The Detroit Lions rebounded from a deplorable week in Cleveland to a dynamic one home against a red-hot New England Patriots team. Again, this is the preseason so let’s stay grounded in this week’s “Takeaways”.
-Matthew Stafford has yet to throw an interception this preseason after throwing 17 last year. Still, he has not been very productive without Calvin Johnson. Stafford completed only 12 of 25 passes, five of which went to running back Reggie Bush.
-Reggie Bush’s performances as a runner have been terrible this preseason; however, his performances as a receiver have been tremendous. While he only had one yard on six carries, Bush gained 103 yards through the air. When Megatron returns he will divert a lot of attention away from the run game, but that will not create the holes Bush needs to make his burst gains. The Lions’ first team offense has yet to gain any sort of momentum on the ground, but Joique Bell and Mikel Leshoure showed up in the second half.
-Bell amassed 52 yards on five carries, while Leshoure showed his first signs of life this preseason gaining 32 yards with his five. Bell really stood out with an additional two big catches for 49 yards. The undrafted Wayne State alum has impressed in all three preseason games.
-The defense put the hammer on whenever Brady made progress. Brady’s numbers (16 of 24 for 185 yards) were decent but when the going got tough the Lions created fumble after fumble
-For a second week the Lions run defense bullied its opposition. The impressive 1,2 punch of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen combined for 12 yards on 13 carries. Ndamukong Suh has provided a consistent punch through the hearts of opposing offensive linemen. New defensive ends, Jason Jones and Ezekiel Ansah, are showing off their big bodies while closing off the edges.
– Jason Jones is in the house! The newly acquired, former Seahawk made his presence felt with two sacks in the first half. Jones is not a big-time pass rusher, but he is a massive end in the prime of his career who can bring decent pressure from the left side or through the interior. He will be a huge upgrade against the run, and performances like last week will only be a plus.
One Last Thing
Today marks the end of Havard Rugland’s run with the Detroit Lions. I think all of Michigan, along with Norway, was rooting for “Kickalicous” to do his best, but at the end of the day the Lions just felt safer with the proven David Akers. Rugland went a perfect three for three in the preseason, and I can guarantee you he will get another chance in the NFL very soon. However, I am sad to see the league’s one and only spark-plug at kicker leave the D.