Both teams decided that they had seen enough from the starters during an intense set of back-to-back joint practices earlier in the week. This gave them the opportunity to get a long look at some of their bubble players, and for the Lions, it was a chance to give their rookies—many of whom will have a significant role—some much needed game reps.
The first-round picks stood out immediately for the Lions. Rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs looked explosive and agile, making an early impact with a big third down catch for 18 yards and a couple of nice runs before sitting out the rest of the game. Rookie linebacker Jack Campbell also made some big plays for the defense, finishing with four tackles and earning a couple of big stops on third down.
Some other notable performances came from wide receivers Chase Cota and Maurice Alexander. Cota seemed to be consistently open for both Nate Sudfeld and Adrian Martinez and finished with four catches for 60 yards, while Alexander got the Lions their first touchdown on a remarkable 95-yard punt return TD. Defensively, edge rusher Julian Okwara stepped up in a huge way, tallying three sacks.
It’s got to feel good for that locker room to start things off with a win, even if it’s just the preseason.
Today’s Question of the Day is...
What were the biggest positives and negatives of the Lions’ preseason opener?
It’s hard to feel that strongly one way or the other after just two days of joint practices and one game where the starters didn’t even play, but still, there were plenty of positives and negatives to take away from this win.
The biggest positive has to be that both teams appeared to be able to walk away without any significant injuries. The only player that had to leave the field for the Lions was offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher, who got the start at center. Running back Mohamed Ibrahim also seemed to be impacted by injury. Hopefully neither are too serious, as the Lions’ OL depth still seems to be a bit of a weak spot for them, and the running back room is currently hit hard with injuries.
Another major positive is the Lions’ defensive line depth. The reserves did a nice job of getting to the quarterback, as the team finished with five sacks and at least one deflection at the line of scrimmage. We already mentioned that Julian Okwara had a big game, but John Cominsky also made a big impact on the limited number of snaps that he played. It’s nice to see that the once-maligned defensive front of the Lions is blossoming into one of their greatest strengths.
On the negative side, the offense looked a bit rough out there with Nate Sudfeld under center, and one has to wonder if Adrian Martinez did enough replace Sudfeld as QB3. The Lions’ young receivers were doing a nice job of getting open for most of the night, but Sudfeld just couldn’t seem to get the ball to them, and while his first interception was just unlucky, his second was just a terrible throw missing his target, Jameson Williams.
For now, I’m feeling about the same in regards to the Lions as I was prior to this week, but it feels nice to see Lions football back in action, and it’s always nice to see a win, no matter the situation.
Do you feel better, worse, or the same after preseason Week 1?
This poll is closed