When looking at the preseason schedule, a game between the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns was probably not on many fan’s “must watch” list for the weekend. The game didn’t have a single touchdown until 1:05 minutes left in the game with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Moore to Corey Fuller, his only catch of the night.
The matchup was surrounded by commentary, analysis and the overall hype of Johnny Manziel, who finished the night 7 of 11 for 63 yards. Meanwhile, the starting quarterback situation in Detroit was set in stone. Matthew Stafford only played one drive that ended in a field goal by Nate Freese. Freese, apparently still hanging onto the starting position with two made field goals for 6 points.
Calvin Johnson was sidelined today but Magatron was never going to be the star of preseason. Some other wide receivers were able to step up into the position. Kris Durham lined up with the starters at times in the first quarter, finishing with 2 catches for 11 yards. Ryan Broyles was the star of the first half with 3 good catches for 27 yards. Andrew Peacock, currently fifth on the depth chart, was the go-to receiver in the second half with 43 yards, the most by any Lion receiver tonight.
While the tight end position has positive competition, this game didn’t open up room for discussion on anything new. Eric Ebron and Joseph Fauria combined for only 14 yards and will likely rotate in and out behind the starter Brandon Pettigrew for now.
Theo Riddick left the game early after a hit that left him with a slight injury. George Winn, a name previously mentioned in training camp for hard hitting, showcased his abilities as a strong runner out of the backfield. Despite a crucial fumble, Winn had some great first down plays while rushing 6 times for 39 hard yards.
Both Winn and running back Steven Miller found success with receptions out of the backfield for first down plays.
The Lions defensive line, including the second team unit, put pressure on the Browns’ quarterbacks and were good in open field tackling. Caraun Reid had a critical game changing play that eventually led to a Lions’ fumble recovery. However, the secondary found themselves exposed on a few long yardage plays. The Browns were able to convert on multiple third downs including a 16-yard play from Tyler Thigpen on 3rd and 16.
One fumble recovery and one interception by the Lions is a positive sign that the defense is progressing. Although it’s only a preseason game, holding the Browns with one minute left brought intensity and a competitive nature to the game. For a defense that has been criticized in the past, they were able to hold the Browns to only field goals, possibly proving the defense has more depth than we thought.
The game ended on a high note for the Lions. They will take the field again 3:30 p.m. on Monday for practice, with another long week of positional competition ahead in Detroit.