The Lions looked to build on their preseason experiments following last Friday’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They came home to Detroit on Thursday but hosting the Bengals would prove a much trickier proposition.
Matthew Stafford and the first team offense played three drives, in contrast to the one they played in Pittsburgh. On the first drive Stafford looked impressive, finding Marvin Jones for a few toe-tappers and Golden Tate for a few yards more. However, Stafford would miss Cole Wick wide open and tried to force the ball to Tate in the endzone, as the Lions would be forced to settle for three points. This would end up being the only points the first team offense would score; the ensuing drives proved fruitless. Cole Wick in particular did not look sharp at all, including a fumble. In addition, Theo Riddick struggled to generate offense, averaging only about 2.4 yards per carry.
Still, Marvin Jones had some very pretty catches, and Stafford would leave the game with eight of 11 passes made for 113 yards.
The first team defense struggled on the first drive to contain the Bengals offense, and Andy Dalton scythed the team through the air to march down the field for a fast touchdown. The Lions would get their footing back, and on the second defensive set Glover Quin and Tahir Whitehead combined to stuff the run on third and short.
Dan Orlovsky took over in the second drive of the second quarter, and once again he played the same song. After a decent start to the drive, he was late on his delivery and Bengals safety Derron Smith jumped the route and earned himself an easy pick-six. Orlovsky would settle down after that, but the Lions failed to score more than another field goal in the first half. Zach Zenner averaged just around a single yard per carry.
Meanwhile, the Bengals put in their second-string offense and let AJ McCarron go to work. He hit sixth-rounder Rex Burkhead a few times and make five of eight passes to march down the field. Although the second team Lions defense would settle in and stand their ground for a while near the red zone, McCarron found rookie Tyler Boyd after a penalty and gave the Bengals their third touchdown right before the halftime whistle.
The Bengals returned to the field once more on offense, but the Lions defense settled in against McCarron. After stopping him on the first drive of the half, Mike Nugent missed the field goal (he missed an extra point in the first half as well) and prevented the Bengals from walking away with more points. The second drive would have gone three and out but Kerry Hyder got caught roughing the passer, and the Lions front seven struggled to contain the Bengals.
For the Lions, they would only get one drive in the third quarter and they would spend it testing out anyone else they could to see how they could run the ball. Stevan Ridley would only get a few yards on a couple carries, and Dwayne Washington took a couple receptions out of the backfield.
Jake Rudock and the Lions third team offense took the field in the fourth quarter. On the second play he found Orson Charles for 22 yards, and then followed it up by feeding rookie Jay Lee. However, a pass intended for Jace Billingsley ended up directly into the hands of a Bengal and Rudock clocked in his first interception of the preseason, which would turn into a field goal for the Bengals.
The next drive for the Lions didn’t go much of anywhere and a short punt would let the Bengals start from their own side of the field. Cincinnati grinded time and pushed the Lions around up front, eventually ending the drive with a one-yard punch up the middle to give them 29 points on the board with under five minutes to play.
In the final minutes Billingsley found a couple more passes and Washington would make sure there was at least one more positive note for the Lions. After making a few more plays, he took the ball and found a hole up the middle for a five-yard touchdown. He followed it up with a successful two-point conversion rushing attempt, greatly improving his stock for the Lions roster. His eight points represented the total fruits of the Lions offense in the second half.
But outside of Washington, Marvin Jones and Matt Stafford, not a lot to write home about for the offense tonight; that is, unless you want to talk about blue donuts.