Completely lost in the horror show that was the Redskins "kind of first-team" offense on Thursday night was that the Redskins revamped defense played pretty well, despite missing some key starters.
It's an important note, because this team will have to depend on their defense to win games.
In the win over Detroit, and on the first series - the Redskins missed several initial tackles and while that was noticeable and disappointing, the defense swarmed to the ball to help their teammates out.
An example, on the 2nd play of Detroit's first possession, Duke Ihenacho flew in from the secondary and made contact but did not wrap up. Stephen Paea fought off his block and make the tackle. Ihenacho actually "missed" the tackle but the Redskins got away with it because Paea was there.
Later on the drive, Terrance Knighton and David Amerson missed tackles on the same Golden Tate reception but Dashon Goldson cleaned it up and Tate ran about 50 yards of distance total to gain two yards.
On the same series, Keenan Robinson slowed down a Lion but did not finish the play, while Ihenacho finished it off.
You get the point. It's one thing to miss tackles but it is another to do it when nobody else can bail you out. At least the Redskins did that Thursday night which was a positive change from the last few years.
I loved how the Redskins ended the drive, with an aggressive 3rd down blitz and sack from the nickel cornerback spot. Justin Rogers lined up Matthew Stafford and even though Stafford tried to escape, Rogers did not lose his target which has happened a million times over the last six years.
The Redskins bent but did not break and forced a 52-yard field goal attempt which Detroit made. That's how you extend and win games in this league.
On Detroit's 2nd offensive series, two things stood out. One positive and a negative. Houston Bates, who had back-to-back garbage time sacks last week in Cleveland, was in on the series. Bates made two very nice run stops from his right outside linebacker position.
The bad? Perry Riley was lost in the sauce on a couple of coverage assignments. That's probably never going to change.
On the next Detroit possession, Chris Baker jumped off-sides for the first of two times on the night. Gotta clean that up because that will kill you in the regular season. Baker was bailed out by Ricky Jean Francois who looked terrific, as he sacked Dan Orlovsky using a double rip power move. Trenton Robinson was also key on this series as he nearly intercepted a possible pick-six on third down to force a punt.
The Redskins defense was then put in a brutal spot after Robert Griffin's turnover at the 11-yard line. They could have bailed out the offense but failed to do, eventually yielding a short touchdown slant catch for Detroit.
One concerning element to this series, with non-starters playing for the most part, the Redskins were having major issues with communication and pre-snap adjustments. Looked like confusion was supreme a couple of times.
Once again, Justin Rogers had a terrific pass breakup in the end zone before the touchdown, so that was good to see.
The Redskins defense got a rest as the offense marched 80 yards down the field to finally punch in a touchdown, and then the defense responded with their best series of the night.
With time winding down in the first half, the Redskins wanted to give their offense one more shot with the ball and that's exactly what they did.
Jackson Jeffcoat had a speed rush sack underneath the left tackle. Baker had a sack taken away (correctly) because he was off-sides, but then newly signed safety Jeron Johnson blew up a short pass forcing a 3rd-and-8.
The Redskins forced a punt with good coverage down the field forcing a check down and Terrance Plummer flew in to break up a play along the Redskins sideline and force a punt with 1:07 left.
That defensive series gave Andre Roberts a chance for a punt return, he capitalized and the offense had a terrific chance to give the Redskins the lead at the half before faltering.
Sure the Redskins yielded a short touchdown in the 2nd half, but that was it while racking up a total of four sacks.
For what it is worth, the Redskins defense has nine sacks in two preseason games without Ryan Kerrigan or Junior Galette.
That's a good sign on a team that needs some good news right now.