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Winners & losers from Lions' first preseason game

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

Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions beat the New York Jets on Thursday night by a score of 23-3. Here's a look at some "winners" and "losers" from the game:


Ameer Abdullah, Zach Zenner and Theo Riddick - These three players combined to rush for 157 yards on 28 carries, which is good for 5.6 yards per carry. Abdullah accounted for 67 yards on seven carries, and he looked really electric and extremely shifty. Zenner, meanwhile, had 55 yards on 13 carries, while Riddick picked up 35 yards on eight runs. Overall, the Lions have to like how their running game performed on Thursday night.

Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate - It was a short outing for these two players, as they needed only two passes to rack up 57 yards and a touchdown on the game's opening drive. This was just more evidence that Tate is probably closer to a No. 1-caliber receiver than a No. 2.

Greg Salas - He's a long shot to make the team even after his solid performance, but Salas really turned some heads with five catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Even though he's probably just the next Matt Willis and won't end up on the 53-man roster, he's at least put himself in the conversation, I suppose.

Dan Orlovsky - Operating as the No. 3 quarterback for a change, Orlovsky made an extremely impressive pass to Salas for a 20-yard touchdown on his first throw of the game. He ended up finishing 5-for-11 for 96 yards and that one touchdown, and he seemingly outperformed Kellen Moore (more on that in a second).

Caraun Reid and Devin Taylor - Both of these players have had a pretty strong camp so far, and they put together a nice play to combine for a sack on Thursday night. Reid in particular looked quite good against the Jets, and he is making a strong case to be a full-time starter at defensive tackle.

Jermelle Cudjo - Farther down on the depth chart at defensive tackle, Cudjo is doing his best to convince the Lions to keep five players at the position. He's also had a pretty strong camp, and he kept his momentum rolling on Thursday with a fumble recovery and a tackle for loss.

Kyle Brindza - Barring an injury or an off-the-field incident involving Matt Prater, Brindza isn't going to make the Lions' roster. However, he is basically auditioning for the rest of the league right now, and so far, so good after he went 2-for-2 with a long of 49 yards on Thursday night. I think it's safe to say both of the Lions' current kickers are better than the two they had in the preseason last year.

Nate Burleson - Burleson isn't a player anymore, but I was pretty impressed with his work as a commentator on the Lions' preseason broadcast. He's already a regular on NFL Network nowadays, but don't be surprised if he's announcing games on a weekly basis during the regular season in a year or two.


Admittedly, I'm grasping at straws for the losers category simply because there wasn't a whole lot to complain about on Thursday night. Plus, the Jets were so bad that anything the Lions did at least looked okay by comparison. For the sake of this post, though...

Kellen Moore - Moore finally got a chance to be the backup quarterback, and he entered the game pretty early on. His first performance as the No. 2 QB wasn't all that impressive, though. He finished 9-for-17 for 67 yards, and he had an interception in the end zone at the end of the first half. I wouldn't say he was overly bad or anything, but he didn't exactly shine with a major opportunity being presented to him.

George Winn - Winn only ran the ball for 3 yards on five carries. Given the success the Lions' other running backs had, those numbers aren't good, and with Zenner having a positive night, the battle for the final spot at the position could get interesting. Then again, Winn's biggest attribute is his work on special teams, so Zenner will likely have to show something on the coverage teams to truly put Winn on notice.

The Jets - They were losers according to the scoreboard, and they were certainly losers according to the stat sheet:

But seriously, the Jets were really, really bad.

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