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Winners & losers from Lions' second preseason game

A look at the Detroit Lions who stood out for good reasons and those who stood out for bad reasons on Friday night.

Ezra Shaw

The Detroit Lions lost to the Oakland Raiders on Friday night by a score of 27-26. Here's a look at some "winners" and "losers" from the game:


QB Matthew Stafford - Stafford went 9 of 10 for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Enough said.

QB Dan Orlovsky - After a rough outing last week, Orlovsky really needed a strong performance to get fans off his back a bit, and he delivered on Friday night. He went 8 of 12 for 153 yards, and more importantly, he showed that he's capable of moving the offense down the field, even without much help from his offensive line (more on that later). I know the Kellen Moore/backup QB controversy story this past week has been fun, but Orlovsky's performance should put an end to that for the time being.

RB Theo Riddick - Riddick only carried the ball twice for a single yard, but he went for 36 yards on a screen pass by dodging several defenders. The reception gave him a chance to show what he can do in the open field, and it was a good example of why he received so much hype this offseason. (And just generally speaking, it was seemingly the first screen pass that actually resulted in a positive play for the Lions all preseason.)

WR Kris Durham - Durham only had two catches for six yards, but one of those receptions was an outstanding touchdown grab over a defender. It was only one play, but he really needed something to hang his hat on given that he's battling for a roster spot. Considering how effectively he used his size to get the ball, that touchdown reception was a nice example of what he can do from a matchup standpoint, especially in the red zone.

WR Ryan Broyles - Broyles had two receptions for 42 yards, including one that went for a gain of 34 yards thanks to a nice run after the catch. He again looked healthy, and based on what he did with a limited number of targets, I think Broyles should get a serious run with the first-team offense in the coming weeks.

Defensive line - The Lions rotated a number of defensive linemen into the game when they had their first-team defense out on the field, and nearly everybody was seemingly making plays. Matt Schaub had a tough time doing much of anything considering the Lions were constantly putting so much pressure on him, and even later in the game the D-line was still bringing the heat. (Just ask Derek Carr, who suffered a concussion on a big hit by Larry Webster.)


OT LaAdrian Waddle - Waddle is trying to beat out Corey Hilliard to start at right tackle, but he didn't have his best game, to say the least. On top of a blown assignment on one play that led to a loss, Waddle was flagged for holding on first-and-goal at the Oakland 10-yard line. Overall, it just wasn't a very impressive performance for him as the starting right tackle.

Second-team offensive line - The second-team offensive line also wasn't very impressive. Actually, they were downright bad. When Orlovsky initially came into the game, he had a tough time getting anything going because he didn't have any time to throw the ball. The blocking was poor, and penalties were an issue for the second-stringers on the O-line. (The Lions had a couple different O-line combinations after the starters departed, including one with Michael Williams at left tackle, Travis Swanson at left guard, Darren Keyton at center, Rodney Austin at right guard and Hilliard at right tackle.)

Running game - As a team, the Lions ran the ball 26 times for 53 yards and one touchdown. That's an average of 2.0 yards per carry. Mikel Leshoure actually led the Lions in rushing despite having only 23 yards on seven carries (3.3 average). There didn't seem to be a big emphasis on running the ball when the starters were in, but still, it wasn't a great effort on the ground for the Lions.

Special teams - Although Nate Freese did hit a 55-yard field goal, he missed an extra point. That wasn't even the worst part about the special teams on Friday, though. That distinction belongs to the cover units. Oakland averaged 23.3 yards on their kick returns (with a long of 30) and 25.3 yards on their punt returns (with a long of 51). Throw in the Lions' too many men on the field penalty that gave the Raiders a free first down on a field goal and it was just a rough night for the Lions on special teams.

Discipline - Along the same lines, the Lions did a really poor job of avoiding penalties in this game. They finished the night with 11 for 74 yards, and a few of those penalties were really untimely, as evidenced by the too many men on the field call. I know the officials are calling certain things much tighter now, but avoidable mental mistakes led to some of those penalties.

Officials - This pretty much sums up the officiating in this game:

That's a picture of one official signaling a touchdown while another signals an incompletion. The incomplete ruling was the final call, but that wasn't the only time something like this happened. Later in the game, one official ruled that the Lions downed a punt inside the 1-yard line while another said it was a touchback. In that case, the touchback call won out.

Those two incidents were far from the only issues the officials had. There were a couple other blown calls, and overall the game was just very sloppy from an officiating standpoint. Part of that stemmed from the NFL's emphasis on calling certain penalties (illegal contact, defensive holding, illegal hands to the face, etc.), but this crew just seemed lost out there. It was like watching the replacement refs from a couple years ago.

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