Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE DYE  |  Last updated 8/15/13
On Thursday night, the Detroit Lions looked like many season-ticket holders throughout the league during the preseason. They were no-shows. The Lions starters got off to a terrible start. They were totally lethargic and ineffective in the first half of 24-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. Heres how coach Jim Schwartz summed up their effort during a halftime television interview: Poor. Poor job stopping the run. We got three personal fouls. Couldnt get anything going on offense. It was a poor performance. Poor, poorer, poorest. Receiver Calvin Johnson didnt play because of a bruised knee (not believed to be serious), but thats still no excuse for what happened to the first-team offense. First possession: Three and out, gained three yards. Second possession: Three and out, gained three yards. Third possession: Three and out, gained seven yards. Fourth possession: Four plays, gained 28 yards, but also had a 15-yard personal-foul penalty. The starters kept going back out there, trying to get it right, and they finally put something together late in the first half. They went 47 yards in 14 plays to set up David Akers 48-yard field goal to cut the Browns lead to 17-3. After the game, Schwartz said in a news conference: "There's plenty (of blame) to go around for sure. We played poorly in all three phases. We dropped balls, didn't move the ball, didn't have any explosive plays, didn't score any touchdowns. "We didn't tackle very well. We had some key penalties. And then special teams, we got lucky. We allowed a kick for a touchdown that got called back for a holding penalty. We punted the ball poorly." The Lions wanted to ignite running back Reggie Bush, but he was held to 15 yards on eight carries. Bush contributed a little more in the pass game, catching five for 44 yards, but he also was whistled for the personal foul when he retaliated to a cheap shot that didnt get called. We had some physical errors, we had some mental errors, quarterback Matthew Stafford, who completed 11 of 16 passes for 74 yards, said during a post-game news conference. We had some mental errors that we shouldnt have had. Its something weve got to fix. Offense, defense, special teams, we didnt play well in any of them. Obviously, Calvin was out, but we cant use it as a crutch. Weve got to have the other guys step up and make plays. The Lions' defense failed to slow down Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, who efficiently completed 8-of-12 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns, both to tight end Jordan Cameron. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh made a hustling play to put a big hit on Cleveland running back Trent Richardson downfield near the sideline. That was arguably the highlight of the night for Detroit. Suh, however, also got called for one of the personal fouls for roughing the quarterback when he gave Weeden a late shove in the back. The Lions linebackers missed way too many tackles. Cornerback Ron Bartell, who returned from a shoulder injury to get the start, was called for an interference that helped set up a score. Rookie Sam Martins inconsistent punting also didnt help. You could go on and on. It was just an ugly night from start to finish. A couple silver linings: There were apparently no serious injuries, and the Lions still havent committed a turnover in eight quarters. Detroit, which fell to 1-1 in the preseason, will get a chance for redemption next Thursday when it plays the New England Patriots at Ford Field. It will be the third exhibition game, which is typically used as a dress rehearsal for the real season, with the starters getting more playing time. Based on how they looked in Cleveland, Detroits first-team units need all the reps they can get before the regular-season opener September 8 against Minnesota. EXTRA POINTS: Schwartz, on Johnson's injury: "Calvin's just got a little bit of a bruised knee. We just held him out, really precautionary. We wanted to make sure it was completely behind him before we put him back out. He sat out the last period of practice a couple days ago. We just wanted to make sure. I think he's going to be just fine." ... The Lions signed defensive tackle Justin Bannon, according to a report by Pro Football Talk. Bannon, 34, is an 11-year NFL veteran who started 15 games last season for Denver. ... The Lions and Browns meet again in Week 6 of the regular season, October 13, again in Cleveland. ... Like Akers, Havard Kickalicious Rugland remained perfect on field-goal attempts in the preseason by making a 33-yarder. Both kickers are 3-for-3 in two games.
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