On Saturday night in that ever important 3rd pre season game against the Cleveland Browns the Lions did just enough to capitalize on 3 Cleveland turn overs to emerge as winners 35-27.
I do have to say coming on the heels of a pretty good first 2 games this one was pretty disappointing for the most part with a few bright spots and exposing more problems down the road.
The good was a lightning quick 1:28 3 play scoring drive on their first possession of the game highlighted by Jahvid Best 51 yard opening run followed by a 10 yard reception and capped nicely by a Stafford to the other Johnson,Bryant touchdown pass. The other pleasant trend that continued is good run blocking by not only the starters but also the second unit (omg could this mean actual talented depth)that helped Aaron Brown to a very nice 5 carries for 34 yards and 2 td game. This along with his 4 solid kick off returns for 95 yards may have just cemented his roster spot. Another bright spot was the return of Louis Delmas at safety who saw his first pre season action in the first 2 defensive series of the game. He responded with a couple of nice red zone pass coverage plays and had 1 tackle for loss in run pursuit.
The bad of course is that Best came out of the game after his spectacular first series with tightness in his legs and one can only hope it is just a minor couple day thing and Kevin Smith given his first significant playing time was largely disappointing. He got 8 carries for just 20 yards and 1 touchdown but fumbled once and slipped on another rushing play. The Defense was just all around terrible giving up 414 total yards of offense is unacceptable pre season game or not. Even the starting defensive line got done in by a good offensive line anchored by Pro-Bowler Joe Thomas and some nice game planning by the Browns. It was evident that Cleveland watched the tape and decided to go up tempo no huddle quick short throws to negate the pass rush as evident by Jake Delhomme starting connecting on 10 of his first 13 throws for only 73 yards. I sure hope this is not a trend of things to come in the regular season.
The Lions also added to their injury list by placing Jared DeVries on the Injured Reserve list for the list and watching their starting middle line backer DeAndre Levy go down with a pulled groin muscle on the very first play of the game. In what could be a truly debilitating loss to an already weak line backing unit.