If anyone would like to question whether or not the Detroit Lions starting offense can live up to their 'potent' billing, running back Kevin Jones would like to clear up any confusion.
"A lot of people who don't really watch the whole game and only see the final score at the end might say 'same old Lions, they're losing,'" responded Jones, who carried six times for 33 yards in his team's 21-13 loss to Cleveland on Saturday. "We're explosive. Everything is positive around here. If you watch the game and see how we look as a first string offense, then things look pretty good."
And that they did. Lions' quarterback Joey Harrington followed up last week's perfect performance with another efficient outing, completing 5 of 6 passes for 46 yards. In two pre-season games, Harrington has completed just over 93 percent of his passes, accumulating 146 yards and a nifty -- albeit impertinent -- quarterback rating of 107.9.
However, for the second consecutive week, the Lions first-team offense stalled in the red zone -- sparking concern that Detroit's X's and O's aren't exactly polished. In the team's opening drive, Harrington drove the ball club 76 yards, reaching the Browns' five-yard line. Three plays later, the field goal unit was summoned.
Center Dominic Raiola, meanwhile, berated his teammates for the lack of execution.
"It is frustrating," Harrington admitted. "But we did some good thing as far as continuing to improve on checking the play at the line of scrimmage, getting ourselves into a good play. We had a couple of blitz audibles. We had a couple of situations that don't always come up in practice and we hit them pretty well; which is really good to see."
The Lions scored their first pre-season touchdown when backup Jeff Garcia connected with wide receiver Charles Rogers on a 29-yard completion in the second quarter. The score concluded a 13-play, 93-yard drive.
But it wasn't exactly painless for Garcia, either. The former Cleveland starter tossed his second and third interceptions of the pre-season, including an underthrown ball to wide receiver David Kircus. If the pass had been accurate, Kircus could have jogged into the end zone.
Garcia finished 9-of-15 for 99 yards
Defensively, Pro Bowl cornerback Dre' Bly was outhustled -- and outran -- by Browns' receiver Antonio Bryant for a 51-yard touchdown early in the contest. But it was former Michigan standout Braylon Edwards that stole the show.
Playing before a slightly partial crowd, the rookie Edwards snatched fellow rookie Charlie Frye's endzone fade to hand Cleveland a 14-13 advantage. If it wasn't a pre-season play, the result of the play would have likely garnered a completely different reaction. But Edwards' game-winning score spawned an applause from the rather reserved Ford Field attendance.
"It felt great to come back here," Edwards said after the game. "The fans of Detroit were very receptive to me and I'm glad that I was able to come home and receive that kind of love."
Overall, Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci was pleased with his team's performance, but not particularly the end -- which saw Detroit squander a 13-7 advantage.
Mariucci did say that the majority of the starters, including Harrington, will see increased playing time in the final two preseason contests. On August 29, the Lions will host the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football. They conclude their exhibition games September 2nd at Buffalo.
Notes: Lions' defensive tackle Shaun Rogers left the game with an injured shin, but the MRI came back negative. The news wasn't as certain for reserve Marcus Jasmin, who was carted off the field with multiple leg injuries. MRI results are not yet known for Jasmin.
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