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Lions Reserves Hold Down the Bills 14-6

No Jon. No Calvin. No Roy. No Kevin. No Problem.

Behind most of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th string players, the Lions dominated for the most part throughout Thursday evening, having accomplished the goal of staying healthy while securing their first undefeated preseason in 18 years.

Dan Orlovsky was 12-21 and threw for a touchdown to rookie Jerome Felton on a 3rd and 1 in the red zone, and Artose Pinner ran the ball 23 times for 78 yards as Marinelli’s Men out-hustled, out-hit, and wore down the weaker Bills. The Lions’ defensive front was a force, compiling 4 sacks, two safties, and blew up several plays in the backfield throughout the night. DT Shawn Cody finally came to play and had one of the safties, while DE Corey Smith played like a man possessed—or trying to make the team— and had the other safety. Landon Cohen was in the Bills’ backfield on nearly every single play and Cliff Avril (1 sack) and Ikaika Alama-Francis were constantly pressuring the QB and nearly added a few more sacks.

While this game didn’t necessarily mean anything (and some will say none of the preseason games mean anything, not true for the young Lions however), it was refreshing to see the defense win a game for a team that is trying to build its confidence and its identity. Its defense is faster across the board. Today, their front rotations were ferocious. If they can sustain the energy and tenacity they showed tonight, game in and game out, there should be no reason the Lions can’t make the Playoffs in a weak division. With the constant pressure up front, as you saw tonight, the QB needs to release the ball sooner than the play calls for, allowing the web-like Tampa 2 secondary to take over and use their speed to make plays.

What I have been impressed with most is the body language of this Lions team. They have a swagger about them that they didn’t even have last year after their 6-2 start. Last year, they were deer in headlights at that point with nothing to fall back on. They now have a chip on their shoulder, playing hard all game, and yet they seem to be enjoying themselves and having fun…something this team hasn’t done since the Fontes Era.

With a favorable first half of the season, the Lions can slowly build their running game and their confidence which will set them up for the second half. Having been successful last year in the first half, they will have experience to fall back on, will know what to expect, and most importantly, now have a bunch of new veterans who have actually won playoff games.

Point is, the Lions aren’t terrible. Sure, I am drinking the Honalulu Blue Kool-Aid. But after a successful preseason where they had the most dominate defense in the NFL (points per game allowed), have some serious weapons on offense, and have a head coach who is making the impact Rod is on his young players, its hard not to take a sip and think the Kool-Aid is at least refreshing.


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