DETROIT, Mich. – The Jaguars' dress rehearsal stayed pretty much true to plan.
That meant Chad Henne starting at quarterback in the third game of the 2014 NFL preseason. It also meant rookie Blake Bortles playing about a quarter with the first team and a whole lot of front-line guys seeing a bunch of different scenarios.
That all happened, and what also happened was the Lions' reserves rallied in the fourth quarter for a 13-12 victory over the Jaguars Friday night.
"That's what we talked about last night – just getting guys to play their best," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said at halftime of a game played in front of an announced 56,496 at Ford Field. "That's the challenge for them."
Bortles' 13-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns in the third quarter gave the Jaguars their first lead, 12-7, and nearly helped the Jaguars to a second victory in three preseason games.
The first three quarters or so of the third preseason game is considered by many NFL observers the closest thing to a real game before the regular-season begins.
Bortles, playing impressively for a third consecutive preseason game while working with the first-team offense for the first time, had engineered a 79-yard drive on his first drive. That drive began on the Jaguars 5 and ended with a 34-yard field by reserve kicker Kasey Redfern on the last play of the first half.
Bush's first-quarter touchdown was the only touchdown in the first two-and-a-half quarters – the portion of the game that featured mostly starters against starters.
"It was really good lesson for us and something we can get corrected," Bradley said of the run.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are barely bested by the Detroit Lions in the 3rd game of the 2014 preseason.
The Jaguars had a chance to take the lead early in the second half, but a 45-yard field goal attempt by Redfern was blocked by defensive tackle Xavier Proctor.
Much of the focus for the Jaguars Friday was on the quarterback position, with Bradley having said throughout the week Henne would start and that Bortles likely would play about a quarter. That's pretty much how it played out, with Bortles entering the game just before halftime.
Henne, a seven-year veteran who has started the first three preseason games and who is expected to start the regular-season opener at Philadelphia September 7, played the first four series, completing nine of 14 passes for 70 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Jaguars trailed 7-3 when Henne – who is now 25-of-38 for 230 yards passing with one touchdown and no interceptions in the preseason – left the game.
Bortles, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft who played impressively in his first two preseason games, entered the game with 1:49 remaining in the second quarter. He played until late in the third quarter, completing 10 of 16 passes for 158 yards and the 13-yard touchdown to Hurns.
Bradley called the drive at the end of the first half "a great two-minute situation."
On that drive, Bortles gave the Jaguars a first down with a 28-yard strike down the left sideline to Hurns, and also completed a 30-yard pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis. He later had a 13-yard pass to Hurns to the Detroit 16. Bortles also had two passes on the drive that were nearly intercepted.
"We wanted to come out of it with points on the board and he did a nice job," Bradley said, adding that there were "some great plays" on the drive. "We did a good job with protection. We executed."
Bortles has now completed 28 of 44 for 435 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in three preseason games.
Lions reserve running back George Winn's 1-yard run with 7:12 remaining capped a six-play, 63-yard drive and gave the Lions their winning points.
In terms of momentum for the Jaguars, this came when Bortles entered the game late in the first half. Bortles quickly led a 79-yard drive to set up Redfern's field goal on the final play of the first half and he also threw the third-quarter touchdown pass to Hurns. The Jaguars led 12-7 when Bortles left the game.
1.Hurns, who signed as a rookie free agent just after the 2014 NFL Drft, continues to have a solid preseason, catching seven passes for 113 yards Friday, including five receptions for 76 yards in the first half. He now has 13 receptions for 230 yards in three preseason games. …
2.Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart, making his second start of the preseason, ran strong early, finishing with 32 yards rushing on 10 carries. …
LOOKING ON . . .
1.The Jaguars' search continued at center and right guard Friday. Jacques McClendon started at center after working with the first team throughout the week, and rookie Brandon Linder started at right guard after also working with the ones much of the week. Mike Brewster, the starter at center in the first two preseason games, did not play in the first half. Rookie Luke Bowanko entered the game at center early in the first quarter when McClendon left for one play with a shoe problem, an indication that he is working with the second team ahead of Brewster. Bowenko also worked at center on the final drive of the first half. Brewster played right guard early in the second half.
2.Cecil Shorts III started the game at wide receiver for the Jaguars, marking his first playing time of the preseason. As expected, he played a little more than a quarter and started the game along with rookies Hurns and Marqise Lee. Shorts did not catch a pass. …
3.Cornerback Alan Ball, defensive tackle Roy Miller and defensive end Chris Clemons – all veterans – did not play into the third quarter Sunday. Bradley has indicated last week more experienced veterans might not play as long as other starters Friday. …
Jaguars defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks left the game with a right shoulder injury in the second quarter, and did not return. That injury occurred shortly before middle linebacker Paul Posluszny left the game with a biceps injury.
The extent of the injuries was not immediately known, but the injury to Posluzny was not to the same biceps that kept him from traveling to Chicago last week for Preseason Week 2.
Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee also sustained a quad injury in the first half and did not return, and safety Winston Guy, Jr., sustained a first-half ankle injury. Guy returned in the second half.
Jaguars wide receiver Kerry Taylor sustained a wrist injury in the second half and did not return.
Offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (hand), offensive tackle Josh Wells (shoulder) and safety Craig Loston (hamstring) missed Friday's game, while safety Deion Belue (back) missed a second consecutive game and wide receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring), wide receiver Tandon Doss (ankle) and tight end Clay Harbor (calf) all missed a third consecutive game. Cameron Bradfield started for Pasztor at right tackle. Robinson, a rookie, made the trip after not traveling to Chicago last week.