The third preseason game is the one where the starters tend to play the most, unless you are an amazing wide receiver with a minor injury that nobody is going to risk, and Thursday was Detroit's third preseason contest. They hosted the New England Patriots, who would likely give them a real challenge, particularly on defense. A defense which, for once, featured Louis Delmas and Chris Greenwood. How would things turn out?
The first quarter was relatively uneventful, as a David Akers field goal was the only score in the initial 15 minutes. Then, things opened up in the second quarter. First, Matthew Stafford hit Tony Scheffler for a 9-yard touchdown. Finally, the Lions' first-team offense found the end zone. That was quickly followed by another Akers field goal to make it 13-0. New England then got on the board with a field goal of their own. Then, in the waning seconds of the half, Akers booted the ball through the uprights to make it 16-3. I think we can all feel safe in Akers as a Jason Hanson replacement by this point. Sorry, Kickalicious. Only your terrible nickname can soothe you now.
In the third, Kellen Moore (Shaun Hill did not play in this game) connected with Joseph Fauria for a 22-yard score. This was followed by yet another field goal from Akers. After three quarters, the Lions were winning handily, boasting a 26-3 lead. They were not done, however. Moore and Michael Spurlock completed a 15-yard touchdown play, and then rookie Theo Riddick found the end zone from two yards out. The Patriots adding the epitome of a junk time touchdown in the final minute of the game, with Ryan Mallett throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to James Develin before failing on a two-point conversion. The Lions won 40-9.
Detroit has blown out New England! If this game counted that would be very exciting! Despite the big win, it wasn't a terribly impressive performance for the Lions. Stafford only went 12-for-25 for 166 yards and a touchdown. Moore was quite good, going 9-for-12 for 150 yards and two scores, but he is also Kellen Moore. Joique Bell played well, because Joique Bell is awesome, leading the team in rushing with five carries for 52 yards and adding two catches for 49 yards. On the flip side, Reggie Bush was terrible running the ball again. Six carries for one yard. That is atrocious. Yes, he caught five passes for 103 yards, mostly on one 67-yard play, but he needs to actually do something on the ground for once.
The defense was better, led by Jason Jones. Jones picked up both of Detroit's sacks, and added three tackles for loss and two quarterback hits. He also recovered a fumble, as did Delmas and Ziggy Ansah. Recovering all three fumbles in a game isn't likely to happen generally speaking, but it's still nice. Chris Houston added an interception. In total, the Lions had nine tackles for loss and six quarterback hits. On the minus side, Glover Quin got banged up, hopefully he is OK. Delmas is supposed to be the safety who gets hurt.
We have one more preseason game left, but it is the game where it is pretty much all backups fighting to even make the roster. It won't tell us much, not that this game was terribly illuminating. The Lions won big, but it doesn't mean anything for the regular season. We are all still just hoping for good health and waiting for the games to count. Also, waiting for Bush to actually have one good run. Just one!