What happened: With the vast majority of the starters for both the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts sitting out Saturday afternoon for Week 2 of the preseason, it was a chance for backups to solidify roles, and for players on the roster bubble to make a good impression on coaches.
After catching eight passes for 104 yards to lead the NFL in receiving after Week 1 of the preseason, Lions wide receiver Tom Kennedy backed that performance up by grabbing two touchdown passes against the Colts to help lead the Lions to a 27-26 victory. He caught a 5-yard touchdown over a defender from quarterback David Blough to end the first half. His second was a leaping 10-yard grab in the back of the end zone from quarterback Tim Boyle on Detroit's first possession of the second half.
Kennedy also ended the game by catching the Colts' onside kick attempt in the final seconds. He finished with five receptions for 24 yards and those two scores.
The backups for both teams went back and forth all contest matching score for score until Boyle led a late scoring drive capped off by a Godwin Igwebuike touchdown run to give the Lions a 27-20 lead.
Indianapolis scored a late touchdown with 38 seconds left to trim the lead to 27-26. Colts head coach Frank Reich decided to go for the win with a two-point conversion attempt, but Jack Coan's pass fell incomplete and the Lions won after Kennedy recovered the onside kick and Boyle took a knee.
The Lions did a nice job running the football, racking up 174 yards to the Colts' 30. Indianapolis had the edge through the air, 261 yards to Detroit's 158.
Backup QB battle: Blough started and played the first half with mixed results. He led three scoring drives out of his five drives, including a touchdown drive on the final possession of the half with a 5-yard scoring strike to Kennedy as the second-quarter clock expired.
Blough finished 16-of-22 passing for 76 yards with a touchdown, one interception and passer rating of 73.3. He also rushed for 18 yards on three attempts with a couple first downs, and was sacked once. His interception in the second quarter was a bad decision throwing into a crowd as the ball was deflected and picked off. It led to a Colts field goal.
Boyle started the second half and led a scoring drive on his first possession, capped off with a 10-yard scoring strike to Kennedy. The Lions went three and out and punted on their next two possessions, but Boyle led a nice 18-play, 85-yard drive on his fourth possession of the game that resulted in a go-ahead 2-yard touchdown run by Igwebuike with just over four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Boyle finished 12-of-15 passing for 99 yards with a touchdown and no picks for 116.4 rating. He also had a 9-yard rush for a first down on third down in that long scoring drive.
5 players who impressed:
- WR Tom Kennedy – No need for further analysis here, Kennedy lets his numbers do all the talking. All he does is make plays when given the opportunity.
- DL Austin Bryant – Bryant's had a great camp and is taking advantage of more opportunity to play with the Okwara brothers rehabbing injuries. Bryant had a sack, tackle for loss and four tackles Saturday afternoon. He also helped steer a sack teammate John Cominsky's way.
- RB Justin Jackson – Fighting for one of the last running backs spots on the roster, Jackson had a nice game rushing for 54 yards on seven carries (7.7 average), with a long of 21 yards.
- WR Maurice Alexander – He had four returns for a total of 152 yards, averaging 38 yards per return, with a long of 61 yards. He also caught three passes for 18 yards.
- DL John Cominsky – The veteran pass rusher notched a sack, tackle for loss, quarterback hit and led the team with six tackles.
Injury report: Defensive lineman Eric Banks limped off the field late in the second quarter and did not return. He was spotted heading to the locker room before the end of the first half. He had a sack, tackle for loss and two tackles before the undisclosed injury.
Next up: at Pittsburgh, Aug. 28, 4:30 p.m.