The first quarter saw the Lions go down early. The first Detroit Lions drive sputtered out after just six plays and 16 yards. The ball was promptly placed in the hands of Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, who had quite a night for himself. On the first drive, the Jaguars marched 82 yards up the field and capped the drive with a 13-yard pass to Allen Hurns for a touchdown. The ball went back to the Lions: out again after another six plays.
The Jaguars marched up to score again as the first quarter gave way to the second, although this time they would be aided by multiple Lions penalties. First, James Ihedigbo committed an unnecessary roughness penalty to give 15 yards to the Jaguars, and then Rashean Mathis gave up a pass interference call in the endzone. TJ Yeldon would punch it in on second-and-goal for Jacksonville, but not without one hell of a lick from Stephen Tulloch.
TJ Yeldon's introduction to the NFL. https://t.co/fMh3R6dviq— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) August 29, 2015
When the Lions got the ball back, it was time to wake up. First Stafford threw to Brandon Pettigrew for 20 yards. On the next play, Theo Riddick went up the middle for three more. Finally tired of messing around, Matthew Stafford uncorked a 62-yard missile to Golden Tate, who thought to stunt for a moment before thinking better of it and just got it in the endzone.
#Lions Matt Stafford and Golden Tate with a beautiful 62-yard touchdown. Tate has truly blossomed. https://t.co/JdUO4M7WTa— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) August 29, 2015
The Lions would continue to struggle to solve Blake Bortles. All told, the Jaguars went 7-7 on third downs before finally reaching a fourth-and-3 on Detroit's own 5-yard line. James Ihedigbo was all over Denard Robinson, and the Jaguars turned it over on downs.
With the ball back, Detroit put Zach Zenner in, who hadn't seen time in the game yet (George Winn had been seeing time behind Abdullah and Riddick). With his shot at the roster possibly on the line, Zenner burst through the right side and past the Jaguars defenders, racing up the field for 41 yards.
A fumble out of center nearly cost the Lions their drive, but Stafford recovered and would later throw a 21-yard pass out to Abdullah, setting up first-and-goal from the 7-yard line. Corey Fuller would catch the second Detroit touchdown on the night, but Matt Prater careened the game-tying extra point attempt off the upright. After a short drive by Jacksonville was stopped by the clock, both teams went to the locker rooms - Detroit 13, Jacksonville 14. The Jaguars didn't punt once in the first half, turning it over on downs just one time.
At halftime, Jim Caldwell criticized the tackling he had seen from the team thus far.
With the Jaguars back in possession, Bortles once again brought the ball up the field before he threw it into the endzone seats on third-and-11. Jason Myers booted it up from 35 yards to give the Jaguars a four point lead.
Stafford was done for the night, and the stat line looked pretty good - 11 for 15 passes completed, 173 yards, 2 touchdown passes. The second string was in, and Dan Orlovsky tried to save a 3-and-out with a high throw to Corey Fuller, who caught the ball but couldn't hang on when bringing it down. Detroit punted, and Blake Bortles was done for the night, giving way to Chad Henne as the rain began to fall.
Once Chad was in, the Jaguars finally relented on a punt, with a little under four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Orlovsky handed it off to Zach Zenner, who immediately made a dash for 29 yards. The drive sputtered out, laden with penalties, and the ball went back to Jacksonville. The quarter was capped off with a sack from Corey Wooton on Chad Henne.
After a penalty-filled series that saw both an interception and touchdown reception erased, Henne started to throw a pass that came out like a wet wad of paper as Julian Stanford bore down on him; Tahir Whitehead recovered the fumble. Orlovsky's next drive featured a 34-yard reception by Jeremy Ross and Zach Zenner finally struggling to hold on to a couple of receptions. After a sack on Orlovsky, Kyle Brindza (undrafted out of Notre Dame) made a 51-yard field goal straight down the middle.
Quickly after kickoff, the Jaguars center Stephen Morris botched the snap and Coorey Wooton recovered the ball for Detroit. With a break and dug deep in Jacksonville territory, Kellen Moore was put in the game.
Oh boy, here we go. On third-and-3, Kellen Moore found Ross for the first down, and the two-minute warning. George Winn pushed through for three yards. Zach Zenner got the next hand-off...and punched it in for a touchdown. The Lions had their first lead of the night. After a failed two-point conversion, the score stood 22-17.
With a minute and change to go, Jacksonville began to put together a drive down to Detroit's 34 yard-line. However, the Jaguars would turn it over on downs in the dying seconds of the game, unable to finish the strike. The Lions took a knee, and the third preseason game of the season was over.
The Lions would finish the night with 349 yards of offense, while giving up 392 yards to Jacksonville - and the Lions caught 13 penalties for 130 yards. The linebacking corps was a glaring weakness as the Jaguars ran short pass after short pass over the middle. Blake Bortles would prove to be the nemesis of the night, never taking a sack and only failing to convert once on third down. He's certainly won himself more deserved preseason hype. For the Lions, that hype belongs to Matthew Stafford's impressive performance and Zach Zenner, who continues to build his preseason legend as he battles for a spot on the Lions roster.