Here we go folks! The first preseason game of the 2018 season is officially in the books. The game started out with the Lions kicking off to the Raiders so it was the Oakland offense that Raider Nation got to see first. It almost was awesome too, if not for a holding call on LT Kolton Miller negating a 60 yard touchdown run from Marshawn Lynch.
It may not have counted, but it was some of the fastest running that we have seen from Lynch as a Raider after it was said that he came into camp in much better shape this year. It also was not much of a holding on Kolton Miller that had the touchdown come back, though he did hook him a little so it wasn’t the worst call even if they could have let it go. After that there was a tipped pass to Jordy Nelson that he intelligently knocked incomplete and not much else before the Raiders rookie Johnny Townsend had his first punt in the NFL which was a 47 yard punt for the rook.
The Lions first drive was a quick 3 and out, thanks in large part to a 3rd down sack from rookie DT P.J. Hall. It was an awesome introduction to the 2nd round pick Hall who showed immense power as he pushed the center backwards twice before eating Matt Cassell alive to force the Detroit punt.
The next drive featured a 41 yard pass from Connor Cook to Johnny Holton to set up a field goal for the rookie kicker for the Raiders Eddy Pineiro. It was a disappointing end to a nice drive that had a 10 yard run from DeAndre Washington to start out the drive before the catch and run from a wide open Johnny Holton to get the Raiders down inside the 10. They couldn’t punch it from there though, they could only get as close as the 3 yard line before settling for a 21 yard Pineiro field goal.
The next time Oakland had the ball they did not have the same problem though. The Lions put together a decent drive that stalled at their own 43 after a couple of penalties doomed them. After that Connor Cook looked great as he led Oakland right down for the touchdown to make the score 10-0 Raiders.
The drive had a nice catch and run for 18 yards to Martavis Bryant, a great jumping catch from UDFA TE Paul Butler for 24 yards to get inside the 10, and then a perfectly played 8 yard touchdown pass from Cook to Ryan Switzer. The touchdown was great communication from Cook and Switzer where Cook drifted to the left while Switzer sprinted open to the right where he caught the perfectly placed pass low in the middle of the end zone.
The Lions responded with a touchdown of their own to make the score 10-7 though, thanks in large part to the new lowering the helmet rule. Raiders safety Karl Joseph came up and laid the wood on the Lion runner but was called for the personal foul penalty for lowering his head. It was a ridiculous call that highlights the difficulty of the rule though because the Lion was running very low and Joseph lowered his whole body to try and make the tackle. The penalty extended the drive that eventually finished with an Ameer Abdullah 1 yard touchdown run.
The two teams traded possessions before Oakland got going for the last drive of the first half. They relied on RB Jalen Richard for much of the drive as he used his speed and shiftiness to get open several times along the sideline. They still had about 20 seconds left in the half while in Lions territory but decided to run the clock out and try a longer field goal with their rookie. Pineiro nailed the 47 yard field goal as the clock hit zero to give the Raiders a 13-7 lead at the half.
Detroit started out the 2nd half with the ball and their own long play being called back on a questionable penalty call. It’s clearly preseason for the refs too, because the call that brought back the Lions 57 yard catch and run from rookie RB Kerryon Johnson was a truly awful penalty call. Treyvon Hester closed out the Lions drive shortly thereafter with a nice chase down from behind on Detroit QB Jake Rudock to force a Lions punt.
It should have been costly too for Detroit because the Raiders went right down the field on them when they got their first opportunity in the 2nd half. They relied on rookie UDFA Chris Warren III who was playing really well with a 26 yard run and two physical 5 yard runs got Oakland down to Detroit 6. Unfortunately, Raiders QB E.J. Manual fumbled the snap after that and the Lions recovered it.
The Lions took the ball from their own 6, all the way to the Raiders . It was an 18 play, 88 yard drive but they had to settle for 3 after the Raiders defense stiffened up. Shalique Calhoun got a big sack, what would have been his 2nd of the game if not for a costly holding penalty on Nick Nelson negating his other sack on the drive. The Lions 24 yard field goal made the score 13-10 Raiders.
The two teams traded punts the next few possessions, then the Raiders got to start out a drive at their own 42 yard line which they capitalized on with a field goal. They went back to the rookie Chris Warren III who busted out two more nice runs with a 19 yard run followed by an 11 yard run to help get the Raiders in position for the yard 38 field goal from Eddy Piniero.
The kick made the score 16-10 with just over 2 minutes remaining. The good feelings of Piniero’s 3 for 3 day on field goals was dampened by him kicking the ensuing kickoff out of bounds though. The Lions started out at their own 40 yard line after the mistake from Piniero and they brought out their veteran number 2 QB Matt Cassell for their 2 minute drill.
The Raiders defense held on anyway though when James Cowser strip sacked Cassell and Frostee Rucker recovered it. The play closed out the win with the final score being Oakland 16, Detroit 10.