The Lions once again showed cohesiveness and efficiency in preseason play, leading after the first half, 16-14.
The first-team offense played the entire first half, slotting one touchdown and three field goals. Though the offense was effective, scoring in each drive, Head Coach Jim Schwartz would have liked to see more than one touchdown.
Schwartz: “We didn’t score sevens. We missed a couple opportunities in the red zone. We need to get seven on the board. We had a couple drops or (instances where) it was just off our fingertips. And threes (field goals) aren’t enough – people can get back in the game quickly if you keep kicking field goals.”
Quarterback Matthew Stafford spread the ball around, finishing 13-of-18 for 130 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown to wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The touchdown pass came just two plays after an interception by cornerback Dre’ Bly put Detroit on the Denver 27-yard line.
Johnson led all receivers with 34 yards on two receptions while Maurice Morris (1 rec, 23 yards), Tony Scheffler (2 rec, 22 yards), Nate Burleson (3 rec, 19 yards), Kevin Smith (2 rec, 13 yards), Jahvid Best (2 rec, 10 yards) and Bryant Johnson (1 rec, 9 yards) also contributed to the Lions’ passing game.
Stafford: “We had a chance to get a bunch of guys the ball and we’re just trying to take what the defense is giving us. If they’re giving us the underneath we’re going to take it and if they’re giving us the shot deep we’re going to take that. These guys made a bunch of great plays for me out there and we were able to move the ball. We’ve got to put it in the end zone now.”
Detroit also performed well on the ground, coming away with 62 rushing yards. Best led the Lions with 49 yards on 8 carries, including a 15-yard run in which he was pulled down by a facemask.
Defensively, the first-team was on the field for three series, creating constant pressure up front. Untimely penalties hurt Detroit, but the defense did finish with one sack by Kyle Vanden Bosch and the interception by Bly.
Safety Randy Phillips, who started in place of safety Louis Delmas, also had a solid half with a team-leading four tackles.
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Jim Schwartz, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Matthew Stafford, Maurice Morris, Nate Burleson, Tony Scheffler
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