Detroit Lions preseason report card: Week 2 vs. Colts
By Zach Payne
The Detroit Lions beat the Indianapolis Colts in their second preseason game, with a lot of good again and more lessons to be learned for the young players on the roster.
Another week of the preseason down for the Detroit Lions. This time they closed the game out, earning a victory over the Indianapolis Colts. This also marks the Lions’ first preseason win since 2018.
To reiterate a point from last week, the end result doesn’t mean anything in the preseason. But it’s still nice to win, and when the game is close you get more meaningful reps in a preseason contest
Let’s dive into the Lions report card for Week 2 of the preseason.
Detroit Lions preseason report card: Week 2 vs. the Indianapolis Colts
Offense: 3.5/5 Stars
Running the ball is something we know this coaching staff wants to be able to do. Today, they were able to do that with ease, racking up 174 yards on the ground and averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The game-winning touchdown came on the ground. courtesy of Godwin Igwebuike.
The run game was so effective due in large part to the offensive line. The second and third-string linemen did a phenomenal job of opening up run lanes, and the running backs exploiting them for big gains.
The passing game was a lot more of a mixed bag, the quarterbacks were both guilty of some bad pocket presence and inaccurate throws. However, Tim Boyle certainly was the sharper of the two passers in this game.
Best offensive player(s): RB Craig Reynolds and RB Justin Jackson
The Lions’ running backs were all effective running the ball, but Reynolds and Jackson were the two best. Reynolds consistently picked up big chunks of yardage. Jackson was able to both run between the tackles and outside effectively, as he led all rushers in the game with 54 yards on seven carries.
Reynolds seems to have a good lock on the RB3 role behind D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Jackson has made his case to be fourth on the depth chart since arriving in Lions’ camp. Jermar Jefferson and Igwebuike will need to have strong showings in practice this week, or they could be on the outs as final cuts are rapidly approaching.
Worst offensive player: QB David Blough
Last week Blough took the lead in the battle to be the No. 2 quarterback, and he may have lost it back to Tim Boyle already. While he was able to extend plays with his legs a few times, Blough also was guilty of taking a really bad sack that he didn’t need to. He threw a bad pass to a covered receiver that got deflected and intercepted. He also showed inaccuracy on a few passes to open targets.
No one is expecting either backup quarterback to be anything special. But if Jared Goff goes down to injury this year, Detroit is going to be in serious trouble.
Defense: 2.5/5 Stars
This was about as two-faced a defensive performance as there could have been for the Lions. The run defense was excellent, and the defensive front in particular had a really strong day. The Colts only managed 30 yards on the ground, via 1.6 yards per carry. The defensive line also pressured the Colts’ quarterbacks consistently, forcing them to be on the move.
However, the Lions’ pass defense did not hold up well in this one. Jeff Okudah looked good in limited action, but he was about the only bright spot. Will Harris gave up a few big catches. Depth corners/upcoming roster cuts Savion Smith and Mark Gilbert were acceptable at times, but both also gave up too much. The safeties were awful in coverage.
Best defensive player: DE Austin Bryant
Bryant has flashed a lot at camp, and that translated to the field on Saturday. He was excellent against the run, setting the edge and closing on opposing ball carriers with purpose. And he may have been even better rushing the passer. He finished with a sack, and would have easily had another if John Cominsky hadn’t gotten there first.
Bryant displayed some refined technique rushing from the edge. He is very quickly forcing his way into a roster spot with his play in practice and in preseason action thus far.
Worst defensive player: S Kerby Joseph
Joseph had a few good moments, but he was a bit of an adventure in coverage today. Which is to be expected, since he’s a very raw prospect who will need time to develop into the player Detroit thought they were drafting.
But just because we know Joseph has a lot of growing to do as a player, that doesn’t absolve him from criticism. Especially on the Colts’ 50-yard touchdown pass, where Joseph left a man wide-open on an apparent miscommunication.
Joseph’s roster spot isn’t in any danger. But he needs to get more comfortable in coverage before the coaching staff will feel comfortable putting him out there in the regular season.
Special Teams: 4/5 Stars
Igwebuike has long been almost written in pen n as the Lions’ No. 1 kickoff returner, but Maurice Alexander is making a case for why that job shouldn’t be settled just yet.
Alexander was phenomenal on kickoff returns, averaging 38 yards per on four tries with a long of 61. Who will be the Lions’ kickoff returner is now a legit conversation.
In the kicking battle, Riley Patterson wasn’t really tested. Austin Seibert, however, saw his stock fall as both the kicks he made were clearly slicing right, and he had a 55-yard attempt that sailed right and missed.
At this point of the kicking battle, Patterson seems to be the more reliable of the two. It’ll be up to Seibert to change that narrative.
The 2022 regular season is getting closer, thankfully.
Next weekend’s preseason finale against the Steelers will be the last opportunity for Lions players to prove worthy of a roster spot, as rosters across the league move down from 80 on Aug. 23 to the final 53 a week later.