After a great showing at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, I never would have guessed the Lions would lose in Oakland in Week 2 of the preseason.
The Detroit Lions surprised me in their first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns playing much better than anticipated, so going into Oakland one would assume things would continue to get better.
While the offense did improve in some areas, the defense took a big step backwards and showed me why I was so worried coming into this season. This is only week two of the preseason, so there is still time to fix things, but this was a tough loss to swallow.
The Raiders won the game on their final drive going 68 yards on 13 plays in their two-minute offense giving them the 1-point lead with 6 seconds left. That would be a heart breaker in the regular season since the Lions were ahead most of the game. The Lions had problems finishing games last season and after this game I’m not sure if that problem has been taken care of…Then again this is just the preseason, right?
I will start with the bad news; the Lions gave up five first downs on penalties after only giving up three first downs on penalties last week. The Lions defense also gave up 12 first downs through the air after only giving up nine passing first downs last week. The Raiders quarterbacks as a whole completed 24 out of 44 passing attempts for 306 yards and two touchdowns which is a big step backwards from last week against Cleveland. They did force two turnovers which is a point of emphasis this season, so that was good to see. This would be a much-different article if it wasn’t for the last drive of the game for the Raiders.
Last week against the Browns, the Lions defense came up with a much-needed defensive stop to give the offense the opportunity to score and then came up with a game clinching interception. This week in the Raiders last drive of the game they commit penalties on two 3rd downs, fail to get a stop on 4th and short, and give up a touchdown on 3rd and 10 from the 19 yard line. Bend but don’t break is not what I saw on this last drive, it was more like no bend or break until 3rd down then shoot yourself in the foot.
Now the good news, we got to see more of Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate, and they have me very excited for this offense. Stafford completed 9 out of 10 passes for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns; his first touchdown went to his new weapon Golden Tate. Tate caught all three passes that were thrown to him for 41 yards and the first touchdown of the game. Eric Ebron had a better game this week catching both the balls thrown his way for 37 yards that doesn’t sound like much, but its a big step forward from last weeks game where I almost forgot he was even on the team.
The areas the offense improved on from last week were the converted 3rd downs, converting 7 out of 14 after only 4 out of 11 last week. The biggest area was no turnovers that were a big problem last week and last season so that was a good thing to see.
My favorite play of the game was a 55 yard field goal from rookie kicker Nate Freese, not because it was from 55 yards away but because it was from the dirt of the baseball diamond in the middle of the Raiders field.
Earlier in the game Nate had missed an extra point, so it was nice to see him make up for it and show that the miss didn’t shake him up but that missed extra point ultimately was the difference between a one-point loss and overtime.