Game Review Lions-Colts: Detroit controls line of scrimmage in 27-26 win

Game Review Lions-Colts: Detroit controls line of scrimmage in 27-26 win

The Detroit Lions may not have played many of their starters, but head coach Dan Campbell must be fairly pleased with the team’s performance against the Indianapolis Colts in Saturday’s preseason game.

Detroit, in particular, was able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and passed the Colts by 174 yards to just 30 for Indy.

But perhaps more importantly for the Lions, unlike last week’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Lions ended this game strong. Quarterback Tim Boyle led the Lions to a long touchdown drive late in the game, and while the defense allowed a potential go-ahead touchdown, a two-point conversion stop sealed the win and gave Detroit its first win of the preseason in the Dan Campbell era.

Detroit left Indianapolis with a 27-26 victory. That’s how it happened.

first quarter

The Lions decided to bench the following players for Saturday’s game.

For the second game in a row, the offensive of the lions had the opportunity to conquer the field in second place. David Blough caught the start and managed a couple of first downs – a short pass to Kalif Raymond and a 6-yard scramble up the middle. Detroit was also able to run the ball reasonably effectively against the Colts, with “starters” Craig Reynolds and Jermar Jefferson combining on the opening drive for 27 rushing yards.

But in the red zone, Blough couldn’t find Raymond with a third and seven, so the Lions settled for a short field goal. Austin Seibert was good for one from 28 yards 3-0 lions lead.

The defense was able to pull off a quick three-and-out after Anthony Pittman did a great job blowing up a camouflaged screen. However, Will Harris gave up a 23-yard play in third after playing too soft in cover on a route below. Harris then bit a fake bubble screen on the next play, opening up the defense for another 20-yard gain for receiver Dezmon Patmon.

The Colts converted a third and nine after rookie safety Kerby Joseph failed to trip rookie receiver Alec Pierce in front of the sticks.

Similar to the Lions’ offense, however, the Colts stalled in the red zone. Austin Bryant put on a third pressure and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez had perfect coverage to force an incomplete and short field goal for the Colts. 3-3 draw.

The Lions’ offensive line began putting some Colts defenders on the next drive, beginning with two 11-yard runs from Reynolds through the end of the first quarter.

second quarter

The Lions continued to draw heavily on running play in the second quarter, with Jefferson scoring an important fourth and one. But another trip to the red zone stalled after a couple of questionable game calls, including a fade to Kalil Pimpleton and a screen blown entirely by the Colts defence. Seibert just squeaked a 40-yard field goal into the right post and did it 6-3 lions.

The Colts brought in third-string quarterback Sam Ehlinger on their second offensive drive of the day. It was a quick three-and-out for Ehlinger, thanks to a first-down sack from Eric Banks and a tackle from Jeff Okudah, who fell well short of the sticks on third-and-long.

However, the lions could not use the good field position. Blough tried to force a ball through to Tom Kennedy in third and short, but Colts linebacker Forrest Rhyne deflected the pass upstairs and it landed right in the hands of Tony Brown.

Detroit’s defense was up to the challenge, however, keeping the Colts at 0 yards in three games. Indianapolis would tie it with a 40-yard field goal of their own. 6-6 draw.

Receiver Maurice Alexander, who had both punt and kick return duties in the first half, attempted to spark the Lions’ offense with a huge 61-yard kick return.

Unfortunately, the Lions offense only went backwards, and Seibert doinked a 55-yard field goal from the right post, keeping the score at six.

Ehlinger eventually got the Colts offense to move from there, connecting for 19 yards after linebacker Chris Board fell and slid for cover. He then found receiver Mike Strachan for a big 25-yard pickup in third and seventh. Lions defensive end Eric Banks was injured on the game.

After the two-minute warning, Ehlinger hit Strachan for a 15-yard touchdown over Lions cornerback Mark Gilbert – who was arguably dealing with an unnamed offensive pass interference. You decide:

13-6 stallions.

To aid a two-minute drill for Blough, Alexander hit another big kick return, this time for 45 yards.

A couple of finishes for Pimpleton quickly put the Lions within field goal range, and a big third-down conversion to Trinity Benson put the Lions in a first-and-goal situation with 20 seconds remaining but no timeouts. An odd tie put the Lions in a difficult position: three seconds on the clock, before a third goal from the 5-yard line. Instead of kicking a chip-shot field goal, Dan Campbell opted for it, and Blough rewarded the risk with his first touchdown pass of the preseason to Tom Kennedy. 13-13 tie.

Third quarter

Detroit’s defense got off to a great start when Austin Bryant picked up a sack to force a quick three-and-out for Indy.

Justin Jackson bounced back from an earlier fumble with a big 21-yard run to start the Lions’ subsequent drive. Godwin Igwebuike put Detroit in the red zone with a 17-yard run of his own. Tim Boyle ended the drive with a nice throw at Kennedy for the 10-yard touchdown pass. 20-13 lions.

However, the Colts would quickly hit back. The Lions had destroyed cover in their secondary, resulting in a wide-open Patmon for a 50-yard touchdown. There was clearly a misunderstanding between the safeties as rookie Kerby Joseph clearly expected over-the-top help from JuJu Hughes. 20-20 draw.

Offenses slowed from there, as three straight three-and-outs returned the ball to the Colts at their own 34-yard line. They finally broke the streak with a 12-yard pass as the game entered the final quarter.

fourth quarter

The Colts’ journey would not last much longer, however. Saivion Smith hit it big to break a pass and Austin Bryant joined Ehlinger for his second sack of the day (joined by John Cominsky).

Boyle responded with a really nice ride of his own. He did a good job escaping the pressure for a 9-yard scramble in third and sixth, and then he found Shane Zylstra for a huge 12-yard gain in third and ninth. Then, in a total blitz, Igwebuike put down a nice block, giving Boyle time to find Trinity Benson for a 17-yard pickup in third and sixth. Igwebuike finished the 18-play 85-yard drive that ended at 9:30 a.m. with a 2-yard touchdown run. 27-20 lions.

That gave the Colts just over four minutes to tie the game. Fourth string quarterback Jack Coan entered Lions territory with a big 22-yard pickup in a wide-open Jelani Woods. Then Coan lofted a nice pass to Samson Nacua for that touchdown pass.

But the Colts bet two to try and win the ballgame, and Coan couldn’t find anyone open and an incomplete pass, ultimately giving the Lions the win (after a failed onside kick). 27-26 lions.