The Detroit Lions took the lead, then fell behind in Saturday night’s preseason opener. The falling behind was a theme that would repeat itself. After trailing by a touchdown in the final quarter, though, Detroit managed to come back and thrill the home crowd with a stunning late win.
Kellen Moore led Detroit on two impressive drives in the fourth quarter, one of which paid off with a touchdown pass to Corey Fuller that helped provide the Lions with a 13-12 victory over the Cleveland Browns and a successful hunt in the preseason opener. The late strike ended up being the only touchdown of the entire game.
What was learned from this initial contest? Here’s some thoughts.
Ryan Broyles Could Be Tough To Edge Out. The Lions will have an interesting time making a decision on what to do at wide receiver. Not only did Broyles impress, so did Andrew Peacock (43 yards) and Corey Fuller (one touchdown). Everyone, though, might have the furthest to go to catch Broyles, who made a pair of nice catches and showed the ability to be elusive in space. If Broyles can finally shake off injuries and become the receiver he’s supposed to be, there’s no question he’ll stick on the roster.
Jeremy Ross Will Be A More Complete Difference Maker. Early, Ross impressed with two electric kickoff returns for 79 yards and also had a nice reception on the field as a receiver. Ross, continuing on a theme seen at times last year, will continue to see double duty and excel, perhaps seeing plenty more offensive touches this year. With speed and shiftiness, Ross will be a significant difference maker for the Lions’ offense.
Which Kicker Has The Leg Up? Inconclusive. Though Nate Freese did make two field goals and Giorgio Tavecchio didn’t get an attempt, the kicking battle was probably more inconclusive than anything. Tavecchio did handle the kickoff duty well. Next week, expect to see more from Tavecchio with regards to field goals.
Winn-ing. George Winn was impressive, showing some definite speed and agility coming out of the backfield. Best yet, after Winn sustained a critical fumble late, he returned with vengeance and collected positive yardage on the next series. It’s hard to imagine where Winn fits in with Detroit, but he continues to jump off the tape plenty.
Send It In, Jerome! Jerome Couplin has a fantastic frame and showed flashes of brilliance on the field tonight. The safety looked made to play his position, and made a few important tackles and heady plays for the secondary in the fourth quarter. Many wondered why Detroit didn’t draft a safety earlier in May, but the reasoning could be they figured Couplin would give them what they needed. It was a good opening audition, to be certain.
Lions? In addition to those players mentioned, defensive tackle Caraun Reid had a few nice takedowns in the middle and a fumble recovery. Jerome Couplin showed an impressive ability to make plays at the safety spot and is a solid tackler and hitter.
Lambs? Dan Orlovsky didn’t set the world on fire manning the second team offense. He completed a few passes, but missed his share of opportunities, as well. Frankly, Kellen Moore outplayed him. Eric Ebron struggled in his first game, making only one catch and looking a bit lost at times.
Play Of The Game: Corey Fuller’s touchdown catch. Fuller made a beautiful catch in the corner of the end zone, going up and grabbing the ball in stride. The play helped Fuller showcase the speed and hands he has shown in practice and developed since being stashed on the practice squad. The play powered Detroit’s comeback win.
Stat Of The Game: 5, the number of penalties the Lions collected. Instead of Detroit melting down late, it was Cleveland who saw a penalty parade help fuel the comeback of the opposition. Regardless of if the game is a preseason contest or not, that’s still a good sign. After having a few mistakes early, the Lions showed an impressive ability to clean things up in half two and have resolve. So far, so good as it relates to ending all those pesky discipline issues.
He Said It: “It was kind of a bend but don’t break first half for us.” —Jim Caldwell. In the first half, Detroit’s defense didn’t play fantastic football, but they also didn’t have a massive breakdown, either. They held Cleveland out of the end zone and kept the Browns to field goals. That’s a good sign, but Caldwell would probably like to see his defense be a bit more aggressive and get more consistent stops.