The Lions looked anything but dominant in their 24-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns. The offense failed to get anything going on their first three drives. After the Browns prevented a first down on the first three drives, the Lions were able to drive down for a 48 yard field goal by David Akers.
The offense seemed to be missing a spark. Reggie Bush showed his explosiveness on a few plays, catching the ball five times for 44 yards. However, his run game proved insignificant as he gained 15 yards on 8 carries.
It is important to remember that Calvin Johnson was out with a knee contusion. He was replaced by Patrick Edwards in the starting lineup. The undrafted, two year player out of Houston didn’t do much to improve his chances of making the team. He had an unimpressive three catches for 10 yards.
The rest of the Lions receiving core shared in Edwards struggles. No receiver had more than 22 yards besides Reggie Bush. The Lions still have a lot of work to do when it comes to finding the back end of their receiving core. Last week standout Matt Willis only had 3 catches for a lackluster 18 yards.
Brandon Pettigrew got a decent amount of snaps but failed to show anything new. He had three catches for 20 yards. He suffered one blatant drop. Pettigrew still seems to struggle with catching the ball in game situations. Even though he may not catch everything, he is still better than having former receiver Roy Williams who the Lions traded for the pick that they selected Pettigrew with.
It’s tough to put much stock in these preseason matchups. Everyone remembers the 2008 undefeated preseason that lead to the classic 0-16 season. While this is true, there were still some alarming takeaways from the disappointing game.
The Lions were whistled for eight penalties. This included three personal fouls in the first half. That is unacceptable. These penalties show a lack of focus. For the Lions to be successful they need to kick their old habit of personal fouls.
Besides the defensive line, the defense didn’t look very good. Brandon Weeden was able to throw for 117 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions need better consistency at corner and safety. Louis Delmas has still not seen any preseason action. The position battle for the third linebacker spot still seems to be undecided at this point. Neither Tahir Whitehead nor Ashlee Palmer seemed to stand out as the clear starter.
One positive is that the Lions didn’t suffer any devastating injures. The Browns lost some players in the victory including their rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo to a bruised lung. Other injured Browns included running back Dion Lewis (broken leg), guard Jason Pinkston (sprained ankle), tight end Gary Barnidge (sprained shoulder) and kicker Brandon Bogotay (groin).
Cameron Jordan seems to have emerged as a scoring threat for the Browns. He caught two touchdowns in the game. This is promising for a player who only caught one touchdown all of last year. Jordan is another converted basketball player tight end. His athleticism makes him a matchup problem for defenses. Don’t be surprised if he has a big season.
The Lions will look to turn it around Thursday against the New England Patriots.