PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 14: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates with teammates Jerome Felton #45 and Gosder Cherilus #77 during the preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 14 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
The preseason finally got started for the Lions tonight, and boy was it a long, long night. With 1:31 left in the first half, the bad weather went from a downpour of rain to thunder and lightning, resulting in a delay that lasted around 70 minutes. When play finally resumed, the end of the second quarter was played, as was the second half. The starters were long gone, and the Steelers cruised to a 23-7 victory.
When the starters were in the game for the first few drives, things went quite well. On offense, the first-team followed up a couple possessions that went nowhere with an 11-play, 68-yard touchdown drive. Matthew Stafford was very accurate throughout the drive, hitting a variety of receivers all over the field. Jahvid Best also looked good, especially on one play where he spun away from two defenders and made something out of nothing. The offense finished up the drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson to take an early lead.
Defensively, the D-line lived up to the hype and did extremely well. The Lions put a ton of pressure on Steelers QB Byron Leftwich and didn't give him time to do anything. Kyle Vanden Bosch led the charge, making play after play after play. Cliff Avril also looked good, and although Ndamukong Suh didn't do anything too noticeable, he drew lots of double teams, opening things up for his teammates.
In the coming days I will delve a bit deeper into this game and look more at the starters and examine how the backups did. For now, I have to say I was impressed with the first-teamers and saw many signs of progress. There were a few concerns that popped up, including Jordon Dizon going down with what looked to be a bad knee injury, but all in all I was pleased with the Lions' performance in the first game of the preseason.