It's always nice when the Detroit Lions play so well that you end up with almost too many players on the winners list following a game. That's exactly what happened with the Lions beating the New England Patriots by a score of 40-9 on Thursday. Finding "winners" from the game was quite easy, which was pretty much the opposite of last week's game. Take a look:
Defense - Going into this game, I was preparing for Tom Brady to have his way with the defense and just absolutely light them up. That didn't happen, though. Brady threw for "only" 185 yards, and he had 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Lions also forced three fumbles and recovered all of them, giving them 4 turnovers on the night. Against the Patriots' No. 1 offense, the Lions allowed only 3 points. Thursday was a major step forward for the defense.
Defensive line - The defensive line played a big part in the overall success of the defense for the Lions. They were swarming Brady throughout the first half, and their dominance in the preseason continued. There's a lot to like about the D-line, and the Lions had 2 sacks and 5 quarterback hits in the first half alone, according to Tim Twentyman.
QB Kellen Moore - Moore was really excellent for the Lions. With Shaun Hill out, Moore entered the game at the start of the second half, and he went 9-for-12 for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. He looked like a legitimate NFL quarterback, which really hadn't been the case in his previous appearances.
RB Reggie Bush - Bush once again couldn't do anything on the ground -- he only had 1 yard on 6 carries! -- but he was outstanding as a receiver. He finished with 5 catches for 103 yards, and he was seemingly the only player who could consistently move the ball when the No. 1 offense was on the field.
RB Joique Bell - Bell is pretty clearly the Lions' No. 2 running back at this point. He didn't get any real playing time until the second half, but I thought he was one of the most impressive players in this game. Bell finished with 5 carries for 52 yards and 2 carries for 49 yards, and he played a big part in the Lions' scoring drives in the second half. I want to see him get more playing time with the starters going forward.
TE Joseph Fauria - Fauria had a bad chop block penalty that killed a drive, but he finally really showed up on the stat sheet with 3 catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. It remains to be seen if the Lions will have enough room for four tight ends, but Fauria at least gave the coaches something to discuss with his performance on Thursday.
DE Jason Jones - Willie Young named Jones the player of the game via a dry-erase board, and I can't disagree with him. Jones finished with 3 tackles (all for a loss) and 2 sacks, one of which involved him bringing down Brady with one hand. He was flat out dominant, and he is looking like a really great addition to the defensive line.
S Louis Delmas - Delmas only played a couple series, but the very fact that he got on the field for a preseason game is reason enough for me to include him on the winners list. That's a positive sign, and Delmas really seemed to fire up the defense. What's more, he had a fumble recovery during the game's opening drive, which helped set the tone for the rest of the game.
P Sam Martin - Martin bounced back from a rough performance last week with an amazing game. He averaged 56 yards on 4 punts, and one of them landed out of bounds at the 1-yard line. Also, he continued booming the ball on kickoffs. Martin's kickoffs either go through the end zone or have such great hang time that the Lions can make a quick tackle. It goes without saying, but he has been a huge addition to the special teams.
No. 1 offense - The Lions' first-team offense finally scored a touchdown this week, but they were pretty bad overall. The Lions left a lot of points on the field despite being set up with great field position on a couple occasions by the defense. It was just really frustrating to watch drives go nowhere or quickly stall once the Lions got deep into New England territory, and it was especially frustrating to watch Matthew Stafford complete only 12 of his 25 passes. And don't even get me started on the nonexistent run game. It was another ugly performance outside of what Bush did when he caught the ball.
Wide receivers - A big reason for the struggles in the passing game involved the wide receivers' inability to create any separation. It obviously didn't help that Calvin Johnson was out, nor did it help that Ryan Broyles didn't get a chance to play until the second half. However, this was an opportunity for other guys to step it up, and nobody really did. The Lions just don't seem to have much talent at wide receiver once you get beyond the top spots on the depth chart.
Lions' discipline - The Lions had problems with personal fouls last week, and that was once again the case this week. Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley both took unnecessary penalties after a Lions fumble recovery, and Willie Young had an awful taunting penalty. Rocky McIntosh had a personal foul of his own late in the game, and the Lions ended up finishing with 11 penalties for 102 yards. That's inexcusable, and this problem has to be solved before the regular season. The Lions can't afford to repeat last year where their lack of discipline costs them yards week in and week out.
Lions' health - The Lions' string of good fortune with injuries appears to have come to an end, as running back Montell Owens suffered a non-contact knee injury that looks like it could be pretty serious. A few other players got banged up during Thursday's game as well.
K Havard Rugland - Rugland didn't do anything wrong on Thursday, as he went 2-for-2 on extra points. However, the fact that Jim Schwartz kept David Akers out there as the kicker in the first part of the second half really speaks volumes. It's clear that Akers will be the Lions' starter if he's healthy, and I wouldn't be surprised if Rugland is released on Tuesday when the team has to get down to 75 players.
More from Pride Of Detroit:
- Lions injury report: Updates on Montell Owens, Glover Quin, others
- Lions vs. Patriots final score: Detroit cruises to 40-9 victory
- Detroit Lions vs. New England Patriots: Second half open thread
- Lions vs. Patriots: Louis Delmas in, Calvin Johnson out
- VIDEO: What to watch for in Lions' game against Patriots