NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 3 Game Recap: Indianapolis Colts 27, Detroit Lions 17

Aug 27, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacob Eason (9) passes the ball as he is rushed by Detroit Lions linebacker Charles Harris (53) during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions and the Indianapolis Colts squared off in a game in which each team didn't risk many starters, which proved wise because of the numerous injuries each team sustained. In the end, the Colts better survived the battle of attrition and emerged 27-17 winners at home.


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Indianapolis Colts

Quarterbacks
Name Dropbacks Big Time Throws Turnover-Worthy Plays Average Time to Throw
Jacob Eason 14 0 0 2.24
Sam Ehlinger 6 1 0 2.9
Brett Hundley 16 0 2 3.16

Jacob Eason started because Carson Wentz is still working his way back from injury. He went 10 of 14 for 74 yards overall but was lucky to avoid a turnover in the red zone, trusting his arm a little too much when he tried to fit a pass between two Lions defenders, each of whom got a piece of it. Eason repeatedly showed off an NFL-caliber arm and got rid of the ball, on average, in just 2.24 seconds, an extremely fast time.

Sam Ehlinger had one of the plays of the game — a deep heave to Dezmon Patmon after escaping a sack. Unfortunately, both he and his receiver were hurt soon thereafter, and Brett Hundley played the rest of the game —poorly. 

Running Backs

The Colts took some time to get any joy rushing the ball, ending the first half with just 18 yards on the ground, but they began to cook in the second half. Benny LeMay had some nice carries, but the star became undrafted rookie Deon Jackson, who broke off a big run late to finish with 81 yards on 10 carries, capped by a 42-yard touchdown run. 

Receivers/Tight Ends
Name Routes Run Targets Receptions Yards 1st Downs
Michael Strachan 26 7 5 61 3
Tarik Black 20 4 2 14 1
Ashton Dulin 14 3 2 7 0
Tyler Vaughns 14 3 2 8 1
Dezmon Patmon 10 2 2 64 1

As the game wore on, Michael Strachan became the go-to receiver. He finished with the most targets (seven) on the team and converted those into five catches for 61 yards. Strachan failed to win a contested catch early in the game but made up for that later in similar situations.

Offensive Line

Sam Tevi struggled during his 25 snaps before he went down with a knee injury, and Julie’n Davenport — who believed his day was over  — was forced back into the lineup. Both players represent the gravity of the situation if Eric Fisher is not good to go for any extended period of time at left tackle. 

Defensive Line

First-round pick Kwity Paye made his presence felt early, recording a strip-sack and forcing a turnover from Lions quarterback Tim Boyle. Paye also showed up in the run game, notching two stops overall from his 17 snaps.

Linebackers

There were some impressive performances from Colts linebackers, and Curtis Bolton might've been the best — as he intercepted David Blough in the fourth quarter and played 29 total snaps.

Secondary
Name Coverage Snaps Targets Receptions Yards
Marvell Tell III 25 2 1 3
Anthony Chesley 21 0 0 0
Isaiah Rodgers 14 3 2 11
Rock Ya-Sin 10 1 1 15
Holton Hill 9 0 0 0

It was a tough game for many Colts defensive backs. Special teams ace George Odum was hurdled during his 18 snaps playing safety, and former second-round draft pick Rock Ya-Sin was also beaten too easily for a touchdown in coverage. 

Detroit Lions

Quarterbacks
Name Dropbacks BTTs TWPs Adj Comp Rate
Tim Boyle 10 0 1 77.80%
David Blough 25 1 0 66.70%

After an early strip-sack, Tim Boyle responded with a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that featured four third-down conversions along the way. Boyle then went to the locker room and was replaced by David Blough under center. Blough played the rest of the game, completing 13 of 21 attempts with an interception.

Running Backs

Jermar Jefferson made some nice plays and broke two tackles on his 11 carries. Having said that,  Godwin Igwebuike‘s play was arguably a bigger story. The converted safety ran the ball well — in particular, an impressive second effort at the goal line to score. He gained 25 rushing yards, but 26 after contact.

Receivers/Tight Ends
Name Routes Run Targets Receptions Yards 1st Downs
Quintez Cephus 19 3 3 35 2
Breshad Perriman 14 3 1 6 1
Victor Bolden Jr. 11 3 1 4 0
Amon-Ra St. Brown 10 3 2 4 1
Geronimo Allison 10 4 2 25 1

The Lions receiving corps looked like the work in progress that it is. Breshad Perriman flashed with a nice play only to drop another in a microcosm of his NFL career to date. Quentez Cephus made a nice play to cut inside his man and fight through contact for a touchdown while rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown continued a bright preseason, getting three targets from his 10 receiving snaps.

Offensive Line

Penei Sewell didn’t look great at right tackle, struggling again on 16 snaps. He missed getting out in front of his man on a receiver screen, costing the Lions five yards on the play, and was beaten by a defender on the same play as the early strip-sack. Sewell’s transition to the NFL may be a bumpy one.

Defensive Line

The Lions defensive line was a dominant pass-rushing force against the Colts' backup linemen. Second-year player Julian Okwara played 21 snaps and tied for the team lead in total pressures with three (pending review). Austin Bryant, Jashon Cornell and Charles Harris also all chipped in with consistent winning reps.

Linebackers

Fourth-round rookie Derrick Barnes played 21 defensive snaps and had a solid performance. He had a defensive stop in coverage and was the only Lions off-the-ball linebacker to rush the passer more than once in the game. 

Secondary

Third-round rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu started the game and played 22 snaps for the Lions. He was targeted only once, giving up a catch for 16 yards and a first down while lining up exclusively on the left side at cornerback. Nickell Robey-Coleman played well all over the secondary for Detroit.

Nickell Robey-Coleman's Snaps by Alignment

Line of Scrimmage 3
Box 1
Slot Corner 10
Wide Corner 1
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