Despite the loss, there was plenty to like about this game. The starting offense was dominating during the opening drive and several rookies showed up, but there were also a few players that took a step back as well. Let’s take a look at where things sit after the Lions’ first pre-season game in our stock report.
Stock up: Starting offensive line was dominant
The Lions’ offensive starters only played one drive, but they did enough in that drive to show what they’re capable of, especially the offensive line. They gave Jared Goff a clean pocket to throw from, enough time to execute play-action, and were moving people in the run game.
On the drive, they picked up 32 yards on just six carries, including a nine-yard touchdown run from D’Andre Swift, who was able to run to the left behind a wall sealed off by Taylor Decker. They also cleared room for Jamaal Williams to pick up an easy third-down and short conversion running behind Halapoulivaati Vaitai. On another play, they gained an easy seven-yard run right behind Jonah Jackson.
Meanwhile, Frank Ragnow and Penei Sewell basically did whatever they wanted out there, moving bodies at will.
Stock down: Tim Boyle struggles to find consistency
Boyle was given the chance to start with the second team but he failed to take advantage of his opportunity. He entered the game halfway through the first quarter, exited halfway through the third, and was very up and down all game — which reflects the inconsistency he has shown in camp.
On one play he nails a throw 45 yards downfield to Kalif Raymond. On the next drive, he misses Raymond on a wide-open conversion. On the fourth drive, Raymond was running wide open again, Boyle threw it behind him, and the pass was broken up. On the very next play, he threads a 24-yarder to Trinity Benson.
He stayed in to start the third quarter and threw an interception on the first drive of the half. He was replaced by David Blough on the next drive.
Stock up: Aidan Hutchinson, didn’t waste time making an impact
Well, Hutchinson looked very much like the No. 2 overall pick early, causing problems early and often. On his three-yard tackle for loss, the Ole’ move he put on the Falcons’ left tackle, Jake Matthews, left the former No. 6 overall pick (2014) grasping nothing but air:
Two plays later Hutchinson drew a holding penalty on Falcons’ right guard Chris Lindstrom (No. 14 overall pick in 2019). He’s tough to handle, even for former first-round picks.
Quick Hits, stock up:
Jared Goff: Cool, calm, and collected. He only threw four passes, completing three for 47 yards, but he had total control of the offense.
David Blough: A stark contrast to Boyle, Blough came in and settled things down for the Lions reserves. He used his legs and his arms to make an impact on several drives. The biggest difference between him and Boyle was Blough’s pocket presence and ability to keep plays alive. The late-game fumble did hurt his stock though.
Amon-Ra St. Brown: One drive, two catches, two first downs (29 yards). Chain mover.
D’Andre Swift: Looked strong in his decision-making, and showed an improved amount of speed and strength. On his touchdown, he was patient, saw daylight, and ran to it.
Brock Wright: Got the start in place of T.J. Hockenson and caught an 18-yard reception on the second play of the game.
Kalif Raymond: Consistently found himself open, and if Goff was in at quarterback he probably would have had a much bigger play. His 45-yard reception was a beautiful example of concentration.
Tom Kennedy: Mr. Reliable. Need a third-down conversion? Find Kennedy. Both Boyle and Blough leaned on him as a safety valve. In the fourth quarter, he took over and looked terrific.
Trinity Benson: Got the start at kick returner and caught a big 24-yard gain to keep the drive moving near the end of the half. He’s getting a chance but he will need to clean up his drops.
Devin Funchess: After being quiet in camp, he needed to make a few splash plays during the game and he did just that on a late second-quarter touchdown, as well as moving the chains in the fourth quarter. He has the ability to be a mismatch option, but he needs to stack more plays like this:
John Cominsky: Took over the Hutchinson role after the rookie exited the game, and made a few nice plays, especially in the fourth quarter.
Malcolm Rodriguez: Opened up the game by smacking the kick returner on the opening kickoff, then proceeded to start with the first team.
Anthony Pittman: Got time early with the first team in third-down packages. When working with the two-minute defense, he managed three (!) pressures that all resulted in quarterback hits. In the second half, he showed relentless pursuit on third downs.
Bobby Price: His interception didn’t count in the box score, but that’s a solid play he can store away in his positive film file.
Chase Lucas: His pass break up with under two minutes remaining was a thing of beauty. His third down stop on the very next play was equally as good. Get this man some more reps!
Kerby Joseph: One of his biggest weaknesses was his open field tackling, but he looked much improved in this area. In the second quarter, he filled a gap and made a tough tackle, then made an open field tackle at the goal line to prevent a touchdown. He also showed solid recognition passing off receivers mid-play, which is a staple in the Lions’ split-zone scheme. He ended the game with a team-leading five tackles.
Quick Hits, stock down:
Matt Nelson: After watching the starting offensive line wreck people, he looked slow and sluggish in comparison. He looked off his mark a time or three and was called for holding, but the flag was picked up.
Logan Stenberg: Got bullied and gave up a sack. The play ultimately didn’t count after Atlanta was flagged on the play, but that still goes down as a negative for a guy who is supposed to be a bully.
Godwin Igwebuike: He didn’t get a rep until the fourth quarter and was rotating reps with Justin Jackson. He also didn’t any returning—maybe because they wanted to give Benson some looks—so it’s possible he has slipped down the depth chart a bit.
Derrick Barnes: All the athletic talent you could ask for but until he can learn to read his gaps better, he is going to end up in the wrong spot a lot—as he did in this game. It wasn’t all bad, he did get a nice tackle-for-loss on the second drive, easily beating a block, but he needs to find himself in better spots.
Shaun Dion Hamilton: He was believed to be on the roster bubble, but he didn’t show until the last snaps of the third quarter. Looks like he is further down the depth chart than originally projected.
AJ Parker: He looked to be off his mark a few times in the opening drive, often trailing the play as opposed to causing problems. He did make a sweet penetration move to put himself in position to make a tackle-for-loss, but he missed low.
Cedric Boswell: He made a nice pass breakup early in the fourth quarter but giving up the late touchdown was a backbreaker. Not only did it look like he lost his place on the field, but he also got easily outmuscled. Tough ending for the undrafted free agent.