Friday, August 16, 2013
Preseason Week 2: Brutal night for Lions
By Kevin Seifert
Reviewing Thursday's events at FirstEnergy Stadium:
Cleveland Browns 24, Detroit Lions 6
Preseason record: 1-1
Of interest: The game started with a drop by tight end Brandon Pettigrew and continued on in sloppy and uninspiring fashion for the Lions. ... There were a few highlights, most notably from defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, and because this is August, we'll start with them. Suh collapsed the Browns' pocket several times and quite amazingly ran down Browns tailback Trent Richardson on the far sideline, while Fairley blew past All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas on an outside rush and also stopped Richardson on a screen play. But Suh committed a silly personal foul, one of three for the Lions in the first half and four overall, and the Lions couldn't get out of their own way for most of the game. … The first-team offense was largely punchless without receiver Calvin Johnson (minor knee bruise), punting four times and scoring only on a 48-yard field goal by David Akers on its fifth and final possession. ... In all, the starting offense managed 73 yards and four first downs in the first half. ... The team's only other score came on a 33-yard field goal by Havard Rugland in the third quarter. ... Quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 11 of 16 passes but only for 74 yards, and while we got a few glimpses of Reggie Bush's potential as a flat receiver (five receptions, 44 yards), he managed only 15 yards on eight carries. … Meanwhile, the second-level tackling from the Lions defense was brutal -- the most glaring was Ashlee Palmer's failure to tackle Josh Gordon on a short pass -- and the Browns' presumably weak passing game lit them up all evening. Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell combined to complete 20 of 26 passes for 223 yards and three scores. Weeden caught the Lions in a botched man coverage on one touchdown and split safeties Don Carey and Glover Quin for the other. ... The best news: The Lions reported no significant injuries.
Local coverage: Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "The Lions got a glimpse of life without Calvin Johnson on Thursday, and it wasn't pretty." Coach Jim Schwartz said "it was very disappointing to see the way we played without Calvin because I thought there was opportunities for guys to make plays." … Drew Sharp of the Free Press: "[I]f Jim Schwartz’s overriding objective coming into the Cleveland game Thursday night was lulling the rest of the NFL into believing the Lions hadn’t changed their bumbling ways, he succeeded." … Stafford, via Justin Rogers of Mlive.com: "Obviously Calvin was out tonight, but that's no excuse. We can't use it as an excuse. We can't use it as a crutch. We have to have other guys step up and make plays." … Rogers also reviewed the Lions' 60 yards in personal foul penalties. … One bit of humor on the night: Lions running back Joique Bell knocked down a streaker who made it onto the field. Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News has the gory details.
Up next: Thursday against the New England Patriots at Ford Field.