COMMENTARY | After the Detroit Lions’ 24-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Lions defense looked very exploitable.
Against the New England Patriots on Thursday, August 22, the defense dominated Tom Brady and his offense and picked up the 40-9 win. The Lions offense also made some strides, despite Calvin Johnson not playing.
Here are some observations from the Detroit Lions’ third preseason game:
Jason Jones made his presence known
The Lions signed former Seattle Seahawk defensive end Jason Jones in the offseason. With Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley wrecking havoc up the middle, Jones was a great signing and will help put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
He did just that against Brady with two sacks and another tackle for a loss. On one sack, he managed to drag down Brady just by grabbing onto his jersey. It shows the amount of strength he has, while Jones is trying to fend off an offensive lineman.
Louis Delmas also made his first start of the preseason, and made the most of his two series played with a fumble recovery and a tackle for a loss.
Lions fans were probably hoping to see more of Delmas, but two series was good enough. He doesn’t need to stay in any longer and risk an injury.
Defense taking too many dumb penalties
The defense performed admirably with four turnovers in the first half, but they also shot themselves in the foot too many times.
Fairley had two dumb penalties on the same drive, one that pushed the Lions back to their own 5 after they recovered a Patriots fumble.
Willie Young’s taunting penalty on Brady was the most idiotic thing I’ve ever seen. Brady threw an incomplete pass and Young pointed directly in Brady’s face giving the Lions a 15-yard penalty and putting the Patriots on their own 25.
There is absolutely no reason to be taunting a quarterback after an incomplete pass, especially with someone of Brady’s stature. The NFL is going to do everything in their power to protect Brady. You can’t expect to taunt him and get away with it.
These penalties are from a lack of discipline. The Lions had a big problem with this last year, and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better this year.
First-team offense improving
The first-team offense looked dreadful against the Browns last week. They improved this week scoring their first touchdown of the preseason as Tony Scheffler made a nice grab on a 9-yard pass from Matthew Stafford. The Lions held a 16-3 halftime lead.
However, there were still a number of throws Stafford, who was 12 of 25 for 166 yards, just completely missed. He has to correct those throws before the preseason starts.
Obviously without Johnson, it makes it that much harder for Stafford to run the offense, but Johnson’s absence isn’t an excuse for missed throws.
Reggie Bush also continued to impress as he made five catches for 105 yards, including an impressive 67-yard screen pass that set up the Lions’ first field goal.
The Lions bounced back from an awful game against the Browns, but there still is room for improvement. Bad penalties have to be priority No. 1. Penalties killed the Lions last year, and they have to correct those if they want to improve on a 4-12 record.