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Detroit Lions preseason: Winners and losers from Game 1

Here's a rundown of some winners and losers from the Detroit Lions' win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 30-17. Here are some "winners" and losers" from the game:


First-team defense - Sure, they were pitted against a Pittsburgh Steelers offense that was missing three of its star players, but I've seen enough so far to know that this defense is going to look much better than last year's unit. The defensive line, specifically, had a lot to prove and came out swinging. Devin Taylor may have stood out the most after putting a nifty move on the Steelers' starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who held onto Taylor for dear life and still gave up the sack. Taylor could be poised to have a breakout year opposite of Ziggy Ansah.

Jake Rudock - Though he isn't likely going to win the backup QB job, I thought Rudock looked much better than Dan Orlovsky tonight. While he is playing against third-string defenders, it's a good sign to see Rudock march the offense down the field and throw some accurate passes.

Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington- With Ameer Abdullah sitting out, it was Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner's time to shine with the first and second-team, respectively. Zenner appeared to look more comfortable as a runner, despite only finishing the game with 24 yards on seven carries. If Zenner continues to ride this improbable high that he's been on since the start of last year's preseason, then it's going to be hard to keep him off of the final roster. George Winn -- who had a decent showing himself -- has a lot of ground to cover if he wants to snatch that final roster spot away from Zenner.

Surprisingly, both Zenner and Winn appear to have the leg up on Stevan Ridley if tonight's game is any indication of where the depth chart stands.

Washington was the last running back to see the field, but had a hell of a game. A few Lions beat writers noted that Washington would have to make a big impact on special teams to have a shot at making the roster, and that's exactly what he did against the Steelers, taking a kick to the house for 96 yards.

Andre Roberts - With the battle for the fifth receiver spot up in the air, Roberts had by far the best performance among the fringe receivers, finishing the game with three receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown. Roberts also earned some time as a return specialist. Just when you thought Jay Lee was separating himself from the competition, Roberts comes out of nowhere and starts to ascend upward. This WR competition is really something.

Kyle Van Noy - Van Noy is far from polished, and made a couple mistakes against the Steelers, but it's promising to see that he could also wrap-up and make some plays in coverage.

Jace Billingsley - Jace is a longshot to make the team and made some mistakes early on, but the undrafted free agent redeemed himself with this incredible 27-yard catch and run for a touchdown that will make your ankles hurt:

Football fans - FOOTBALL!

Wrestling fans - Khyri Thornton is a man on a mission right now and will do anything it takes to get his hands on a WWE belt final roster spot.


Offensive line - The first-team O-line did not fare well against the Steelers' first-team defense, to say the least. Taylor Decker received a rude awakening during his first bit of NFL action by lining up across from James Harrison, who completely spun him around in circles. On the very first drive, Decker was flagged for holding, along with giving up two pressures on Stafford; the latter of which resulted in a sack fumble and a turnover.

Jeremy Kerley - Kerley had his chance to impress coaches with the second-team and dropped a gorgeous pass from Dan Orlovsky for what would have been about a 30-plus yard gain. With the fifth receiver spot up for grabs, Kerley is going to need to play mistake-free football over the final three weeks of training camp or else his time in Detroit will likely come to an end.

Jay Lee - Zero catches. Not good for the training camp standout.

Stevan Ridley - Playing with the third-team offense and finishes with 14 yards on five carries? What gives?

Linebacker depth - The Lions' misfortune at the linebacker position continues after Zaviar Gooden took a blow to the head from his own teammate.

Dan Orlovsky - We saw him go full Orlovsky tonight. You never want to go full Orlovsky.

Football fans - Wait, we still have three more weeks of this garbage? Bring on the real thing.

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