Detroit Lions strike for first preseason win after lightning delay
What stood out between the lines as the Detroit Lions squared off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Did the Lions improve any from the past two weeks?
Lightning and heavy rain in Tampa, Florida just prior to kickoff kept the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers off the field for nearly an hour beyond their original start time in both team’s third preseason game of the year. Maybe the unexpected delay affected the Lions’ defense because early on, they still lacked any bite.
Tampa Bay steadily marched the ball down the field on the ground and through the air. Linebacker Jarrad Davis whiffed on a would-be tackle for loss in the backfield which allowed Tampa to strike first blood with a 14-yard touchdown run.
Offensively through the air, the Lions started off strong with Matthew Stafford throwing consecutive first down darts to Golden Tate and Marvin Jones respectively. Kenny Golladay got loose on a busted coverage for a 36 yard gain that took Detroit to Tampa’s 6.
During that same drive on the ground, LeGarrette Blount had four carries for only10 yards and he didn’t seem to have much room to operate. He was stuffed in the red zone and after an incomplete end zone pass to Golden Tate, Detroit had to settle for a field goal to bring the score to 7-3.
Later, Detroit’s defense bared their teeth a bit by finally coming up with the team’s first sack of the preseason. With a head full of steam, Jarrad Davis was in the backfield immediately after the snap but he whiffed (again) on finishing the play. Thankfully, defensive tackle Sylvester Williams was there to finish the sack on Ryan Fitzpatrick. A’Shawn Robinson came with pressure on Fitzpatrick on the subsequent third down and helped force a Tampa Bay punt.
During one particular second-quarter sequence, Stafford used his legs to elude pressure on a third and nine play that eventually led to a 53-yard pickup for Detroit due to a defensive penalty on the Buccaneers. Still, Detroit’s offense had to settle (again) for a Matt Prater field goal which cut the Buccaneer lead to one, 7-6.
Late in the second, quarterback Jameis Winston helped put together a 66-yard touchdown drive that was capped off with a ten-yard scoring catch by Chris Godwin as he beat Darius Slay on the play.
With :07 seconds left until halftime, Matt Prater missed a 62-yard field goal that was then returned by Adam Humphries for a 109-yard endzone-to-endzone touchdown to send the Lions into the break down by 14 points, 20-6.
Matt Cassel entered the game to lead the offense during the third quarter and engineered two impressive 10+ play touchdown drives with Theo Riddick punching it in on the ground and Bradley Marquez scoring through the air.
Brandon Powell scored on an 80-yard punt return as Detroit fared much better for themselves offensively in the second half. The score was 30-26 in Tampa’s favor late into the fourth quarter and Jake Rudock threw for the go-ahead touchdown with :30 seconds left, giving Detroit their first lead of the game, 33-30.
Rookie Tracy Walker closed the contest with a game-sealing interception for the Detroit Lions and Matt Patricia’s team earned their first win of the preseason.