What happened: Following a 31-3 loss to New England in Detroit's preseason opener last week, a contest in which the Lions didn't play particularly well in any phase of the game, Lions head coach Matt Patricia was looking for better performances across the board from his football team this week in Houston in preseason game No. 2.
Detroit was better on offense, and was able to generate some impact plays on defense, despite falling to the Texans 30-23. Overall, it was a much better showing than a week ago.
Detroit scored its first offensive touchdown of the preseason on a David Fales' 5-yard touchdown pass to running back Zach Zenner in the third quarter. The score was set up by a 35-yard completion from Fales to wide receiver Travis Fulgham and a 45-yard pass from Fales to wide receiver Andy Jones down to the Texans' 5-yard line.
Running back Mark Thompson added a 1-yard touchdown run for the Lions in the fourth quarter.
Detroit recorded 388 total yards of offense against the Texans after generating just 93 against the Patriots. They had 16 first downs this week vs. just eight a week ago.
Detroit's defense scored the first Lions touchdown of the preseason in the second quarter on a 19-yard scoop and score fumble recovery by rookie safety Will Harris. Defensive end Romeo Okwara forced the fumble from wide receiver Steven Mitchell on the play. Detroit's defense also recorded an interception (Andrew Adams) in the contest.
The Lions were second worst in the NFL last season generating takeaways with just 14. Producing more of them this season has been a big emphasis this year.
Kicker Matt Prater added a 49-yard field goal for the Lions to round out their scoring.
Wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins (4 yards) and Vyncint Smith (31) had touchdown catches for the Texans, and running back Buddy Howell notched a 1-yard touchdown run. Texans kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn chipped in two field goals of 50 and 27 yards.
Participation report: Some notable names not taking part in the game for the Lions were: Quarterback Matthew Stafford, quarterback Tom Savage, wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., wide receiver Kenny Golladay, cornerback Teez Tabor, linebacker Jarrad Davis, tackle Tyrell Crosby, wide receiver Danny Amendola, defensive end Trey Flowers, defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand, defensive tackle Mike Daniels and defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr.
QB Comparison: Josh Johnson and David Fales took the reps at quarterback with Stafford sitting out and Savage still not cleared from the concussion he suffered last week against the Patriots.
Johnson played the first half and a series in the second half. He finished 9-of-18 passing for 85 yards and an interception late in the second quarter. He was also credited with a lost fumble, though it was on a very high snap from backup center Luke Bowanko. Johnson finished with a 40.3 passer rating.
Fales was the more effective quarterback Saturday for the Lions, playing most of the second half. He had the one touchdown pass and finished 12-of-19 passing for 226 yards with a passer rating of 121.8.
View photos from the Detroit Lions at Houston Texans Preseason Week 2 game at NRG Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
Some other bright spots for Detroit:
- Rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai made the start at the MIKE linebacker spot with Davis having the night off. Tavai had four tackles in a little more than a quarter of work. He did a good job diagnosing plays and getting to the football.
- Harris had the 19-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, made a couple nice tackles, and had a pass breakup on a 3rd and 8 play late in the first quarter that forced a Texans punt. He finished with six total tackles.
- Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin stacked another good performance on last week's nice showing. He had five total tackles and a two-play sequence in the second quarter where he had a tackle for loss and pass breakup.
- Miles Killebrew was also good for a second straight week. He had five tackles and a tackle for loss.
- Okwara had the forced fumble and also recorded a sack, tackle for loss and two quarterback hits.
Next week: vs. Buffalo (Aug. 23)