Only preseason, but it’s always a little bit more than that. Matthew Stafford didn’t have the best of performances, but at least he had Reggie Bush to throw to, as the Detroit Lions continue to look better and better despite not having their premier playmaker healthy enough to play.
The Lions finished off the New England Patriots 40-9 in their third preseason game, with Stafford playing the entire first half, throwing a touchdown pass and for 166 yards. He was highly inaccurate, completing 48% of his passes, but any time Calvin Johnson isn’t on the field, Stafford just isn’t the same quarterback.
Luckily, there’s Reggie Bush. Bush is a running back, so the one yard on six carries shouldn’t be encouraging to anyone. But he’s probably even better as a receiver, out of the backfield or in the slot, finishing with 5 receptions for 103 yards, with the Lions doing quite well with Kellen Morre and Thad Lewis in the second half to complete the very impressive victory.
The defense was probably the most positive sign of the night, as they forced four turnovers off of the Patriots, including Chris Houston intercepting Tom Brady in the first half while the team got three fumbles out of the Patriots, including one by Shane Vereen, who was supposed to be the Pats’ not-so-secret weapon this season.
Joique Bell did a great job at running back, trying to cement his place as the team’s number 2, currently in competition with Mikel Leshoure. Bell ran for 52 yards on 5 carries, although Leshoure had a goo day as well with 32 carries on 5 yards. None of them scored touchdowns, leaving that honor to rookie Theo Riddick, finishing with 30 yards on 9 carries, but one of the Lions’ four touchdowns in the game.
The Lions enjoyed a good day from their tight ends, as Stafford found Tony Scheffler for the first half touchdown, and later it was Moore who connected for one of his two touchdowns with Joseph Fauria, throwing the other one to wide receiver Michael Spurlock.
More on defense? Louis Delmas played in two series, making significant contribution by recovering one of the fumbles and getting one tackle for a loss. Rookie Ziggy Ansah enjoyed a big tackle against James Develin on a big fourth and 1. The Lions have more talent on this side of the ball this season, but injuries might be there to hinder that improvement in quality.
Glover Quin had to leave the game due to an injury, while Montell Owens didn’t get much work done at running back or special teams before leaving the game. The Lions seem to have the right pieces this season on both sides of the ball to make a much more impressive push in an extremely tough division, but for that to happen, they need some players to remain healthy eventually. For now, Stafford needs a bit more of talent around him, as Reggie Bush and decent tight end play isn’t enough to make up for the absence of Calvin Johnson on offense.