The third preseason game is quite often thought of as a “dress rehearsal” for the season with starters seeing their largest chunk of game action. Of additional importance to the Detroit Lions was Calvin Johnson’s first game action of the preseason.
The Lions took a 7-6 lead into the break. Here are some quick notes on the first half of action:
- These Jacksonville Jaguars helmets are so, so terrible.
- The running game helped move the chains early on — a nine-yard run by Reggie Bush and a two-yard run by Joique Bell gave the team a first down on their first drive — but the passing game was not crisp at all. Stafford started off with a should-have-been interception that bounced off the hands of a defender, he had to throw one away when nothing opened up down field, he missed Golden Tate on a third attempt, and completed a 1-yard toss to Bell when he was forced out of the pocket and had to get rid of it.
- The second drive started on the six yard line with two consecutive runs by Joique Bell which netted 11 yards and a first down. The third play was Reggie Bush taking the hand off, hitting a big hole, and turning on the afterburners for an 86 yard TD run. Great run by Bush, and great blocking by the o-line.
- The passing woes continued on the third Lions drive. Stafford tried to hit Johnson deep down the middle, but a deep-ranging linebacker was able to simply step in front of the pass. The first team offense had been impressive in the first two preseason games, but the passing game was out of sync here in the first quarter.
- Calvin Johnson’s first grab was a quick stop-route that he converted into a gain of 11 yards. He followed that up with a nice 16-yard catch a few plays later on the fourth drive of the game. Finally the passing attack finds some sort of groove.
- The Detroit defense was solid early on. Four drives by Jacksonville netted six first down and just a 3.1 yards per play average. The Jaguars really only moved the ball on one of the drives with Chad Henne in the game, but a couple of sacks helped to stop them before they could get into field goal range. The three points allowed was only because the offense turned the ball over deep in their own territory. Blake Bortles entered for the final drive and drove the Jags down the field for a second field goal as time expired.
- Penalties were a problem in the first half. Seven flags resulted in a net loss of 58 yards. Included in the mess was a roughing the passer call against Ndamukong Suh for a late hit on Henne.