The Detroit Lions’ starters did their job, but the reserves couldn’t hang on at the end.
That’s preseason football.
The Lions lost 27-26 Friday night, when the Oakland Raiders scored with six seconds remaining on a 19-yard pass from third-string quarterback Matt McGloin to receiver Brice Butler.
The Raiders trailed by 13 points late in the third quarter at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland and didn’t take their first lead until the game-winning score.
Six days earlier, the Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns on a touchdown pass by their third-string quarterback with about a minute to play.
Here are a few other quick hitters from each phase of the game: offense, defense and special teams:
— The Lions continued to play it safe this preseason with receiver Calvin Johnson, who’s coming back from offseason knee surgery and was held out for the second straight week for precautionary reasons.
— Quarterback Matthew Stafford and the first-team offense were sharp from the start, scoring on touchdown passes with both of their first two possessions, 28 yards to Golden Tate and 4 yards on third-and-goal to Kris Durham, who reached up and snatched the ball away from the defensive back.
— The starters played into the second quarter. They scored 16 points on their first three possessions this preseason before going three-and-out on their final series.
— Stafford, who was 9-for-10 for 88 yards and two scores, was replaced by Dan Orlovsky in the middle of the second quarter.
— Receiver Ryan Broyles, trying to come back from a third straight season-ending injury, broke two tackles to gain 34 yards on a short pass late in the second quarter.
— Orlovsky was at his best while moving the second-team offense down the field to score on the first possession of the second half. They went 83 yards in eight plays. One of the key plays came when running back Theo Riddick broke four tackles for a 36-yard gain on a screen pass.
— In four possessions, the Lions scored a touchdown and a field goal with Orlovsky at quarterback. He completed 8 of 12 passes for 153 yards, just six days after a shaky performance in the preseason opener.
— Kellen Moore, the No. 3 QB, led a fourth-quarter drive for a field goal as the Lions kept the ball for 14 plays and ran off 6 1/2 minutes.
— Interesting comment from Lions Hall of Famer Charlie Sanders at the top of the TV telecast: "I really believe that the defense is going to have to carry this team the first part of the season."
— C.J. Mosley got a start at defensive tackle in place of Nick Fairley, whose weight issues and inconsistency apparently have put him in the dog house. Fairley, however, still got into the game during Oakland’s first drive.
"You either respond and become better, make this team better, or you find a way out of here," Sanders said of Fairley. "One thing that Nick has to understand. Not only are we looking at him, but the other 31 teams throughout the league are looking at him. If he wants to get paid for his play (as an unrestricted free agent after this season), he’s going to have to start playing."
— Safety James Ihedigbo’s 38-yard interception to set up Detroit’s first touchdown was the direct result of a pass broken up by cornerback Rashean Mathis that deflected to his teammate.
— The Lions, who are expected to play a more attacking style this year, got burned by one of their blitzes when a screen pass gained 23 yards on a first-and-20 play.
— Rookie defensive end Larry Webster knocked Oakland rookie quarterback Derek Carr out of the game with a blindside hit on a strong pass rush late in the game.
— Reserve safety DeJon Gomes made a vicious hit to force a fumble near the goal line with 4:19 remaining for what appeared to be a game-saving play before the Raiders scored at the end.
— Rookie Nate Freese, a seventh-round draft pick from Boston College, didn’t help himself in the kicking competition by missing the first extra-point attempt when the ball hit off the right upright.
Freese, however, bounced back and nailed a 55-yard field goal with six seconds left in the first half.
— Georgio Tavecchio connected on a 25-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter for a 26-20 lead.
— Oakland’s first touchdown came after it took three points off the board when the Lions were called for 12 players on the field on a field goal, giving the Raiders a first down at Detroit’s 32-yard line. The Lions were called for a total of seven penalties for 40 yards in the first half. They had only five penalties in their preseason opener last week.
— Running back George Winn, a native of Southfield, Mich., scored on a 1-yard run and continues to make an impression with his effort on the kick-coverage unit.
— Second-team punter Drew Butler had to make the tackle on a 50-yard return by the Raiders in the final minute of the third quarter.
The Lions are 1-1 and play the Jacksonville Jaguars next Friday at home in the third exhibition game, which is when the starters typically get their most playing time of the preseason.