The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Preseason Week Three

Aug 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson (64) during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Lions 27-26. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson (64) during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Lions 27-26. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Lions lost to the Baltimore Ravens 30-9 last night in their 3rd preseason game.  As most know, the 3rd preseason game is generally the one teams take more seriously.  It has become almost cliché to call it a “dress rehearsal.”  More specifically, as put by Bill Belichick

"“In terms of playing time it might be a little different, but in terms of game-planning and strategy, what we see in the regular season compared to what we see the in third preseason game I don’t even think you’re in the same universe.”"

Basically, teams are not game planning for their opponent or using specific plays against them to gain an advantage.  The starters might play more, but coaches are looking for specific results, and are not necessarily worried about the final score or stats.  That being said, the Lions probably did not hit many of those goals last night.  The offensive starters once again failed to score a touchdown, and the defense routinely gave up chunks of yards to Baltimore’s first team.  This weekly column will break down the good, bad, and ugly of the previous game.  This week’s spoiler alert: Even some the good is partially drowned in ineptitude.

The Good

Matt Prater

Prater went 2/3 in field goal attempts last night, including a 60-yard bomb to close out the half.  The only reason he was able to attempt the field goal is from Timmy Jernigan committing a bone-headed personal foul on Matthew Stafford, however.  Still, there are no worries from the kicking game going into this season.

Theo Riddick

Riddick had all but one of his rushing yards on a single run, but what a run it was.

Not only did the offensive line actually create a hole to run through, but Riddick found it, and then mashed the “O” button on safety Terrence Brooks.  Riddick is still going to be primarily a pass catching back this year, but being able to throw in positive runs from time to time will really help this offense.  And since this is the “good” part, we won’t mention the bad drop he had on a screen.  There.  Officially not mentioned.

Offensive Line Starters

Not every lineman played well last night, but as a whole, they were noticeably better than the previous couple of weeks.  Taylor Decker had yet another tough test in the preseason, facing Terrell Suggs most of the night, but he held his own and was not attributed with a quarterback hit or a missed block.  Laken Tomlinson and Travis Swanson had their best showings of the preseason as well.  Tomlinson’s personal foul was unwarranted, by the way, and not worrying.  Larry Warford was mostly average in run and pass blocking.  Riley Reiff had a semi-rough day manning the right side, getting worked a few times by a 5th round rookie in pass protection, as Jeff Risdon points out.  As a unit, the line was much improved over the previous couple of games.

No Major Injuries

As always in the preseason, the major takeaway from every game is the injury list.  The Lions have had good luck thus far in not picking up any major cuts or bruises yet.  On a night in which the Ravens starting tight end Benjamin Watson tore his Achilles on a simple misstep, the Lions came out scratch free for the most part.  As thin as most of the positions on this team are, they cannot suffer many injuries and get away with them.  So far, so good.  Also of note, DeAndre Levy and Ameer Abdullah made their respective debuts after being out for some time.  The Lions need both of them to produce this year to have a good season.

The Bad

Matthew Stafford

Stafford had himself a tough night.  While the line stood up well in pass protection, Stafford did not play his part.  His receivers did not help him out all night, but Stafford was skittish and uncomfortable in the pocket and had an embarrassing interception.  His final stat line, 14/23, 95 yards, OTDs, 1INT, for a rating of 51.9, looks even worse.  He will bounce back, though.  There is no quarterback controversy in Detroit, and for good reason.

Dwayne Washington

After cutting Steven Ridley a few days ago, the thinking in Detroit was that Washington had impressed coaches enough to be the 3rd or 4th running back this season.  Last night was a ten-gallon bucket of “meh” from the rookie.  He had two yards on three carries, and was out-shown by Jace Billingsley in the return game as well.  Washington is likely to see the bulk of the carries with Zach Zenner in next week’s game, and he will have to perform much better then to ensure a spot on the roster.


I made sure to check that I had not been transported back to 2012 after the flag party the Lions had last night.  Jim Caldwell’s team was 28th in the league in least penalties per game in 2014, and 14th in 2015, via Team Rankings.  The Lion’s first team committed 8 penalties before the half last night, often in inopportune moments.  At one point, the Lion’s starting offense faced a 3rd and 37, 20 of those yards coming on penalties.  This needs to change before the regular season.

The Ugly

Nevin Lawson

Oh boy.  The 3rd year pro had himself a bad day.  On Baltimore’s first offensive play of the game, Mike Wallace absolutely roasted Lawson deep, only to see the pass sail long.  Had the pass been on target, it would have been at least a 40 yard gain.  The very next play, Lawson gives up a slant to Kamar Aiken for 15 yards.  On the ensuing play, Lawson gives up a catch to Wallace for 20 yards.  Had Glover Quin not made a great open field tackle, Wallace would have scored. Five plays later in the drive, Lawson is targeted again, luckily getting away with a blatant hold on Aiken.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 10
Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 10 /

Lawson did not make any more egregious errors after that first drive, but it was just about the worst a corner can play in one series.  He is likely going to be the starter opposite Slay this year, and teams are finding out that he can be picked on.

Bat Sex

At least somebody got some fun action last night, I suppose.


The Lions played an ugly game in most facets.  There are still major kinks to work out on both sides of the ball, and a short time to figure it all out.  Preseason scores mean nothing, but performances usually do.  Up next for the team is roster cuts, as they need to have 75 by Tuesday.

Next: Detroit Lions Starters Lose Big in Baltimore