Preseason Week 1 Review: Detroit Lions 30 – Pittsburgh Steelers 17

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Months of waiting, wanting, just trying to find out some type of football news and action. Luckily we here at the Detroit Lions Podcast we have been able to keep your offseason hangover to a low din, but now that time is over and it is time for some football! Detroit still seems to have some troubling issues with the offensive line’s blocking and the receiving corps’ drops. The defense stepped up and while the Steelers had 14 points on the board, not all of that was allowed by the defense. Now that we’ve seen some game action, Detroit’s coaching staff and the fans have a piece of what is to come when the real season begins on September 11th. Let’s review what happened in the first game of the preseason in…

Preseason Week 1 Review

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Offense

The first team offense did well, but struggled at times. Stafford went 4/6 for 58 yards and he got hit three times, something Lions fans didn’t want to see. Fans had hoped this would be corrected with Taylor Decker getting picked in the first round and Reiff moving to the right tackle spot. Dan Orlovsky at times looked great, but mostly didn’t.  He threw a perfect deep ball that was dropped and avoided a sack, but later literally gave the ball away with a panic pass that was intercepted, and worse yet, more than 10 yards away from any other Lion. Orlovsky ended going 16/25 for 164 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Jake Rudock made his preseason debut and went 8/11 for 72 yards and a touchdown. Rudock looked comfortable in the pocket and two of his three incomplete passes were his only bad throws.

The running game was average, as Ameer Abdullah was out, Theo Riddick took the start. He had four carries for 15 yards and couldn’t find the holes and got hit hard a few times. Zach Zenner was the next leader in carries with seven for 24 yards, along with three catches for 32 yards. He was able to bust through a hole and make a play with a 12 yard run, his longest of the day. Stevan Ridley also contributed for 14 yards on five carries. Overall the run game was able to produce 95 yards on 27 carries, not a great day day, but with vanilla formations, we often tipped the run.

Receiving was lead by Andre Roberts, getting three catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. Roberts did well and could end up in that sixth wide receiver spot if he keeps this up. Jeremy Kerley had five catches for 36 yards but had a huge drop early on. Orlovsky threw a dime right into Kerley’s hands and he dropped it. Anquan Boldin had a catch for 30 yards as he broke a tackle and dragged a man a few yards before getting taken down. Marvin Jones only had one catch for 16 yards, but it was a good catch at that, tiptoeing on the sidelines. Jace Billingsley was the other receiver who had a touchdown showing some great moves through the Steelers’ secondary. Tight ends were lead by Orson Charles with two catches for 15 yards. Cole Wick only had one catch for 10 yards as the hype train died down somewhat this game.

The offensive line had an inconsistent day. Taylor Decker’s blocking was hot and cold,picking up a holding call along the way and getting beaten by James Harrison.  He also allowed a sack and fumble. Tomlinson and Reiff did well, but Warford and Swanson struggled at times. Graham Glasgow had a bad snap, but besides that he blocked well. Joe Dahl got beat a time or two and Geoff Schwartz did well. Surprisingly Cornelius Lucas did well at tackle and could be an acceptable backup. Besides the starters and the backups, nothing else was noticeable by the third stringers.

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Defense

The defensive line was able to bring pressure to the offense, as Devin Taylor, Quanterus Smith, and Anthony Zettel forced a sack and the team had five tackles for a loss. The run game for Pittsburgh struggled, with only 20 carries for 85 yards. Tyrunn Walker got the start alongside Ngata, Taylor and Ansah. Behind the starters, the backups were able to keep the run game at a dim, and were able to put pressure on the quarterbacks.

Linebackers were lead by Khaseem Greene with five tackles and a sack. Kyle Van Noy had three tackles and rookie Antwione Williams had five tackles. Zavier Gooden got hurt during the game and didn’t return. Besides those three people, the linebacking core didn’t do anything too fantastic or too horrible to warrant notice.

The defensive backs were consistent and able to make some nice stops. Crezdon Butler did allow the only touchdown while covering Darrius Heyward-Bey but the coverage was on point, Heyward-Bey just made a good play. Darrin Walls had three tackles, while Isaiah Johnson had four total tackles. Johnson Bademosi almost had an easy interception but misjudged the trajectory of the ball in the air and completely overran it.

Special Teams did well as Matt Prater and Devon Bell made all three of their field goal attempts, the longest going from 42 yards out. There were two punts, one by Bell and one by Martin. Both ended up inside the 20 as Bell’s went for 50 yards and Martin’s went for 47. Returning was impressive on the kicking side with Andre Roberts having two returns for 36 yards and Kerley had one for 23 yards, but the leader of the group was Dwayne Washington who had his kick return go for 96 yards and a touchdown. Punt returns were quiet with only six returns for 51 yards.

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Preseason Week One – What it Means

The offense did well despite having some issues early on. They had 379 yards compared to the Steelers 187. The offensive line could improve with more time for the quarterbacks and better holes for the run game. The defensive line depth is impressive and gives Detroit some insurance if the injury bug strikes. Dwayne Washington with the kick return for a touchdown gave himself a shot to make the team if he can keep up the good work.

Preseason Week One – What to Think About

While there are some positives, there are also a few negatives and things fans need to think about. Will the offensive line improve? Sure it was only a series or two, but they had some troubles that we can only hope are improved upon coming into week two. Jake Rudock looked good, could he have a shot to make the roster and maybe, just maybe, sneak up to the backup spot? Will the defensive line continue to dominate? The defensive line was holding up the Steelers offensive line all game, plugging holes and putting pressure on the quarterbacks. Finally, one thing to think about ahead of week two is whether the tight ends will actually show up for the game. Matthew Mulligan was the starter, but he didn’t produce and nobody behind him really showed any promise in the competition to become the third string tight end.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for myfantasysportstalk.com and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.