseason, players who have no right to be on an NFL team will play for a half and make many mistakes and tons of inexperienced players lead the team in the second half. Next week will be the perfect example of this as no starters will be on the field, so an entire game of just backups will be played which will help the coaches find their way to cuts and finalize the 53 man roster.