The Detroit Lions dug themselves a deep hole early in the first quarter against the Patriots, and then never did enough to dig themselves out of that hole. The first-string offense looked anemic and ineffective while the first-team defense looked like they were coming off a massive bender that ended right before the game. The team, as a whole, looked bad, but the depth of the team showed through once the reserves started playing; that’s a good sign for the team going forward.
Stock Up: Marvin Jones Jr., WR
Matthew Stafford’s favorite target in the past couple of weeks, Marvin Jones Jr. has been doing some fantastic work both in getting open and reeling in the football. He finished the day with four catches for 62 yards and a beautiful touchdown delivered from Stafford. Jim Bob Cooter has struggled in the past with getting more than one weapon going at a time, but with Tate’s underneath ability and Jones Jr. working over the top, the team may have something on offense.
Stock Down: Kenny Golladay, WR
The Lions’ third-round pick has been running hot all preseason, but cooled a bit over the last week or so. It was more of that this week as he failed to make any serious impression in the passing game. He had a pass thrown his way that was entirely off-the-mark and broken up by Stephon Gilmore—Stafford’s fault: too far inside, had leverage for the pass outside—but he also got in the way of a pass intended for Marvin Jones Jr. that was intercepted after he tipped it up into the air.
Stock Up: Ameer Abdullah, RB
Ameer Abdullah has gotten little work this preseason as the Lions work to preserve his health, but he was unleashed against the Super Bowl Champion Patriots. It ended with 13 rushes for 62 yards and three catches for 39 yards. Abdullah showed off his strong vision and athletic ability, cutting through Patriots’ defenders whether the blocking was there or not. His best play was a fairly short run, but it was one where Graham Glasgow was tossed to the turf and the Pats had him in the backfield dead to rights. Abdullah recovered, made defenders missed, and made something out of nothing.
If the Lions commit to the running game and give Abdullah touches, he can have a very good season.
Stock Down: Graham Glasgow, OG
The Lions worst blocker this preseason by some margin has been Graham Glasgow at left guard. The Lions’ starter has struggled to do pretty much anything and there have been very few bright spots. He started out strong against the Patriots, with four straight snaps without screwing anything up. He didn’t last much more than that, however, and was being abused from then on.
Stock Up: Greg Robinson, OT
The Lions needed a good test of their offensive line after facing the Colts and Jets, and they got a good one in the Patriots. Greg Robinson had his best game of the preseason against the champs, showing that not only can he seal an edge and protect his QB, but he can—finally—show some strong blocking on the move in space. In a zone-based offense like what the Lions run, he will be asked to block on the move more often, so seeing him actually do so was refreshing.
Stock Down: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB
Reeves-Maybin has made some very good plays this preseason, including some in this game. My issue with JRM against the Patriots is the same issue I have with Jarrad Davis, his inability to get off blocks. JRM is likely to see more snaps with Tahir Whitehead injured, but if he can’t get off his blocks, you’re going to see some splash plays where he is able to maneuver through traffic, but more often than not, you’ll see plays where he is eaten up the moment a OL or TE gets their hands on him. Reeves-Maybin was pne of the highest rated players by PFF for the game, but my concerns remain.
Jared Abbrederis, WR - Abbrederis has run hot and cold, but he had a drive against the Patriots that was money for Jake Rudock, ending in a touchdown.
Matt Asiata, RB - Asiata had his best day rushing the football, which has been his weakest area this preseason.
Alex Barrett, DE - Barrett did a good job getting pressure, but also took some bad angles. Needs to reign it in a bit.
Jace Billingsley, WR - Billingsley got work in the passing game, had the best return of the night, and even got the ball on an end around.
Darren Fells, TE - Fells didn’t do a whole lot in the passing game, but beasted as a blocker. On one play, Stafford had time, but a defender came in late. Fells made him pay and blocked him into next week.
Ego Ferguson, DT - Ferguson made a play! It was late in the game, but I clearly heard his name mentioned on a positive play. Notable!
D.J. Hayden, CB - Hayden continues to impress, looking strong in coverage.
T.J. Lang, OG - The run game and pass protection were better on the right side.
Jeremiah Ledbetter, DT - Though low on the depth chart, Ledbetter continues to make some plays late in the game.
Khari Lee, TE - Lee didn’t do much, but did have a couple good blocks later in the game to put his name back in the mix.
Glover Quin, FS - Quin had a terrible missed tackle early in the game, but pulled in an interception in the end zone to end a Tom Brady drive.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT - Robinson was the best defender on the first team, and you could argue for either team.
Jake Rudock, QB - I would like to see Rudock taking more risks and attempting to make more plays downfield, but he’s done good enough work with his feet to make up for it.
Darius Slay, CB - Slay didn’t have his best day in coverage, but was a monster in run support.
Golden Tate, WR - Tate caught 5 passes for 62 yards, much of which was his trademark after the catch magic.
Rick Wagner, OT - Wagner was the best offensive lineman on the field for the first team.
Charles Washington, FS - Washington looks like he’s fighting hard for a spot and played all game. A late penalty shouldn’t undo his good work earlier.
Dwayne Washington, RB - Washington showed some nice moves in space on a passing down where he made defenders miss for a score, but was seriously disappointing as a rusher. Two touchdowns on the day, but a lot of “meh” in between.
Tavon Wilson, SS - Wilson did well in his return to action, showing he isn’t ready to relinquish snaps to Miles Killebrew.
Tim Wright, TE - Wick’s injury helps Wright, but he did well enough in his own right to be considered for the final roster.
Jamal Agnew, CB - Agnew looked far better than Washington on returns, but fumbled a punt return to undo much of that good work.
Alex Carter, FS - Carter lost a lot of reps to Charles Washington, who seems to be attacking everyone for a chance at a roster spot.
Joe Dahl, OG - Dahl has been getting work at Center. It has not gone well, as he’s struggled snapping the ball without moving pre snap.
Jarrad Davis, LB - Davis had some moments, but wasn’t done any favors by Teryl Austin. My biggest issue was his inability to shed a blocker once they got their hands on him.
Quandre Diggs, CB - An up and down game for Diggs, I’ll put him on the downslide only because his chief competition, D.J. Hayden, did better.
Tion Green, RB - Green didn’t even play that I saw. A bad sign for his roster chances.
Brad Kaaya, QB - Kaaya still hasn’t been able to tighten his accuracy and is wildly overthrowing his receivers.
Leo Koloamatangi, OC - Koloamatangi continues to not get playing time, making me feel the Lions are simply stashing him on the practice squad.
Nevin Lawson, CB - Lawson had a couple good plays, but his penalty and touchdown given up helped sink the Lions in the first quarter.
Steve Longa, LB - Longa has had back to back strong weeks, so this one was a bit of a disappointment.
Keshawn Martin, WR - Martin looked alright as a returner, but came up empty in the passing game.
Rolan Milligan FS - Milligan had a good week against the Jets, but showed nothing this week against the Pats. Likely practice squad bound.
Theo Riddick, RB - Riddick has some rust that needs knocking off. Still not useful as a rusher.
Michael Roberts, TE - Roberts has been looking good as a receiver this preseason, but put up nothing against the Patriots.
Matthew Stafford, QB - Stafford started out rough against the Patriots’ first-team defense, but did well as the game progressed and got into a rhythm.
Travis Swanson, OC - Swanson has had a nearly flawless preseason, but this wasn’t his best game.
Teez Tabor, CB - Tabor didn’t get much action until deep into the game, an indication he isn’t in the Lions’ immediate plans at cornerback.
Laken Tomlinson, OG - Tomlinson didn’t get much action, a shame if the Lions were expected to feature him for a trade.
Cornelius Washington, DE - Washington got no pressure and made no impact. A far cry from his play against a woeful Jets offense.
Tahir Whitehead, LB - Whitehead left with a knee injury that was serious enough to declare him out for the game.
Cole Wick, TE - Wick was injured early in the game, and it looked bad.
Zach Zenner, RB - Zenner didn’t play a down against the Patriots, though he was a team captain. A minor injury worth monitoring.
Anthony Zettel, DE - Zettel looked good in action against the Patriots’ second-team. Less so against the first team except for one instance where he was unblocked.