The Detroit Lions welcomed the Cleveland Browns to the motor city on Friday for the first game of the 2012 NFL preseason. In what was essentially a meaningless game in terms of statistics and records, the Lions lost to the Browns 19-17 at Ford Field.
The Browns came back from a 14-3 halftime deficit to win on a 45 yard Jeff Wolfert with just 28 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Detroit had previously stopped Adonis Thomas on a two point conversion attempt in the final quarter, which kept the game at 17-16 Lions.
The Lions could not hold the lead though as rookie quarterback Kellen Moore threw a pass that was picked off by Cleveland S David Sims with 34 seconds left at the Browns 36 yard line.
The real premise of the preseason is to let players shake off the rust, work on in game situations, and to let players earn roster spots. The Lions have big questions in their secondary and in the backfield and HC Jim Schwartz most definitely had a keen eye on both areas last night.
Matthew Stafford and his first unit were unimpressive for the most part as they came away with no points and an interception thrown in three drives.
RB Kevin Smith ran the ball five times for 28 yards, but he may have competition in the backfield as Keiland Williams did look impressive with nine carries for 71 yards. Joique Bell had 16 carries for 89 yards, but much of that was late in the game so that performance has to be taken with a grain of salt.
Cornerback Dwight Bentley picked off Brandon Weeden and the secondary as a whole looked like a work in progress.
Since Detroit has a new sense of higher standards that come along with being a playoff team their overall performance was not the greatest. The team still has issues to work out.