Five observations from Lions' 34-3 preseason win
Five observations from Friday night’s 34-3 In the preseason win over Cincinnati:
1. Overall, a good performance for Detroit. Matthew Stafford and the passing offense get A's. The Bengals were held to a pair of field goal attempts and made just one. No preseason jitters apparent. In the scheme of things preseason wins are worthless, but the domination of Cincinnati is worth something. It’d be much worse to be on the losing end of a 34-3 preseason score.
2. The weak spot on offense is the running game. The Lions finished with 350 offense yards, just 70 of them rushing. Of course Jahvid Best had just four carries (12 yards), he looked fine but could not break a big one. Not unexpected with just four carries. He did have a pair of receptions for 17 yards. Jerome Harrison, who signed as a free agent on Tuesday and had just three practices, was the second choice finishing with half-dozen carries for 8 yards. Ian Johnson, who has had a good camp, got in late but had the most opportunities with nine carries (21 yards). This isn’t a shocker. The Lions lost Mikel Leshoure who would have been the second guy in. Also veteran Maurice Morris, who did a good job last season, is out with a broken hand. Also, while camp can be used to evaluate many positions, it’s tough to tell what you have at running back until the hitting is for real. It’s too early to panic.
3. You would never want to stand between Ndamukong Suh and a quarterback. This isn’t breaking news, we saw it all last season. On Friday, Suh got to starter Andy Dalton, and knocked his helmet off as he was driving him to the ground. He got called for roughing the passer and the NFL could fine him like they did twice last year. Jim Schwartz defended Suh by saying that he’s so strong that when he drives a quarterback to the ground it looks bad. Suh is a player that you love if he plays for your team and you hate if he doesn’t.
4. The defense against the run is one area that needs work. The Lions allowed Cedric Benson to run for 35 yards in five straight carries in the first quarter. The Bengals couldn’t make anything out of it, but Benson was able to get through with a long run of 16 yards on a first down. Cincinnati threw for 135 yards with Dalton, the starter, finishing with 69 yards. His first pass attempt was intercepted by Chris Houston. Welcome to the NFL.
5. The Lions could have a tough decision looming. Kicker Jason Hanson, entering his 20th season in Detroit, was spot-on, but so was Dave Rayner who is fighting for the roster spot. Hanson and the field goal unit managed to add three points to the score despite having just 13 seconds to get the 37-yard attempt off at the end of the first half. There were no hiccups on either’s part. Rayner kicked a 42-yard field goal in the fourth.
(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche. Get Lions news delivered directly to your phone by texting the keyword "Lions" to 22700)