Injuries that made you worry during the Lions loss to the Raiders on Saturday night seem to be less severe than originally thought.
The night of nicks and bruises started early as Bill Bentley suffered a right shoulder injury. The medical staff worked on Bentley as he sat on the bench and the decision to shut him down was made quickly.
Bentley chose not to comment after the game and a part of me thinks that decision was made because he doesn't know what he is and isn't allowed to say regarding injuries at this point of his career.
Any concern about Bentley was almost immediately overshadowed when Matthew Stafford banged his left hand on a helmet after throwing a pass.
Stafford walked off the field shaking and holding his hand gingerly and the training staff descended on him right away. He wore an ice pack on the hand for less than 1/2 hour and watched the rest of the game with his hand wrapped in a light, padded bandage.
Both Stafford and head coach Jim Schwartz led you to believe Matthew would have returned to play if it was a regular season game.
Amidst the concern about Stafford's injury, Chris Houston rolled his left ankle. Of all the injuries tonight, Houston's seemed to me to be the most serious at the time in occurred. He couldn't stop shaking his head on the bench. After the game, though, he was walking without much of a limp and told me it shouldn't be that bad.
Kevin Smith also rolled his right ankle and admitted after the game he was more scared than anything else after what he experienced last season. He sat on the bench with his ankle wrapped with ice, but then walked to the locker room and back under his own power and re-taped his ankle.
1. Nate Burleson was woven into the offensive gameplan. Calvin Johnson was limited to just one reception and Stafford leaned on Burleson to pick up some of the slack. Nate's four receptions were his first four of the preseason and he also ran a reverse for seven yards.
2. The kick coverage against Oakland was night and day better than it was in the first two preseason games. Three punt returns netted a total of just 12 yards and five kickoff returns netted 56 total yards for the Raiders. That's a marked improvement from a unit that was under fire this week.
3. If only for its timing, Ndamukong Suh's sack was a positive. We had just finished spotlighting him seconds before he took the field for the first play of the game and before Matt Shepard had finished announcing the starting lineups, he had already sacked Carson Palmer.
4. Willie Young was at it again, making a big play on defense. His instinctive interception of a pass that was deflected at the line showed off his athleticism and sense for the ball.
5. Stephen Tulloch's interception also came on a ball that was deflected. Rob Rubick pointed out during the game coverage that Tulloch was more than 20 yards down the field to make that pick - impressive for a middle linebacker, even though Oakland was in the two-minute offense at the time.
1. Red Zone Offense - The Lions didn't capitalize on Stephon Green's 80-yard kickoff return by punching it in for six. Later, after Willie Young's interception, the first unit failed to score at all, missing a chance on 4th and goal to make it a 13-7 ballgame.
2. The running game was almost non-existent. The Lions had only seven rushing yards at the half and finished the night with 65 yards on 24 carries. Stafford's good, but he's going to need some help. After a couple of solid rushing games in the preseason, Saturday's effort was a step backward
3. Shaun Hill's First Half - Passes were off target and the ball slipped out of his hand at times. He wasn't helped by the fact the referees missed an obvious holding call on the Raiders when Hill threw incomplete to Johnson in the end zone right before Jason Hanson kicked the field goal to make it 7-6 Oakland. Hill finished 7-15 and played better in the third quarter, leading the offense to a touchdown.
4. Allowing Terrelle Pryor to play as well as he did has to be a concern. Pryor definitely has talent but this is the first time I've seen him look comfortable at quarterback in the NFL. His long run down the sideline was a thing of beauty. He's so tall and his stride looks effortless. His two touchdown passes were vintage Raider football - stretching the field with a deep forward pass. Al Davis would be proud.
5. I'll throw this in there because Matt Shepard is sitting next to me as I write this and he said I should definitely mention the lack of pressure on the quarterback. After Suh's sack on the first play of the game, the Lions didn't get to the QB again.