There’s an old saying from the Batman movies that felt especially relevant Thursday night: “you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” That was the case with Tom Savage as well as the entirety of the Lions offense Thursday night.
While the offense was able to move the ball early in the game, things took a quick turn when Savage was sacked and then topped with a Patriots defensive lineman and Lions offensive lineman, sending him to the locker room and ending his night. A scary bad performance from David Fales quickly became the prevailing storyline for the night.
Unsung hero of the week: QB Tom Savage
Last preseason, I gave the unsung hero of the week award for the third or fourth game to Matt Cassel. After he and Jake Rudock struggled mightily up to that point, it was a nice change of pace to have accurate, well-timed passes so folks could evaluate positions like receiver and tight end rather than watching quarterbacks stumble around all day. Having someone competent holding the football is crucial to proper evaluation of other offensive positions.
After the mess that has been the Lions’ backup quarterback situation for the last couple years, it was a refreshing change of pace for Tom Savage to come out on point. On the first series of the game, Savage converted a third-and-8 by threading a laser to Brandon Powell, who took the crossing route for 24 yards and a first down.
Savage started the next offensive series with a really nice sell on the play action fake, getting much of the defense to bite and leaving two tight ends wide open—painting what is hopefully a very accurate picture of things to come in this offense.
12 personnel = 2 wide open TEs— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) August 9, 2019
We're going to see a ton of this. pic.twitter.com/TVB4as3CD7
As football fans, we have a tendency to take things for granted. That naturally means that having a serviceable backup quarterback to forget about the mess at the position from the last few years in a matter of minutes. To stop that from happening, God sent us David Fales.
After Savage was crushed and his night ended, Fales stepped in
admirably and continued to provide quality reps and targets for the skill positions and struggled mightily. To be fair, he was constantly being pressured as a result of an equally rough performance from the reserve offensive linemen, as at one point Lions quarterbacks had been sacked six times on the first 12 dropbacks of the game.
At the end of the day, however, we were once again reminded of the true value of a backup quarterback. In the preseason, wins and losses may not count, but having a good quarterback to distribute quality targets goes a long way in developing and evaluating skill position depth, something we unfortunately didn’t see much of Thursday night.
Tom Savage, we thank you for your cannon arm and we wish you a speedy recovery.
Sincerely, Lions fans everywhere.