Lions' Campbell: Preseason finale provided 'a lot of clarity' on backup QB situation

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Pittsburgh — After a disappointing showing by both of the team's backup quarterbacks in Sunday's preseason finale, Lions coach Dan Campbell was cryptic about his assessment of the situation heading into Tuesday's roster cuts. 

"Here's what I would say, I think it became very clear," Campbell said after the 19-9 loss to the Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. "I think we got things answered and I'd leave it at that."

With starter Jared Goff given the night off, Tim Boyle got the start against the Steelers. Playing the first three offensive series, as well as much of the third quarter, he labored through the contest, completing just five of his 15 passes for 64 yards. 

Boyle also threw an interception directly into the arms of Pittsburgh cornerback Cameron Sutton, a turnover that was returned 45 yards and translated into three points for the opposition. 

Lions quarterback David Blough flicks the ball forward to wide receiver Quintez Cephus for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

David Blough entered the game in the second quarter, giving him some playing time to be evaluated with the starting offense, but he didn't fare much better. He completed four of his nine passes for 50 yards in two series. He also fumbled his second snap of the preseason, although he was able to pick up the loose ball and complete his longest pass, a 24-yarder to Josh Reynolds. 

Blough returned to the field in the fourth quarter and finished strong against Pittsburgh's reserves. He led Detroit's lone touchdown drive of the night, completing a desperation flip to Quintez Cephus while being brought down by a Steelers defender. 

"I think every single guy in here grew up playing football in the front yard," Blough said. "So when one of those happens it takes you back to when you were a kid. Even at this level, it can still work."

Blough finished the day 17-for-32 passing for 160 yards and the touchdown, with 110 of those yards coming in the final quarter. 

As for Campbell's clarity comment, there are two obvious interpretations. First, Blough outperformed Boyle in a tight competition, doing enough to win the competition that has  raged throughout the offseason. Or, potentially more likely, the Lions are going to have to look outside the organization for a more reliable backup behind Goff.

Asked about both scenarios, Campbell deferred to his original comments. 

"You know what, I'm not even going to get into it right now," Campbell said. "I want to talk to (general manager) Brad (Holmes) and I want to talk to the coaches. I just know, myself watching, I felt like we got a lot of clarity."

Blough, talking to reporters after the game, sounded uncertain about his future with the franchise after spending the past three seasons with the Lions, expressing gratitude for the opportunities he's been given by the franchise.

"Look, I just want to go out and score points, I want to lead those guys, I want to stand back there and win with our team," Blough said. "They have decisions they have to make. It's hard. I just appreciate them having me here and having a chance to play ball. Jared and I were kind of talking about it, I have no regrets."

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers