The Detroit Lions preseason has been tough to watch over the past three weeks. Despite that, the Lions added their first preseason win over the Buccaneers by a final of 33-30. As always, I have thoughts on this game. These are those thoughts.
Matthew Stafford continues to do ridiculous things
Matthew Stafford can throw from 57 different arm angles pic.twitter.com/xmYP9QoWs8— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 25, 2018
This is just crazy. I don’t know how many quarterbacks that can make throws like that. I don’t know many that would even try to.
As for Stafford’s night, it was okay. He went 9-18 for 113 yards. No touchdowns and no interceptions. What’s sad about Stafford’s night is that he got sacked three times and Marvin Jones Jr., Kenny Golladay and Theo Riddick all had drops. This is a bad combination.
Remember that Steelers game?
The Lions had their fans reliving that night with their performance in the red zone on Friday. For whatever reason, the Lions were able to move the ball the all night with ease until they got to the red zone. This is the same problem that reared its ugly head last year. Here’s hoping this is just a temporary preseason thing.
Nevin Lawson and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
It’s preseason. We’ll preface it like that. But Nevin Lawson had the worst night of his career in Tampa Bay. It got to the point where if a pass was completed, you’d check to see if Lawson allowed it. Almost every time you’d find that it was. He allowed four catches in the first half. Then...
Oh you thought the Nevin Lawson nightmare was over?— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) August 25, 2018
In the second half, Lawson was at it again when he allowed Tampa’s Freddie Martino to grab a 19-yard touchdown. Lawson is likely not losing his spot on the team, but don’t be surprised to see him lose out his starting gig if Deshawn Shead get healthy.
The Lions defense is officially not good
What an embarrassing night for the Lions’ first-team defense. As if it wasn’t bad enough to get worked over by Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick, somebody named Ryan Griffin came out and marched down the field on them in the third quarter.
I know I’ve said it’s preseason a million times. I’ll say it till I’m blue in the face, but this defense is going to be a problem in 2018. Remember how bad Lawson was? Consider this.
Nevin Lawson leads the team with 8 tackles. That's... not good.— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) August 25, 2018
The Lions have shown very little pass rush, they’re having trouble stopping the run, their linebackers are getting destroyed in coverage and their corners, Darius Slay included on Friday, are getting beat up. If you’ve been wondering when it was okay to freak out, you can go ahead and start now.
But the Lions did get some sacks
Hakeem Valles is making this team
I have become a big Valles fan through camp and over the past few weeks. On Friday, I received my fan club card in the mail. Valles has shown himself to be a sure-handed tight end that could wind up having a bigger role than anyone thought possible.
He was targeted four times against the Bucs and he caught three of those passes, two of which went for a first down. He grabbed 38 yards altogether.
The Lions signed Levine Toilolo and Luke Willson during free agency, but Valles has outplayed both of them. Look for a big fat IN from me in our weekly Bubble Watch pieces.
Lost in all of this is the Lions run game
It actually looks pretty good. LeGarrette Blount has looked great so far, as advertised. He’s been able to help the Lions convert in spots they so rarely converted one year ago. In particular, his run on 4th-and-1 was a breath of fresh air. At the end of the day, he finished with 45 yards on 11 rushes.
Kerryon Johnson continues to look great as well. His first carry of the night was an 8-yard carry. That may not seem like a big deal to many outside of Detroit, but for a Lions running back to just come out and run for eight yards like that, it just makes you want to dance a little. Go ahead, take a dance break right here.
Is Jarrad Davis good or bad? I don’t know
My biggest takeaway when it comes to Jarrad Davis during the preseason is that he could be one of the best linebackers in the NFL if he could just land a tackle and cover a pass. That doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, especially in the tackle department. Davis is constantly in the right place to make a play and he just continues to whiff on tackles over and over again. Here’s a great example.
jarrad davis comes through untouched on the blitz and misses another tackle in the backfield, lucky sylvester williams is there to clean up pic.twitter.com/dM00yOnlb8— Mansur (@MansurShaheen) August 25, 2018
It’s hard to hate Davis. He works hard in practice and camp and really wants to get better. But if the preseason is any indication, Davis needs more work on tackling and coverage if he’s going to have the big improved year that so many believed he would have.
The Lions got Iron Bowled
This had to happen. This is one of those moments that Lions fans swear only happen to the Lions. If you remember correctly, Auburn’s Chris Davis pulled off this kind of move against Alabama in the Iron Bowl back in 2013.
I wouldn’t worry too much about this though. The chances of this happening in the regular season are relatively slim. Right? Right!?