Last week’s game was another horrible showing by the Detroit Lions, having little offense and the defense allowed another whopping 30 points. This week Detroit was looking to get out of that slump, and boy did they ever.
The first team never saw the field except for Devin Taylor, Sam Martin, Don Muhlbach and Matt Prater. The defense did a complete 180 and had a shutout. This was an important game for 22 players as 22 people will not have jobs come Saturday at 4 p.m. Let’s check out what happened this week in the preseason finale.
Dan Orlovsky was in for the majority of the first quarter and he didn’t show much, going 5/10 for 42 yards. There were some bad throws, but also some drops that shouldn’t have happened.
Jake Rudock came in at the end of the first quarter, and played the rest of the game. Rudock impressed once again, going 14 for 23 for 171 and three touchdowns. He did overthrow the ball a few times and missed chances at more points. Overall he did well in facing the pressure from the Buffalo Bills, escaping the pocket to buy time and keep plays alive. He also ran four times for 31 yards. Rudock solidified his spot as the number three quarterback on the team.
The running game improved greatly this week as Dwayne Washington proved his worth to make the roster. He ran for a 58 yard touchdown and ended with seven carries for 68 yards. George Winn lead with carries: 15 for 39 yards. He is once again looking to land on the practice squad. Zach Zenner had a quiet day with five carries for six yards. His carries were marred by terrible run blocking, with him being met in the backfield more often than not. Overall Detroit had 144 yards on the ground on 31 carries, and looked good blocking for the most part.
Receiving was the biggest battle for roster spots on offense. Jace Billingsley lead the team with seven catches for 80 yards and a touchdown, while Jay Lee was right behind him with six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown as well. Andre Roberts, the final receiver with a real chance to make the team, dropped a pass and wasn’t able to grab the second one – most likely hurting his stock.
TJ Jones didn’t play, giving the impression that he makes the team as the number four wide receiver. Quinshad Davis, the man who got cut and re-signed with the Lions only had two catches for 20 yards, essentially killing his final chance to make the team. Adam Fuehne had the final touchdown on a five yard pass. Orson Charles didn’t get any grabs, nor did Cole Wick. Orson Charles did have a nice block on Washington’s touchdown run, which could help determine who is behind Eric Ebron week one.
The offensive line held up pretty well, creating holes for the running backs with no sacks allowed. Joe Dahl did well at the left tackle spot and Brandon Thomas, the new guard who the Lions traded for this week, had some good reps. Thomas did have some bad plays, getting blown out and costing the Lions a couple of yards on a play.
The defensive line was very impressive today, getting four sacks on both Bills quarterbacks for a total of 24 yards. They were able to stop the run in its tracks, allowing 67 yards on 23 carries. Kerry Hyder had a great day, getting three sacks with rookie Anthony Zettel getting one.
Caraun Reid also did well, getting three tackles for a loss. Gabe Wright had three tackles also. Brandon Copeland was able to intercept a pass that was deflected by a fellow Detroit Lion and return it a few yards.
Linebackers did well today as Antwione Williams lead the team in tackles with seven, one for a loss. Zaviar Gooden had four tackles. The only weak looking linebacker was Khaseem Greene, ending with three tackles. They did allow O’Leary to get six catches for 63 yards, so the coverage wasn’t the best, but in stopping the run they did their job.
Coverage by the defensive backs was hit or miss. The Bills only got 103 yards in the air, their lack of production in the passing game was due to the poor play by the offensive line. the just could not seem to give Cardale Jones and EJ Manuel enough time to throw. Adairius Barnes had four tackles and three pass deflections while Don Carey had one tackle and a pass deflection. Darrin Walls didn’t look any better, leaving many receivers open. Alex Carter looked shaky and was flagged for a penalty.
Special Teams was nothing special as Matt Prater made his only field goal attempt from 45 yards out. Sam Martin had five punts for 225 yards, one landing inside the 20, but he seemed to have trouble with two of his punts. Jace Billingsley was the only returner, with three punt returns for 12 yards and a kick return for 25 yards.
Preseason Week 4 What it Means
Jake Rudock had a great game, looking like a solid number three option for the Lions. It wouldn’t be wise for the Lions to attempt to stash him on the practice squad. I’d expect him to be snatched up pretty quickly by a smart team looking for a developmental QB.
Detroit had a physical presence on the defensive line, now we don’t know if that was because Detroit has depth on the defensive line or because the Buffalo Bills depth on the offensive line is poor. Either way Detroit looked dominant and if the starters can show something like the backups showed today, Detroit should be able to stop the run and disrupt opposing quarterback play.
While he didn’t play in the game, Eric Ebron was seen running routes before the game started. This is a good sign for a week one return even though Ebron did say his status was questionable.
Preseason Week 4 What to Think About
With Andre Roberts basically not showing up, Jace Billingsly and Jay Lee scoring and getting some good reps, you have to wonder who will get the number five receiver job? Lee won’t return kicks, but Billingsly and Roberts can, so they might have that advantage over him.
Linebackers, while doing well tonight, will have to get cut down. You have to wonder who takes the fall. Zaviar Gooden? Khaseem Greene? Jayson DiManche? All of them? Time will tell, and you won’t have to wait long for that answer. Roster cuts to 53 players are due by this coming Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
Detroit ended the preseason 2-2. We all know the preseason record doesn’t matter, it is all about testing young players, many of whome won’t make an NFL roster. Don’t let a preseason record cause you to panic. Detroit will have nearly all of their starters on the field for week one, Brandon Pettigrew being the only big name injured, with other backups on the PUP or IR list. We will finally have a chance to see the full Jim Bob Cooter offense. The preseason is now over, its time for Jim Bob Cooter to let the bland offense go and turn up the heat. Since the games actually count and the starters are out there, expect the Lions to bring the spice.