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What Just Happened? Lions vs. Falcons

A collection of thoughts on the Lions’ first preseason game.

Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It’s been a long road. Almost four years, in fact, since the Lions won their last preseason game. Unfortunately, the Lions’ misery will continue, as they lose yet another preseason game. It was a mix of pretty and ugly on Friday night, but the Lions’ 27-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons was all fun. It’s just nice to have football back. Even if it’s a losing effort by the Lions.

As always, I have thoughts on this game. Here are those thoughts:

Jared Goff

It was only one drive, but Jared Goff was very impressive on Friday night. You could see clearly that his comfort level was a lot different than it was last year. Goff went 3-for-4 for 47 yards. That may not seem like a huge day, but it was. Especially on this play here.

This was not something that 2021 Jared Goff would have done. 2021 Goff would have ran backwards and tried to do too much to prolong the play. 2022 Goff stayed calm, despite having a guy closing in on him, and found the open man down field. This is the type of thing we needed to see from Goff. If this is the Goff this team gets all year, this offense is in good hands.

This offense is fire emoji

We expected this group to look better, but did anyone expect them to just cruise down field the way they did? Every aspect looked good. The line was blocking well on runs and passes, both D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams looked great and Amon-Ra St. Brown did too. My biggest regret, along with not seeing Antonio Brown, The Beatles or Jesus at Red Rocks, is that we only got to see one drive. I want more! I’ll also say that it was disappointing that we didn’t get to see any DJ Chark on Friday night.

Hutchinson is not my son, but he’s a good football player

Just as we did with the offense, we only got a little taste of the defense. Second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson was the star of the latter show. Right off the bat he got into the backfield for a beautiful tackle for a loss.

A few plays later, he drew a holding penalty and he grabbed another tackle on Marcus Mariota. Much like the offense, we look forward to seeing more of Hutchinson as soon as possible.

The Lions’ defense is going to be an issue

After everyone got excited about the Lions’ offense, the team poured freezing cold water all over everyone with their defensive performance. The Lions had a very hard time stopping the run. They allowed 61 rushing yards on the first defensive drive of the game. The Lions have long had a problem stopping the run and it looks like that problem is going to continue.

Things got even worse when the second unit came in. In total, the Lions’ defense allowed 118 yards on the ground in the first half. If the Lions’ hope to be a great team in 2022, they have to get better on defense. The offense looks like it’s going to be great, but if the team has to win shootouts every week, that’s not going to work for this team.

Depth is a problem

It’s not the worst thing we’ve ever seen, but the Lions’ second unit drop off on both sides of the ball was definitely noticeable. The offensive line looked bad and so did the run game because of that. Tim Boyle—aside from one beautiful pass to Kalif Raymond—didn’t look any better than he did last year. Defensively the team got worked over by rookie Desmond Ridder on the ground.

None of these players have to start and that’s good in theory, but this is a team that dealt with a lot of injuries in 2021 and it’s concerning that the depth on this team did not look so good in this outing.

Devin Funchess may have played his way into a roster spot

Funchess didn’t have gigantic game. But he made some fun plays. The biggest standout was this one.

The days of Funchess being a big part of an NFL offense may be over, but Funchess showed that he can still very much have a presence on the field and in red zone. He made a few other grabs in the game and even hurdled a guy. That touchdown catch really shows that the Lions can utilize him and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him find his way onto the team.

Mr. Blough

Call Mr. Blough. That’s my name. That name again Is Mr. Blough. Did David Blough show you a thing or two on Friday or what? We mentioned that Tim Boyle looked rough, David Blough certainly did not. The footwork was on display early as he avoided multiple sacks and then had a really nice run for a first down. Blough made some nice throws to go with that footwork too. Could have certainly gone without that fumble though.

Jarrad Davis

The jury is kind of out on Davis. There were some instances where Davis looked good. Especially the time that he got to Desmond Ridder in time to disrupt his throw. The problem is that we also saw a lot of the old stuff that hurt Davis in the past. There was the of course the roughing the passer call. But there were also some issues in coverage and there were a couple times where you saw Davis miss tackles that he shouldn’t have missed. He was already on the bubble coming into Friday night’s game. I’m not sure if he did enough to get himself off the bubble in this game.

I’m going to let someone else announce what this next section is about

Tom Kennedy, or as I like to call him, preseason Julian Edelman just keeps showing out in these preseason games. He was by far the MVP of this game. The receiving corps is going to be tough to figure out when it comes to cut time. Kennedy going out there and getting eight catches for 104 yards is only going to make the decisions harder for the Lions. It’ll be shocking if he’s not a part of the team in some form in 2022.

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