Sunday, August 28, 2011
Preseason: Lions, QB Stafford are on it
By Kevin Seifert
Reviewing Saturday's action at Ford Field:
Detroit Lions 34, New England Patriots 10
Preseason record: 3-0
Of interest: I would suggest jumping on the Matthew Stafford bandwagon now -- if there is still room. Stafford was again accurate, composed and productive in what might have been the most impressive performance (preseason or otherwise) in his career. He completed 12 of 14 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns, and one of his "misses" was an end zone pass to receiver Nate Burleson that could have been caught. He now has a 154.0 passer rating this preseason, having completed 24 of 31 passes for 356 yards and five touchdowns. And this bonus: He absorbed his first hits of the preseason Saturday night and emerged no worse for the wear. Look out. ... Stafford benefited from two really nice plays, a 52-yard catch-and-run on a screen by running back Jerome Harrison, and a great adjustment on an underthrown ball by receiver Calvin Johnson for a 30-yard gain. ... Did you see Burleson's downfield block on Harrison's screen? ... Tailback Aaron Brown started and rushed for 30 yards on nine carries, but it's clear that depth at the position remains in flux. ... The Lions defense swarmed Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, sacking him twice, forcing a fumble and unofficially hitting him five times as he managed to complete only 12 of his 22 passes. ... Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was lucky not to be penalized for a retaliation hit on Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins. ... The Lions led 17-3 when they began inserting second-team defensive players.
Local coverage: Stafford on his preseason, via Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com: "It's been positive. I felt comfortable for the most part tonight. Whoever's out there, we've done a great job and that's a testament to our coaches. They do a great job of preparing us.'' ... Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press: "I've seen enough. Stafford will be the Lions' first Pro Bowl quarterback in four decades -- if not this year, then soon. He is legit. I'm sold." ... Coach Jim Schwartz, via Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com: "It's preseason, you have to be careful about how you look it. I think that other than the final score we have to look at individual matchups. There were a couple of plays where we could've put more points on the board. But, again, you say a lot of times in preseason you want see players win you don't want to see schemes win. We saw a lot of good matchups today and not just our first group against their first group.'' ... John Niyo of the Detroit News: "You've got to be careful not to completely dismiss what you see on the field in August."
Up next: Thursday at Buffalo Bills