Detroit won the game, but lost a key contributor. With a month until the season starts, the team has to figure out where it's going to get its pass rush.
Indianapolis — There was good news and bad news in the Detroit Lions’ 24-10 exhibition victory Sunday over the Indianapolis Colts.
The good, beyond the convincing win, was the performance of Kenny Golladay. The much-hyped rookie receiver delivered in his pro debut, hauling in 15- and 23-yard touchdown passes from backup quarterback Jake Rudock.
“It was a great feeling, a little bit surreal,” Golladay said. “I’ve just been putting the work in and I was just happy to see it all unfold.”
The bad news came in the form of an injury. Defensive end Kerry Hyder, the team’s sack leader a year ago, had to be carted off the field. Based on coach Jim Caldwell’s comments after the game, it appears Hyder will be lost for the season.
“He has a significant Achilles injury,” Caldwell said. “The doctors will take a look at it further. It doesn’t look good.”
BOX SCORE: Lions 24, Colts 10
Detroit’s starters played various lengths in the first half. The team yanked all of its first-team offensive weapons after one series — a four-play, 38-yard drive that ended when quarterback Matthew Stafford’s pass deflected off the hands of receiver Marvin Jones and was intercepted by Colts linebacker John Simon.
The starting offensive line, sans right guard T.J. Lang, stayed on the field for much of the first half. With the spotlight squarely on left tackle Greg Robinson, he performed well, especially protecting his quarterbacks. He allowed just one pressure in 25 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
“I have to look at the film to judge,” Caldwell said. “But I know he’s been making steady gains, in terms of knowledge and positioning. …We’re pretty pleased with him up to this point.”
Rudock delivered a quality performance in Stafford’s stead, completing 13-for-21 for 142 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also scrambled twice for 24 yards and a pair of first downs.
“You can see the difference between this year and last year,” Caldwell said. “You can see he has a better grasp of things around him. …He made a few plays and minimized mistakes. Did a nice job moving the ball with that group.”
The Lions opened the scoring with 5:43 remaining in the first quarter when Rudock connected with the 6-foot-4 Golladay for a 23-yard score. The receiver did much of the work on the 50-50 ball, adjusting and coming back to the short throw against tight coverage.
“He’s got size and he can run pretty well, too, obviously,” Rudock said. Whenever you have a go route to the outside, (his size) makes it a little easier to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to give this guy a shot.’ Even if they’re kind of even.”
After a Colts field goal cut the deficit to four, the pair hooked up again in the second quarter when Rudock delivered a well-placed ball to the rookie from 15 yards out.
“It was just a great ball from Rudock, (on) the back shoulder,” Golladay said. “It’s hard to defend those and I just had to make the catch.”
Matt Prater added a 28-yard field goal for the Lions, sending the team to the locker room up 17-3.
The second-team defenses took charge in the third quarter as the squads combined for five punts and zero points. The Lions got strong play from young defensive linemen Alex Barrett and Jeremiah Valoaga as Indianapolis managed to gain 28 yards with three possessions.
The Lions extended their advantage to 24-3 in the fourth quarter when third-string quarterback Brad Kaaya found Dontez Ford on a short pass and watched the receiver break two tackles and dive across the goal line for a 15-yard touchdown.
The Colts finally found the end zone on the game’s final play. Running back Troymaine Pope’s one-yard plunge as time expired capped a 14-play, 90-yard drive.