(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions.)
It was an impressive debut for a few of the Detroit Lions rookies in the 24-10 win over the Colts in the preseason opener for both teams at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Field.
It may become known as Kenny Golladay’s big coming out party.
Remember the Colts were playing without starting quarterback Andrew Luck who is out rehabbing a shoulder injury. He was missed the Colts’ offense just couldn’t get anything going. The Lions led in yardage 336-230.
A win is always a plus in the preseason, but don’t make too much of it. Do I have to remind you that the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason in 2008 and then couldn’t win a regular season game? Didn’t think so.
Here are five things we learned from Sunday’s win:
1. First, the bad news. Kerry Hyder went down in the first quarter grabbing his lower left leg on a non-contact play. He was carted off the field which is never a good sign. After the game, coach Jim Caldwell told reporters Hyder has a “significant” Achilles injury. Caldwell would not say his season is over, but it very well could be. Hyder led the Lions with 8.5 sacks last season. Also linebacker/defensive end Brandon Copeland went out in the second half with a shoulder injury. Overall the defensive line was impressive considering they were missing key elements.
2. Kenny Golladay, the Lions’ rookie wide receiver, lived up to the hype. He’s been solid in training camp and was able to translate it to the field on game day. Golladay had three catches for 53 yards — two of them were touchdowns — in the first half. All three passes were from Jake Rudock. On everyone he used his height (he’s 6-foot-4) over rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson. While Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and TJ Jones started, if Golladay keeps this up he could break the top three. “He functioned well today … That’s one game down and more to go,’’ said Caldwell who was typically cautious about not over-hyping the rookie.
3. First-round pick Jarrad Davis didn’t waste any time, picking up a tackle on the first defensive snap. This isn’t a surprise to those who have seen the middle linebacker at camp. He’s a hard worked and understands the game which helps when calling the defensive plays.
4. Matthew Stafford completed two of three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. The best news is that he was not injured. Rudock took over for Stafford in the first half and started the second half. Rudock’s numbers were solid — 13 of 21 for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Rookie Brad Kaaya got his first reps and was able to move the ball. He connected with Dontez Ford for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and finished 8 of 11 for 71 yards. Ford made a terrific play to get in the the end zone.
5. Discipline was a key factor for the Lions who made it through the first half without a penalty and finished the game with just six. Sure, it’s just the preseason but it could be an indication of things to come. Meanwhile the Colts were a little sloppy with 11 penalties.
— BONUS: Defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga, an undrafted rookie out of UNLV, was a standout with five tackles and one sack. … Rookie linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin led the defense with six tackles. … Linebacker Paul Worrilow, defensive end Pat O’Connor, defensive end Alex Barrett and Valoaga each picked up a sack.