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Lions Hold Off Browns for 23-20 Victory

For the first time in over a decade, the Lions have won back-to-back preseason games.  Sure, it is only the preseason, but anything like this is progress.  The firs win came last week against Cincinnati, thanks to a fourth quarter comeback.  On Saturday, the roles were reversed, as the Lions were holding off a fourth quarter comeback to maintain the victory.

Early on against Cleveland, everything went in Detroit's favor.  On the first play of the game, Cleveland fumbled and Cory Redding recovered, setting up an eventual 21-yard field goal by Kenny Byrd.  On the Browns' second possession, things were looking very good as Derek Anderson led Cleveland all the way down inside Detroit's 10-yard line.  That was, of course, until another turnover occurred, this time an interception by Ernie Sims.  Just as the first turnover, this one also led to a Kenny Byrd field goal, putting Detroit on top 6-0.

Later on in the second quarter, Cleveland gave the ball back to Detroit, this time due to not converting on fourth down instead of a turnover.  Detroit capitalized and got into the endzone for the first time in this game.  Jon Kitna completed 4 consecutive passes, with the last going to Shaun McDonald for 14 yards and the TD.

Wasting no time before another mistake was made, Cleveland threw an interception just two plays later, setting up Kenny Byrd for another field goal before time expired in the first half.  Detroit controlled the game going into the break with a 16-0 lead.  

The Lions added to that lead in the third quarter by rumbling into the endzone.  T.J. Duckett scored his first TD with the Lions by the way of a 15-yard run.  With a 23-0 lead, it looked as though Detroit wouldn't lose.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter and Cleveland started a come back.  First it was a 1-yard TD run by Jason Wright, which still left Detroit with a comfortable 23-7 lead.  Then Brady Quinn came in for his Browns debut and didn't disappoint.

Quinn led the Browns down the field on two separate drives to score 2 touchdowns.  That put Detroit ahead only by a score of 23-20 (Cleveland went for 2 on Quinn's first TD and didn't convert).  An onside kick followed after the second touchdown but went to Detroit's Ronald Bellamy.  That meant that all the Lions had to do was take a knee and run out the clock, giving them a 2-0 record in the preseason so far.

One thing I want to say about Brady Quinn is to not believe all the hype just yet.  Did he play great when on the field against Detroit on Saturday?  Yes.  But remember, he was playing against a lot of people that won't even be on the team in a couple weeks and got to face the prevent defense, which allowed Quinn to complete passes like a hot knife through butter.  I'm not saying that what he did means nothing, but put him in an actual game situation before anointing him as a great player.

Detroit now heads to face the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts next Saturday, looking to improve to 3-0, which would match all of last season's regular season victories.