This post is in response to my five things to watch during the Lions game against the New England Patriots. Click the previous link to read my pre-game thoughts and continue reading for my follow-up.
1. Titus Young
The long awaited debut of rookie wide receiver Titus Young arrived on Saturday night and he made sure it wasn’t a silent effort with a second quarter reception that went for 19 yards. Lions beat writer Tom Kowalski mentioned on twitter that he believes Young is still “thinking about” the injury and that is keeping him from a return to full speed. Even so, getting into a preseason game is an important step in the process.
2. Sample Size
I was interested to see what would happen to the Lions as their starters were exposed to more playing time, particularly as it relates to the running game and Matthew Stafford. Let’s get the easy one out of the way; Stafford is ready to go. The running game was mostly more of the same as Aaron Brown and Jerome Harrison combined for 54 yards on 17 carries. Maybe they are still below the threshold at which running backs find their rhythm…
3. Halftime Score
The thinking in highlighting the halftime score is that it is the direct result of the starters (mostly) rather than the battle of depth that determines the final score. Either way, the Lions came away with a resounding victory. As for the battle of the starters, the Lions “won” 27-10 and passed the eye test along the way.
4. Ndamukong Suh
Controversy surrounding Ndamukong Suh has generally been because of his interactions with quarterbacks but he found a new way to stir up trouble when Logan Mankins was trying to throw Lawrence Jackson around by his face mask. Mankins got what he deserved in the form of a personal foul penalty but Suh was fortunate to escape without his own 15-yarder (or worse) when he took a swipe at the Patriots offensive lineman. Get ready to endure more commentary about Suh being a “dirty” player.
5. The Crowd
Whether the game sold out because it was tacked on to partial season ticket packages or not, the seats actually looked filled and the crowd was obviously spirited. Full preseason stadiums for nationally televised games isn’t a league-wide phenomenon so kudos to all the Lions fans that made it out to Ford Field to be seen AND heard.