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Nate Caminata - LionsFans.com
Pre-season NFL games aren't always unnecessary. The Detroit Lions proved that Saturday night.
The Lions' 27-26 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at the RCA dome gave the ball club, specifically the starters on both ends of the ball, one thing they obviously needed: Practice.
An early Sedrick Irvin fumble landed the Colts, and Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning, in scoring territory, and the Lions' starting defense was immediately taken advantage. Manning, who threw for 81 yards on 8 of 10 completions during a brief appearance, found running back Lennox Gordon with an 11-yard touchdown completion several plays later, propelling the Colts to an early advantage.
After the Lions' next offensive series stalled, Manning shredded the Lions' defense again on a nine-play, 67 yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown reception by tight end Ken Dilger. A key Robert Bailey pass interference penalty on the goal line assisted Manning's second consecutive scoring drive.
Manning was relieved immediately thereafter.
In the second quarter, Detroit made its first of what would be two comebacks. Lions' defensive end Robert Porcher stripped the ball from Colts' backup QB Mark Rypien, leading to an Alonzo Spellman fumble recovery on the Indianapolis 7. On the next offensive play, Batch found rookie wide receiver Scotty Anderson on a slant for the touchdown. Anderson was mismatched with a Colt linebacker, and took advantage.
After Porcher intercepted Rypien later in the second quarter within Colt territory, the Detroit offense once again stalled. The Lions settled for a Jason Hanson field goal, closing the deficit to 14-10.
Before the half, Batch led the Lions on an impressive 12 play, 76 yard drive, in which several goal line attempts failed until second-year running back Reuben Droughns punched it into the endzone on third down.
After a holding penalty in the endzone handed the Colts' a safety, the Lions nursed a 17-16 advantage until Colts' receiver, and rookie sensation Drew Haddad, returned a punt 86-yards for the touchdown early in the 4th quarter.
A 39-yard field goal by Danny Kight seemingly put the final nail in the coffin, handing Indianapolis a 27-16 advantage.
However, Lions' rookie quarterback Mike McMahon, battling for a roster spot with fellow teammate Cory Sauter, connected with tight end John Waerig from 30-yards out for a touchdown. The score sliced the Colts' lead to 27-24, and McMahon wasn't finished.
The late round selection out of Rutgers led Detroit from its own 45 down to the Colts' 11 late in the contest, setting up an eventual Brad Bohn game winning, 30-yard field goal.
A late scare by Indianapolis, including a thrilling kick return and reception, was foiled when Kight's 42-yard field goal sailed wide right.
The Lions' will travel to Pittsburgh to battle the Steelers next Saturday.