The third preseason game each year usually gives you the best assessment of what you might expect in the following regular season. In 2006, Detroit was beat easily by the Oakland Raiders, who eventually ended up as the worst team in the league. Although Rod Marinelli's travel plans contributed to that loss, it was still very telling to the 3-13 season that ended up happening.
Let's hope this year's third preseason game doesn't lead to a similar outcome. On Saturday, Detroit took the field looking to go 3-0 in the preseason, but with starting QB Jon Kitna on the bench due to an injury, things got ugly very quickly. The offense and defense both stunk, and I had to turn it off after three quarters because it was so hard to watch. How ugly exactly? Try 37-10 ugly, which was the score after Detroit added a late touchdown, meaning that it was nearly a 34-point loss.
Always being the team that casts some hope before falling flat on its face, the Lions got off to a solid start. On the game's first play, Peyton Manning was sacked for a 13-yard loss. The bad secondary that Detroit has then began to show as the Colts got rolling. The Lions caught a break though, as Anthony Gonzalez fumbled the ball after a catch and Detroit fell on it. The surprising turnover gave Detroit a chance to jump out in front early.
The Lions obviously didn't take advantage of the turnover, and in fact, just ended up punting the ball away. From then on, Peyton Manning took over the game and eventually hooked up with Marvin Harrison for a 13-yard touchdown after a lengthy drive. Detroit did manage to answer the score with one of their own, as Jason Hanson was successful on a 51-yard field goal.
The next few drives would be more Colts domination. Manning again drove Indy down the field and ended this possession with a 5-yard TD pass to Dallas Clark, who made the catch look very good. Detroit got the ball back and again didn't do anything with it. This time the drive ended on an interception, and take a guess at what the Colts did next. Here's a shocker, Peyton Manning quickly got Indy going and connected with Reggie Wayne for a touchdown to make the halftime lead 21-3.
Even Manning's backup, Jim Sorgi, was owning the Lions' secondary. It took him only three plays to get the Colts another TD after finding Aaron Moorehead on all of them. Moorehead got into the endzone from 16 yards out after catching a pass from Sorgi.
I won't even bother to describe the rest of the Colts' points since it didn't matter at this point, so let's just move on to the end of the game. Detroit scored a late TD by the way of J.T. O'Sullivan finding Troy Walters in the endzone, making the eventual final score 37-10.
If I could use one word to describe this game, it would have to be ugly. That's all I really can say about it. The defense got lit up big time and the offense was non-existent for most of the game. Of course, not having Jon Kitna didn't help, but still, I wasn't expecting the Lions to struggle as much as they did. Add in the fact that Tatum Bell and Daniel Bullocks left with injuries and it was a recipe for disaster, especially since Bullocks is done for the entire year (more on that later).
The Lions now head back home for the final preseason game of the year against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday. I wouldn't expect the starters to see much action at all, so this game really means nothing.