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This was very much like a varsity vs. junior varsity scrimmage with the Lions finally representing the varsity squad, and they beat up on the lowly junior varsity Bungles Friday night at Ford Field.
The Lions third and fourth stringers outscored the Bengals’ 10-0 in the second half to finish what they started in the first half, closing out an impressive 34-3 preseason opening win. All 10 second half points came in the 4th quarter, a touchdown on a pretty 28-yard Zac Robinson pass to Nate Hughes and a Dave Rayner 44-yard field goal.
In the game, all four Lions quarterbacks played strong, finishing with a combined 280 yards and three touchdowns on 23 of 33 passing and zero turnovers.
As mentioned in the halftime update, the Lions first offensive unit picked the Bengals’ first-string defense apart with ease on the first drive of the game, which ended with a perfect 26-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson.
After a Bengals turnover on the ensuing kickoff, Stafford hit Nate Burleson on a fade on 4th and 1 for a touchdown (after a Lions challenge overturned the initial incomplete call). A little less than six minutes into the game and the Lions led 14-0.
Stafford’s day was done after the first two possessions, finishing 6-for-7 for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Stafford’s only incomplete pass was a seed that was right on the money, but dropped by Jahvid Best.
Calvin Johnson only played the first possession and had two receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.
Shaun Hill replaced Stafford on the third possession of the game and finished 8 of 9 for 63 yards and a gritty seven yard touchdown run. Stanton played the most of Lions quarterbacks and finished 7 of 15 for 110 yards. Stanton’s completion percentage was hurt by Derrick Williams’ case of the drops.
The Lions defense was all over the field and really made things difficult for rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. While the Lions did allow Cedric Benson to pick up 37 yards on just six carries, the defensive line did a good job giving the rookie Dalton fits, forcing an interception on his first pass in the NFL (by Chris Houston) and pressuring him to hurry throws throughout (Corey Williams picked up a sack in all of their pursuit).
Last year’s Rookie of the Year Ndamukong Suh also welcomed Dalton to the NFL on the Bengals’ second possession by tossing him to the ground like a rag doll shortly after Dalton got rid of the ball and somehow lost his helmet (earning Suh a personal foul penalty, of course).
Ricardo Silva added an interception in the fourth quarter, giving the Lions defense and special teams a total of three turnovers for the game, two of those coming on the first two times the Bengals touched the ball.
Overall, a very encouraging game, but say “it’s just the preseason” seven times fast and know the Bengals are probably the new “Lions” (or the old Bengals). Oh, screw it – I’m very aroused.
It may only be the preseason, but the Detroit Lions are looking very good against the Cincinnati Bengals. After one half of play at Ford Field, Detroit leads Cincinnati by a score of 24-3 thanks to two touchdown passes by Matthew Stafford, a touchdown run by Shaun Hill and a field goal by Jason Hanson.
The Lions got the ball to start the game and went right down the field to score the game's opening touchdown. Stafford found Calvin Johnson in the end zone for a 26-yard TD to cap off a seven-play, 67-yard drive that lasted only three and a half minutes.
After fumbling the proceeding kickoff away to the Lions, the Bengals once again had to try to stop Stafford, and they were once again unsuccessful. Stafford connected with Nate Burleson on a fade on 4th and 1 for a seven-yard touchdown pass, and just like that the Lions led, 14-0.
Following a field goal by the Bengals at the start of the second quarter, Hill led the offense down the field with an 11-play, 77-yard drive. He capped it off with a seven-yard touchdown run that he scored by flipping into the end zone. It was quite the play, especially for a guy who had back surgery in the offseason.
The first half came to an end with a 37-yard field goal by Hanson. The field goal unit hurried onto the field with the clock running out and successfully converted the attempt to give the Lions a 24-3 lead at halftime.
The Detroit Lions are set to kick off their 2011 preseason schedule at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night. When they do, they will be without the following nine players, who are inactive for Friday's game: RB Maurice Morris, RB Mikel Leshoure, WR Titus Young, TE Brandon Pettigrew, OT Jeff Backus, OT Jason Fox, DT Andre Fluellen, DT Nick Fairley and CB Alphonso Smith. All nine of these players were ruled out on Thursday, so there are no changes on the injury front.
The Lions also have announced what their starting lineup will look like for Friday night's game:
There was some talk that Johnson may not play because of an ankle issue, but he is good to go and will be starting. Cherilus will also start despite just returning to full practice earlier this week.
(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Bengals viewed Andy Dalton as both the present and the future at quarterback when they chose the former TCU star in the second round of this year's draft. The rookie gets his first chance to prove his new team right in Friday's 2011 preseason opener against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
With Carson Palmer at home hoping for a trade and owner stubbornly refusing to yield to the veteran signal-caller's demands, the Bengals have decided to turn the offense over to Dalton, the 35th overall pick in this past April's draft who amassed an outstanding 42-8 record in college. Head coach Marvin Lewis immediately installed the 23-year-old into the starter's role during training camp, and the team announced earlier in the week that Dalton will run with the first team in Friday's matchup.
Journeyman Bruce Gradkowski, signed to provide experienced insurance at the position just prior to camp, will then take over for Dalton, probably sometime in the second quarter. Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour are likely to take the majority of snaps under center after halftime.
Dalton is one of two rookies in Cincinnati's starting lineup, with highly- touted wide receiver A.J. Green joining the youngster on the first-team offense. The fourth overall selection of April's college selection process is expected to be the headliner of a new-look receiving corps that no longer contains six-time Pro Bowler Chad Ochocinco, traded by the Bengals to New England in late July.
While the Bengals will be throwing their top draft choices right into the fire, Lions fans will have to wait a while to get a glimpse at a couple of their high-profile rookies. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley, Detroit's 2011 first-round pick, may miss the entire preseason after recently undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot, while second-rounder Mikel Leshoure sustained a season-ending Achilles tear in Monday's practice.
Leshoure had been slated to share carries with second-year speedster Jahvid Best in the Lions' backfield, and his absence creates a competition between veteran holdover Maurice Morris and free-agent pickups Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell, both of whom were signed by the club on Tuesday, for those duties.
Detroit does enter the preseason opener with its franchise quarterback healthy for a change, however. Former No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford has fully recovered from a shoulder injury that limited him to just three games last season and will be making his first appearance since getting hurt in a home loss to the New York Jets last November.
Stafford's stay may be a brief one, though. With the third-year triggerman having shown to be rather brittle in his brief pro career and both of Detroit's starting offensive tackles currently recovering from injuries, the Lions plan to limit his snaps on Friday.
Longtime left tackle Jeff Backus is out with a partially torn pectoral muscle and right-side regular Gosder Cherilus just recently resumed practicing after undergoing microfracture knee surgery last December.
These teams will be meeting for the first time in preseason play since 2008, when Detroit delivered a 27-10 victory in Cincinnati. The Bengals came out on top in the most recent regular-season clash, scoring a 23-13 home triumph in Week 13 of the 2009 season.
Cincinnati holds a slim 18-17 edge in the all-time preseason series.