The starters obviously failed, but the reserves saved the day.
If you went to bed early Friday night, you’re probably pretty surprised to see that the Detroit Lions ended up defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-30. That’s because by the time the starters left the game after a single drive on both sides of the ball in the third quarter, Detroit was down 27-6.
For a team that struggled through the first two Preseason games, the late-game comeback was not really enough to inspire confidence in the Lions. While the first-string offense moved the ball with regularity, their Red Zone Struggles were all too familiar.
And their defense... woof. It didn’t seem to matter who was behind center, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jameis Winston and even Ryan “Don’t call me Brian” Griffin led touchdown drives against the Lions’ first-team defense.
But while this was the Lions’ dress rehearsal game, it still was the preseason and ultimately doesn’t matter. So with that in mind, today’s Question of the Day is:
Do you feel better, worse or the same after the Lions’ win over the Buccaneers?
My answer: A little worse.
Much like last week, I’m not going to let my feelings on this team sway much in either direction during the preseason. Admittedly this one was a little more important because it was the third preseason game, but the team isn’t still going through their entire pregame preparation that they’ll be doing come September.
As I mentioned on Thursday, I wanted to see exactly two things out of this preseason game: a first-team defensive sack and a touchdown drive led by Matthew Stafford. We got the sack thanks to Sylvester Williams cleaning up a(nother) Jarrad Davis missed tackle. We didn’t get the touchdown drive thanks to red Zone Struggles.
But it’s hard to ignore just how bad the defense was on Friday night. It may have been one sloppy night on a soaked field, but watching Nevin Lawson get destroyed by first, second and third-stringers is extremely concerning. Watching Davis continue to struggle and make blatant mistakes is frightening. And outside of Ricky Jean Francois, it’s hard to be really optimistic about anyone on the defensive line.
So I’m feeling a little worse this Saturday morning, but I’m far from panic mode yet.