Lions’ Kenny Golladay impresses in 24-10 win in exhibition opener over Colts – Detroit Free Press
Insiders Stephen Holder and Dave Birkett discuss the Detroit Lions’ preseason victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Rookie WR hauls in three catches for 54 yards, two touchdowns; Rudock leads three scoring drives
INDIANAPOLIS – Exhibition or not, Kenny Golladay had to have something to commemorate his first touchdown.
“Our equipment manager made sure he got it for me,” Golladay said, nodding to the football by his feet. “I’ll put it up somewhere.”
Golladay made quite the exhibition debut Sunday, building on what’s already been an impressive training camp with three catches for a team-high 53 yards and two touchdowns as the Detroit Lions beat the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, 24-10.
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A third-round pick out of Northern Illinois, Golladay has earned praise from the likes of Chad Johnson for his play this summer, and on Sunday he showed the Colts and the nation what the buzz was all about.
All three of Golladay’s catches came in contested fashion, and he outdueled rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson for both of his scores.
“I just went out there and just played my game really,” Golladay said. “I didn’t try to do nothing that wasn’t asked of me. Just did everything that was asked of me and just played my game.”
After practicing against the Colts on Thursday and Friday, the Lions played their first-team offensive skill players just one series Sunday before turning the game over to backups.
Matthew Stafford completed 2 of 3 passes for 36 yards, but his day ended with an interception that sailed through Marvin Jones’ hands.
Jake Rudock took over on the next possession and led the Lions on three scoring drives before departing early in the third quarter.
Golladay beat Wilson for a 23-yard touchdown in the front corner of the end zone with 5:43 left in the first quarter, and he scored his second touchdown on a 15-yard back-shoulder pass midway through the second quarter.
“Me being a big guy like I am, I have to come down with balls like that, especially if they’re going to throw it to me in the red zone,” Golladay said. “Coach Caldwell said we got to (win) those 50-50 balls. In a sense, I feel like he’s talking to me a little bit just me being a big guy, and I’m sure I’ll be able to get some 50-50 balls a lot, so I’ve just got to make those.”
At 6 feet 4, Golladay is the biggest receiver on the Lions’ roster and he’s expected to contribute as a red-zone and deep threat this year.
On Sunday, he was Rudock’s favorite target and a mismatch for the Colts’ undermanned secondary.
“He functioned well today,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “Made a couple nice catches, a couple difficult catches, and so that’s one game down and more to go so we’ll see how he does in practice in terms of our preparation leading up to the next game and then also the next ballgame as well. But he caught the ball well.”
Rudock, entering his second season after spending much of last year on the practice squad, threw the ball well, too.
The former Michigan standout completed 13 of 21 passes for 142 yards and added 24 yards rushing on two scrambles.
“I think I played well,” said Rudock, who hadn’t appeared in a game since last year’s exhibitions. “Definitely when we watch the film we’ll see some things, definitely stuff to clean up. But at the end of the day our job’s to move the offense down the field. That’s what we want to do, put points on the board and we were able to do that. That’s kind of all our job is.”
Third-string quarterback Brad Kaaya finished 8 of 11 passing for 71 yards and led the Lions on their final touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Undrafted rookie Dontez Ford scored on a 15-yard pass, breaking two tackles on his way to the end zone.
The Lions played Corey Robinson, who’s expected to take over at left tackle for Taylor Decker the first half of the season, for the entire first half Sunday as he continues to get accustomed to the playbook. The team acquired him on the final day of the off-season program in June.
The Lions rookie wide receiver caught two touchdown passes in the preseason win over the Colts on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in Indianapolis. Video by Dave Birkett/DFP
On defense, the Lions finished with five sacks and forced seven three-and-outs against a Colts team that did not have Andrew Luck.
The Lions did suffer one significant injury Sunday when starting left end Kerry Hyder was carted off the field in the first quarter with what Caldwell said appears to be a torn Achilles tendon.
“It’s tough anytime any guy gets injured,” Caldwell said. “He put a lot of time into getting ready for the season and those kind of things, so it’s a difficult thing.”