Detroit Lions lose preseason opener to Patriots: 3 main takeaways
The Detroit Lions lost 31-3 to the New England Patriots in their first preseason game of 2019. What are some takeaways about the Lions roster and depth?
Don’t push the alarm button but the Detroit Lions got off to a very poor start in their first preseason game of the 2019 campaign. We aren’t going to sugar coat it, it was an ugly showing. Here are a few observations from the 31-3 beatdown at Ford Field.
If a team is capable of checking all of the boxes for a great game, this game was about as opposite of that as we will ever see. We all know that preseason game outcomes are essentially meaningless but you do want to see the team be competitive. Sure, most starters were missing, it was against the New England Patriots but they looked pretty bad from the jump.
The Detroit Lions starting offensive line was in with backup quarterback, Tom Savage, but only played in one series, holding penalty and a sack from the first unit, both on Kenny Wiggins, left guard. The backups were shaky at best. They gave up back-to-back sacks on the second drive that sent Savage to the trainer and ended his night.
There has been no clarification about Savage’s status after he went to the locker room. That was pretty much the end of the competitive stretch for the Lions as third string quarterback David Fales struggled to accomplish anything.
Most of the starters were out, Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Jr., were all out offensively. T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James did play early, though. Jermaine Kearse and Andy Jones started at wide receiver. The backup line of Tyrell Crosby, Joe Dahl, Luke Bowanko, Oday Aboushi, and Andrew Donnal were not good, however the Lions gave up nine sacks altogether so no one really blocked for Fales or Savage.
The same basic story was true for the defense. Most starters were out or only playing for one series. Darius Slay played briefly, as did Justin Coleman, and Tracy Walker. Rookie Jahlani Tavai played some, along with Miles Killebrew, while rookie Amani Oruwariye got some time in at cornerback. Oruwariye looked very green giving up a score early on in the game but that’s why he’s in there, to learn from his mistakes.
The mostly backup-run team didn’t look good pressuring the quarterback or covering receivers.
Takeaway #1 – Backup Quarterback
Depending on the status of Tom Savage, the Detroit Lions must address their backup quarterback situation. Savage has seemed competent but Fales could not be trusted to run the offense. Fales was 5 of 14 for 62 yards on the night with one interception.
General manager, Bob Quinn, should make some calls and try to get Jake Rudock back or an upgrade for the right price.
Takeaway #2 – Line Play
The backup offensive and defensive lines were thoroughly outplayed Thursday night. Not only did the offensive line give up nine sacks combined but the ground game only went for 72 yards total.
Tyrell Crosby looked particularly slow and flat footed when he was in, causing some to say that maybe he is out of position at tackle. What is most problematic is that he is the third best tackle that the Lions have, should Taylor Decker or Rick Wagner go down.
The Patriots had 459 yards of offense, 133 of them were on the ground; again, against backups. Much of that was behind rookie quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who was 14 of 24, for 179 yards and a touchdown.
Takeaway #3 – Injuries
Injuries are the biggest thing to avoid during preseason and the Lions had several guys leave the game and wide receiver, Jermaine Kearse, broke his leg on the very first drive.
Tom Savage went out of the game after being sacked hard and appeared to hit his head pretty hard on the turf.
Darius Kilgo, backup defensive tackle, was taken to the locker room.
So, the silver lining is that the Detroit Lions will look significantly different when everyone is healthy and in the lineup. The shortcomings are largely due to weak backups in a few key places, though.
What do you think think the Detroit Lions should do after a poor showing? Is there a player that they should sign? Let us know in the comments.