Lions handle Hackenberg, beat Jets 16-6
DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones in the second quarter, and the Detroit Lions shut down Christian Hackenberg and the New York Jets 16-6 in a preseason game Saturday night.
After losing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to an Achilles tendon injury in their preseason opener at Indianapolis, the Lions were still able to pressure Hackenberg early on. The Jets managed only 3 yards of offense in the first quarter and just two first downs in the first half.
Jets quarterback Josh McCown sat out this game, but Hackenberg did little to impress in his absence. Hackenberg was 2 of 6 for 14 yards and was sacked twice.
“He really didn’t get a chance,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “That’s not a fair evaluation of a kid, because he didn’t get a chance on the couple pass plays he had. They had a lot of pressure on him.”
Even after Hackenberg struggled, Bowles wasn’t willing to name McCown his starter for the season opener. He indicated the quarterback competition would continue and that Hackenberg would still be evaluated.
“I can’t say when he’ll play, or how he’ll play, but he’ll play and be evaluated again next week,” Bowles said.
Stafford went 8 of 10 for 84 yards. Matt Prater kicked field goals of 37 and 25 yards in the first half, and his 50-yarder with 1:11 left in the fourth quarter put the Lions up 16-6.
Detroit’s depth along the defensive front is being tested because of injuries to Hyder and Ziggy Ansah, but the Lions looked fine in this game. On the very first series, Cornelius Washington came in unblocked and sacked Hackenberg, forcing a fumble that the Jets were able to recover.
“I think he’s a heavy-handed, sort of physical guy that can not only defend the run ... but I think also he’s going to be able to add some pass rush through power,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said of Washington. “He’s not one of those finesse guys. He’s going to take you on and go get after it pretty good and can collapse the pocket. It was good to see, even though he was untouched on that one, he’s free, that’s still not an easy tackle to make.”
Detroit’s Akeem Spence added a sack later in the first quarter. New York finished the half with minus-3 net yards passing.
With Matt Forte still recovering from a hamstring injury, Bilal Powell had nine carries for 32 yards for the Jets.
Stafford was fairly sharp for the Lions, but they managed only one touchdown. Jones made a nice catch in the back corner of the end zone and held on amid tight coverage from Morris Claiborne to put Detroit up 10-0.
“By the sidelines, he’s always got a knack for finding a way to get that last little foot in, or whatever it is,” Stafford said.
Ross Martin made field goals of 31 and 28 yards in the fourth quarter for the Jets, but he missed from 56 in the third.
Jets: S Rontez Miles left with a laceration around his eye.
Lions: Detroit lost WR TJ Jones in the first half to a hamstring issue, but the Lions were able to avoid the type of major injury they had to deal with in their previous game.
The Jets had eight sacks in their previous preseason game against Tennessee. They managed three against the Lions.
Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton, whose team made it to a bowl last season, was interviewed on the big screen during a break in the action. That turned out to be one of the game’s highlights, because Creighton used the opportunity to present senior wide receiver Jaron Johnson with a scholarship .
Jets: Bryce Petty went 15 of 24 for 160 yards with an interception in relief of Hackenberg.
Lions: Jake Rudock went 8 of 13 for 84 yards with an interception, and Brad Kaaya was 4 of 7 for 38 yards.
Jones made the most of the game’s only touchdown, participating in a celebration with teammates in which he pretended to jump rope .
Stafford was impressed with the routine, although he didn’t take part.
“I’m not a jump rope guy,” he said.
Jets: Face the New York Giants next Saturday night.
Lions: Host New England on Friday night.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister