The Detroit Lions starters got some extended work Saturday night against the New York Jets, and helped spearhead an early lead that eventually turned into a 16-6 Lions victory.
Detroit's first-team defense was particularly impressive. The starters played three series – a mix of starters and backups played up to halftime – and allowed the Jets just three total yards of offense with no first downs. They sacked Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg twice.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford played three series with the starters and led Detroit's offense on two scoring drives. His third and final series ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones Jr. for the game's only touchdown.
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions' preseason Week 2 game vs. New York Jets.
Matt Prater accounted for the rest of the scoring for Detroit. He hit all three of his field-goal attempts from 50, 37 and 25 yards.
New York's only scores came on two short field goals in the fourth quarter.
QB Comparison: Stafford played three series and was a crisp 8-of-10 passing for 84 yards with that touchdown to Jones. He connected with Golden Tate on a couple of nice intermediate throws, and hooked up with Jones four times in all. Stafford finished with a passer rating of 135.0.
Jake Rudock relieved Stafford early in the second quarter. He completed eight of his 13 passes for no touchdowns and an interception early in the third quarter in Jets territory. He finished with a passer rating of 48.2.
Brad Kaaya relieved Rudock late in the third quarter and played the rest of the way. He was 4-of-7 passing for 38 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 72.3.
Stock up: Two newcomers to Detroit's defensive line this offseason via free agency, defensive end Cornelius Washington and defensive tackle Akeem Spence, made their presence felt.
Washington recorded a sack and forced fumble on the third play of the game. He finished with two tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble in three series of work. It was his first preseason action after missing a couple weeks of training camp with an ankle injury.
Spence had a nice two-play sequence to thwart New York's third drive of the game and force a three and out. He got around his man on first down and sacked Hackenberg for a 5-yard loss. On second down, he tossed a would-be blocker aside and tackled Jets running back Bilal Powell at the line of scrimmage.
The honorable mention here is rookie cornerback Jamal Agnew. He was all over the field playing pretty tight coverage, and finished with six tackles and a defended pass.
Stock down: After a strong preseason debut in Indianapolis last week, Rudock was less impressive against the Jets.
He played in four series and mounted one scoring drive, though that drive was a 16-play, 87-yard series that resulted in a 25-yard Prater field goal.
He threw an interception at the Jets 18-yard line that took potential points off the board in the third quarter, when he and running back Dwayne Washington didn't appear to be on the same page on a route.
Play of game:Stafford to Marvin Jones Jr. has been a popular connection throughout training camp, usually deep down the field. The two played the finesse game Saturday on their 5-yard touchdown connection.
Jones made a great move at the line of scrimmage to get a step on Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne, and Stafford threw him a perfect pass right over the shoulder on the corner fade route.
With the NFL now allowing team celebrations, Marvin Jones Jr., TJ Jones and Golden Tate celebrated the score by playing a game of imaginary jump rope.
Key stat: Hackenberg played the entire first half, and the Lions' defense held him and the Jets' offense to minus-three yards passing. New York had just 43 yards of total offense and two first downs in the first half.
Quotable: "It was pretty strong," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said of his defense in the first half. "I think they were in the minus yards in terms of passing, so we got a little pass rush and we played pretty good pass defense."