The Detroit Lions had their seven-game winning streak in the preseason come to an end on Friday night with a 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns. The Lions led for most of the game, but a late field goal by the Browns gave them a two-point edge that Detroit couldn't overcome.
The Lions actually got out to a 14-3 lead in this game, although it was no thanks to the first-team offense. The Lions had three drives with Matthew Stafford leading the helm, and they resulted in a three-and-out, an interception and a punt. It's obviously nothing to worry about, but the offense did look a bit rusty with the starters in the game.
The Lions' first score of the game came on a three-play drive by the second-team offense. Bill Bentley picked off Brandon Weeden to give the Lions great field position, and a 21-yard pass from Shaun Hill to Will Heller help set up a five-yard touchdown run by Keiland Williams.
After forcing a punt, the Lions got the ball back and marched down the field thanks to Williams. He had a couple of nice runs, including one that went for 33 yards. The Lions ultimately had to settle for a field goal attempt, and Jason Hanson pushed the kick from 48 yards out wide right.
The Browns took advantage of the miss by Hanson by getting a 37-yard field goal from Phil Dawson, cutting the lead to four points. This didn't last for long, though. The Lions responded with a 12-play, 80-yard drive over the next five minutes that was capped off with a three-yard touchdown pass from Hill to Stefan Logan. The touchdown came on fourth-and-goal and put the Lions on top 14-3, which is what the score ended up being at halftime.
The Lions and Browns traded punts to open the second half, and on the third possession of the third quarter, Cleveland found the end zone for the first time. Seneca Wallace looked like he was going to take off and run the ball, but he instead pulled up and threw a pass over the defense to Brad Smelley for a 12-yard touchdown. It was a nice play by Wallace, and the lead was now once again only four points for the Lions.
The Lions' offense once again had to punt the ball away on their next drive. Kellen Moore, who came in at the end of the first half, was leading the charge for the Lions, but he was unable to move the chains. The Browns took over with good field position, but they ended up missing a 46-yard field goal, so it was no harm, no foul for Detroit.
Following more punts, Moore led the Lions down the field and put them in position for a 40-yard field goal by Derek Dimke, who made the kick. Actually, I should say that Joique Bell put the Lions in position for the field goal. He picked up 51 yards on the ground on four plays and is the one who moved the chains on this drive.
The Browns got the ball back and worked their way down the field on an 11-play drive. The biggest play of the drive came on third-and-eight from the Detroit 28. The Browns called a screen at the perfect time and picked up 25 yards on the play. This set up a touchdown run by Adonis Thomas from three yards out on the next play. Cleveland elected to go for two in order to avoid a tie and the possibility of overtime, and the Lions stuffed the attempt to maintain a 17-16 lead.
The Lions were unable to keep the ball long enough to run out the clock, and Cleveland got it back with 2:18 to go in the game. The Browns got into field goal range, and on fourth-and-three with less than a minute to go, Jeff Wolfert nailed a 45-yard field goal. Cleveland now led by a score of 19-17.
The score would remain 19-17, as the Lions couldn't rally back in the final 28 seconds. Moore was picked off on a bad pass downfield, and the game, as well as the Lions' preseason winning streak, came to an end after a kneel down by the Browns.
Obviously you want to win no matter the occasion, but I doubt the coaches will be losing too much sleep over a loss in the preseason. They probably are pretty upset with the sloppy play by the Lions throughout the game, and I'm sure improving will be a point of emphasis in practice the next week as the team gets ready for a nationally televised game at the Baltimore Ravens next Friday.