The Detroit Lions dominated the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night en route to a 16-6 victory. The win gave Detroit a perfect 4-0 record for the preseason, and if you want to count preseason games, the Lions have technically won eight straight games dating back to the 2010 regular season.
Although the Lions did win, this game didn't exactly say a whole lot about them. The starters played for only one drive, and on offense that meant that they were on the field for only four plays. The first play was a 39-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson, but the Lions were unable to pick up another first down. The starters exited the game after a punt and got to watch the rest of the night's action from the sideline.
The Bills' first drive of the game included a big first play as well. C.J. Spiller rushed for 27 yards on the opening play, but the Lions defense stood tough after that and quickly got a stop.
Defense continued to be the theme for much of the first quarter. The teams traded three and outs before the Lions put together a scoring drive that was propelled by a 47-yard run by James Harrison. Three plays later Shaun Hill found Maurice Stovall for a 16-yard touchdown pass to put the Lions up by a score of 7-0.
After most of the second quarter was spent trading punts, the Bills had a chance to get on the board, but Rian Lindell clanked a 48-yard field goal attempt off the right upright. The Lions took over and quickly moved down the field thanks to a 16-yard pass to Tony Scheffler and a 17-yard run by Harrison. The drive stalled after these two plays, but Jason Hanson nailed a 44-yard field goal.
Nate Hughes fumbled the next Bills punt, giving Buffalo the ball on the Lions 27. It looked like they were finally going to get on the board, but the defense had something to say about that. Tyler Thigpen was sacked for a loss of 15 yards by Willie Young and Bobby Carpenter on third down, putting the Bills out of field goal range. The Lions led at halftime by a score of 10-0 as a result.
Neither team had much luck moving the ball to start the second half until Zac Robinson led the Lions into field goal range as the third quarter was winding down. Once again Hanson nailed the kick, which was from 46 yards out this time. The kick put Detroit up 13-0, and the score became 16-0 after Hanson made a 35-yarder in the fourth quarter.
The Bills did finally manage to score with three minutes left in the game. They decided to go for two to cut the lead down to one possession, and the original ruling on the field said the attempt was successful. Upon further review, however, the officials ruled that the receiver didn't complete the process of the catch in the end zone, so the call was overturned.
There was no additional scoring after this, although the Bills did come close before running out of time. The score remained 16-6, though, and the Lions were able to leave Buffalo and end the preseason with yet another victory.
With the preseason now in the rear-view mirror, the Lions will focus on making cuts and getting down to 53 players on Saturday. After some other fine-tuning of the roster, preparation for the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 11 will begin.
Finally football that actually counts is almost here!