Detroit Lions backups crushed in preseason by Jacksonville Jaguars, 25-7: Game recap

Detroit Free Press

NFL preseason: Detroit Lions vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

When: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Ford Field in Detroit.

TV: Fox (Channel 2 in Detroit).

Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1).

• Box score

Game notes: The Lions face the Jaguars in Week 2 of NFL preseason, after two days earlier in the week of joint practices in Allen Park. The Lions will once again sit starters, but the big change from last week’s exhibition opener vs. the New York Giants (a 21-16 win) will be at quarterback: Teddy Bridgewater will get the start after being signed nearly two weeks ago.

The Lions next Friday visit Carolina in the preseason finale. They open the season Sept. 7 at Kansas City.

TRENDING: Lions observations in loss to Jaguars: Teddy Bridgewater, Nate Sudfeld struggle

Lions offensive starters: QB Teddy Bridgewater, RB Craig Reynolds, WR Chase Cota, WR Dylan Drummond, WR Antoine Green, TE James Mitchell, LT Matt Nelson, LG Darrin Paulo, C Brad Cecil, RG Colby Sorsdal, RT Germain Ifedi.

Lions defensive starters: DE John Cominsky, DT Brodric Martin, DT Benito Jones, DE Romeo Okwara, LB Jack Campbell, LB Derrick Barnes, CB Will Harris, NCB Brian Branch, S Savion Smith, S Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB Starling Thomas V.

ANALYSIS: Jameson Williams’ injury setback just made his situation far more urgent for Lions

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This one ends in a Jaguars domination from start to finish in a battle of backups and roster longshots. The Lions (1-1) were outgained in offensive yardage, 399-131. Ouch. They went 1-for-12 on third down compared to the Jags’ 5-for-13, though the Lions under QB Nate Sudfeld converted both fourth-down attempts in their lone touchdown drive. It wasn’t pretty for the offense under Teddy Bridgewater, who started at QB, or Sudfeld. At least the Lions were only penalized five times for 40 yards. Bridgewater was 5-for-11 for 34 yards and a lost fumble. Sudfeld was 9-for-18 for 80 yards with a TD and INT. Both were sacked once as the offensive line was outplayed by the Jags up front.

Read Dave Birkett’s instant observations from Ford Field, and find analysis and coverage all season long at freep.com/sports.

Late fourth quarter: The Lions had the ball two more times for Sudfeld and company, but mustered just 22 yards on 15 plays over the two drives, leading to Jack Fox punts for the seventh and eighth times on the day. Jags lead, 25-7.

13:53, fourth quarter: The Lions under Nate Sudfeld go three-and-out and we see punter Jack Fox for a sixth time. That’s plenty, isn’t it? Nathan Rourke and the Jags again go right down the field. D’Ernest Johnson scores his second straight touchdown, this one on a 15-yard run along the left sideline where he just got the ball across the goal line. The Jags went 72 yards in seven plays, the key play being a 47-yard reception by Elijah Cooks to the Lions’ 26-yard line. Jags lead, 25-7.

1:58, third quarter: Rourke leads the Jaguars right down the field, culminating in a D’Ernest Johnson 1-yard score. The Lions were penalized for a roughing the passer call hitting Rourke below the knee, and Johnson had a 17-yard run. The Jags took 14 plays and 6:33 off the clock on their 67-yard march. The extra point failed. Jags lead, 18-7.

8:37, third quarter: The Lions’ offense finally looks competent, after the defense got a quick stop against a new QB in Rourke, the former CFL Most Outstanding Canadian and Ohio standout. The Lions go with Sudfeld at QB, driving 57 yards on 10 plays and converting two fourth downs. It culminates in a Sudfeld 1-yard touchdown pass on play-action to Chase Cota wide open in the right flat on a crosser on fourth-and-goal. The big play was a nice pass on fourth-and-2 for 23 yards to Dylan Drummond to the Jacksonville 26. Sudfeld then found Antoine Green for 18 yards to the 8-yard line. Jags lead, 12-7.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell, in his quick halftime interview before heading to the locker room, said he saw some good things from his defense and special teams. Offensively, he said “we’ve got some plays that we’re leaving out there,” and just need to get a few first-down conversions to get moving. He complimented CB Steven Gilmore, who got beat early for a long pass, but responded with a pass breakup and an interception off the deflection from Tracy Walker.

There was almost a third turnover in the final seconds, as left tackle Germain Ifedi was beat on a rush and QB Nate Sudfeld got hit as he threw. The expedited review revealed he held onto the ball and, fortunately for the Lions, the play was ruled an incompletion. This ends an atrocious offensive performance in the first half from the Lions’ backups. The Lions were outgained 206-48 in total yards and turned the ball over twice. They were 0-for-6 on third down. The defense did get an interception from Gilmore. Jags lead, 12-0, after 30 minutes of play.

22 seconds left, second quarter: Well, that was quick. Parker Washington, a sixth-round rookie receiver from Penn State, beats Starling Thomas V on a speed out to the left sideline and waltzes in for the 15-yard touchdown from C.J. Beathard. The two-point conversion is no good as Beathard throws the pass away out of the end zone. Jags lead, 12-0.

47 seconds left, second quarter: Bridgewater’s afternoon is finished after six possessions. The results: Five punts and a lost fumble. He was a bit rusty but also didn’t get a ton of help. Bridgewater finished 5-for-11 passing for 34 yards. Sudfeld relieved him for the two-minute drill and the Lions earned two first downs, but he then threw an interception high deep over the middle looking for Chase Cota. Gregory Junior’s pick and 37-yard return gave the Jags the ball at the Detroit 19-yard line with 47 seconds left. Jags lead. 6-0.

1:53, second quarter: Malcolm Rodriguez has had a quieter preseason camp after showing out as a rookie on “Hard Knocks” and during the regular season last year, but he made his presence known on this drive. He crushed C.J. Beathard as the QB tried to pass, but Beathard caught his own fumble and ran 4 yards. The defense held and forced a punt. Lions will start from their own 6-yard line. Jags lead, 6-0.

3:30, second quarter: Bridgewater gets a sixth possession, and on third-and-4 from his own 18 makes a nice touch throw to Dylan Drummond on the right sideline, but the ex-Eastern Michigan wideout can’t haul in the pass. Lions are forced to punt for the fifth time. Punter Jack Fox and long snapper Scott Daly are sure getting plenty of practice. They should be ready for the opener in Kansas City on Sept. 7. Fox is averaging 49.4 yards per punt today. Jags maintain lead, 6-0.

4:53, second quarter: Jaguars drive 67 yards on 14 plays and chew 7:18 minutes off the clock, but settle for a Brandon McManus 28-yard field goal. The Lions allowed five plays of 10-plus yards to the C.J. Beathard-led Jacksonville offense. A key play: An illegal contact call on second-and-10 on CB Starling Thomas V negated a split-sack between Julian Okwara and Benito Jones. Jags lead, 6-0.

12:22, second quarter: Bridgewater completes passes to Craig Reynolds for 6 yards and Chase Cota for 8 yards for their first first down in five possessions, but on third-and-6 and under pressure, his pass falls just shy of Brock Wright beyond the first-down marker. Bridgewater is 4-for-9 passing for 28 yards. Craig Reynolds has six rushes for 13 yards, the only back to touch the ball. He also has three catches for 20 yards. Lions punt trailing Jags, 3-0.

14:57, second quarter: John Cominsky bats down C.J. Beathard’s short pass attempt on fourth-and-3 from the Lions’ 21. Lions get the ball right back after the bad turnover. Jags lead 3-0.

1:46 p.m.: Bridgewater attempts to hand the ball off on a delay to Craig Reynolds, but is tackled by an unblocked Jeremiah Ledbetter — a Lions’ sixth-round pick in 2017 — before he can give the ball. Jaguars return the ball to the Lions’ 25-yard line with 1:26 remaining in the first quarter. Jags lead 3-0.

1:43 p.m.: Lions CB Gilmore comes up with the interception off the ricochet from Tracy Walker, who came over from his safety position to break up the deep pass down the left sideline by C.J. Beathard. Lions start at the Jacksonville 43-yard line. Jags lead 3-0, with 3:03 left in the first quarter.

1:36 p.m.: Starling Thomas V, who started at cornerback for the Lions, takes the kickoff 37 yards to the Lions’ 42-yard line. Bridgewater puts a good pass on WR Chase Cota on third-and-9 on a route down the sideline, but the youngster could not get both feet inbounds. The play, initially ruled a catch, was overturned upon the Jaguars’ challenge. Bridgewater is 1-for-5 passing for 4 yards. Craig Reynolds has three carries for 7 yards and the lone reception. Jags lead 3-0, 5:15 left in first quarter.

1:30 p.m.: Jags drive 75 yards in eight plays over 3:12 for a 40-yard field goal from Brandon McManus. The key play was a 48-yard reception from Tim Jones to the Lions’ 40-yard line. He beat Gilmore, who was in decent coverage. Gilmore, the younger brother of Stephen Gilmore, broke up a deep third-down pass near the goal line to force the field goal. Jags lead 3-0, 6:15 left in first quarter.

1:21 p.m.: Bridgewater throws well behind an open Brock Wright on third-and-4. Lions punt for the second straight possession.

1:17 p.m.: Lions WR Chase Cota returns the punt 28 yards to the Lions 42, starting left then moving down the right sideline. Lions set up in good field position to start their second possession.

1:16 p.m.: The Lions defense gets a three-and-out with the help of a holding penalty negating a third-down run by QB C.J. Beathard that would have picked up a first down.

1:14 p.m.: Lions defense is facing Jaguars backup QB C.J. Beathard, entering his seventh NFL season from Iowa.

1:12 p.m.: Lions go three-and-out to start the game on offense, including Bridgewater getting sacked on a play-action play on first down. They punt on fourth-and-20.

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