The Detroit Lions started off another preseason with their lone home game of the slate, and the positives seemed to outweigh the negatives in spite of a 27-23 loss.
Offensively, the team was able to move the ball with the first team which culminated in a quick touchdown. Defensively, the Lions had some of their usual problems getting off the field on third down and giving up chunk plays as well as not being able to hold up in crunch time.
Beyond the scope of the game, though, the focus turns to players trying to make a case for themselves for roster inclusion. One such player is tight end Devin Funchess, a former University of Michigan player.
Funchess was given a chance to compete for a job on his hometown team and Friday night, he made the most of it. Early in the game, Funchess hauled in a touchdown pass to give the Lions a lead, showing his ability to post up in the end zone:
Later on, Funchess continued to show off, making plays with his legs and showing his hurdling ability:
All-told, Funchess would finish with 1 touchdown. The Lions have to like his versatility in terms of being able to play tight end and wide receiver. He offers the offense something different, and a potential matchup nightmare given his size.
It’s a small sample size, but Funchess should like where he stands after this performance. As of now, he should have an inside track in the tight end battle.
What happens next remains to be seen, but Funchess looks good for the roster already after the first game.
Aidan Hutchinson Is the Real Deal
It might be rare to see a player live up to all of the hype he received in the offseason in one play, but Hutchinson managed to do that when he saw the field.
With one mighty play, Hutchinson broke into the backfield and snuffed out a run. The play drew a roar from the crowd and showed all that the youngster is capable of
More than just that play, though, was the fact that Hutchinson drew a quick double team right off the bat on the next play. A few plays later, he drew a penalty. That shows his overall value to the defensive front, and why he will be such a feared piece for the team.
Amon-Ra St. Brown Looks Poised for Huge Year
While the team’s offensive line paved the way in the run game and names like Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift looked good, perhaps the biggest story was the dominance of Amon-Ra St. Brown.
In a year when many weren’t sure what to expect from St. Brown given his torrid finish to 2021, the wideout served notice that he is a major threat to dominate once again, hauling in a pair of passes for 29 yards.
St. Brown is going to remain a force this season, and he might only be getting started toward what is an elite career.
David Blough Feels Like Lions’ Backup
Once again, the Lions seemed to kick things into gear when David Blough was on the field at quarterback. Tim Boyle threw a touchdown pass, but also had an interception. Blough looked like a spark for the team, throwing and running well.
Blough made a huge mistake in crunch time dropping a snap, so his night wasn’t without error. Boyle might have entered the game as the leader in the clubhouse for the backup job, but Blough has to be taken seriously, especially after this effort.
Defensively, the Lions Still Have Concerns
While it’s only the preseason, the Lions continued to show some of the bad habits they had a year ago. Far too often, the Lions were not able to generate pocket pressure, hold up on the back end and generate stops on third down.
Detroit’s first-team was carved up by the Falcons fairly easily, which was a troubling sign for their overall readiness during the 2022 season. They gave up too many scramble yards to the quarterback, and had busts on the back end leading to big plays. A few runs went for big yardage, too.
Late in the game, the Lions couldn’t get a fourth down stop. Sound familiar? It looked a lot like last season.
Obviously, it’s far too early to panic, but Detroit’s new-look defense has to find a way to patch things up in order to support their offense.
Lions MVP: Tom Kennedy, WR
During camp, Tom Kennedy has received the reputation of a player who can catch everything that gets thrown his way, During this game, Kennedy managed to do just that again.
The wideout hauled in 8 passes for 104 yards, and looks like a sneaky player who could snatch a roster spot given his ability to be gritty and run solid routes. That’s just what the team will be looking for on offense.
Lions’ Stat of the Game
2, the number of turnovers the Lions had on the day. Both of the mistakes were critical and ended up leading to points going on the board, particularly the late fumble by Blough. The Lions didn’t collect a takeaway, and had their lone interception wiped out by a questionable personal foul call. The Lions need to start winning the takeaway battle in order to win close games.
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