INDIANAPOLIS – When Kenny Golladay dropped the first pass thrown his way in a joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts earlier this week, he blamed it on nerves.
“I tried to run before I caught it and I dropped it,” Golladay said. “I didn’t want that to happen again.”
Nerves weren’t an issue for the rookie wide receiver in his preseason debut Sunday, and neither were the Colts.
Golladay caught three passes for a team-high 53 yards and scored two touchdowns as the Lions beat the Colts in the preseason opener for both teams, 24-10.
A third-round pick out of Northern Illinois, Golladay built on what’s been an impressive training camp that earned him praise from the likes of Chad Johnson. He made all three of his catches in contested situations Sunday and outdueled rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson for both of his scores.
"He’s coming along all during the preseason," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said in a halftime interview with WJBK-TV. "Playing pretty well and he made some nice catches, pretty tough catches that were behind him, so he’s getting better."
The Lions, who practiced against the Colts on Thursday and Friday, 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 to 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.
Rudock finished 13 of 21 passing for 142 yards, and rookie Brad Kaaya (8 of 11, 71 yards) led the Lions to 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 Greg Robinson, who’s expected to take over at left tackle for Taylor Decker, the entire first half as he continues to get accustomed to the playbook – the team acquired him on the final day of the off-season program in June. And though Haloti Ngata and Darius Slay sat out Sunday’s game entirely, the Lions finished with five sacks, forced seven three-and-outs and did not allow a touchdown until the final play of the game.
The Lions did suffer one significant injury Sunday when starting left end Kerry Hyder was carted off the field with 8:35 to play in the first quarter.
Hyder’s left leg gave out during a pass rush. He clutched at the back of his leg while on the field, and had to be driven to the locker room.
Backup defensive end/linebacker Brandon Copeland also left the game with a shoulder injury.