Early on, the Detroit Lions looked like they were going to cruise to victory over the Buffalo Bills. They were shutting down the Bills offense, and they jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead. Unfortunately, they left a lot of points on the field with missed field goals, and they allowed the Bills to hang around. This came back to bite them late, as the Bills won the game on a 58-yard field goal in the final seconds. The final score was 17-14 in favor of the Bills.
The start of Sunday's game was basically a showcase of each team's punter. The Bills picked up one first down before having to punt, and the Lions followed that up with a three-and-out. The Bills then went three-and-out after an awesome 60-yard punt by Sam Martin, and the Lions went three-and-out again despite taking over in Buffalo territory.
Following yet another Bills three-and-out, the Lions broke the string of punts and scored in the process. A 28-yard pass to Reggie Bush got the Lions down to the 11-yard line, and they appeared to score on a 9-yard pass to Eric Ebron a couple plays later. The play was reviewed, however, and Ebron was ruled to have dropped the ball. This made it third down, but the Lions came right back and scored with a 9-yard pass to Golden Tate.
The Lions quickly added to their lead with another touchdown, this one courtesy of the defense. On just the third play of the second quarter and the fourth play of Buffalo's drive, Kyle Orton threw a pass right to Rashean Mathis. Mathis made a great play to jump the route, and he easily made the interception and returned it 41 yards for a pick-six. Suddenly it was Lions 14, Bills 0.
With the Bills responding by going three-and-out again, the Lions had an opportunity to really put Buffalo in a deep hole. They took over at the Buffalo 40 thanks to a 28-yard punt return by Jeremy Ross, and everything seemed to be going in their favor. Unfortunately, Matthew Stafford made a bad pass on the second play of the drive, and it was tipped up and intercepted. The Bills were now the team with great field position all of a sudden, and they managed to shake off a couple penalties and a first-and-30 to eventually get a 45-yard field goal out of the turnover.
After the two teams traded punts, the Lions got the ball back with 1:40 left in the half. They tried to add on to their lead, but they nearly turned it over when Stafford was hit from behind and lost the ball. The Lions luckily recovered, but they had to punt after going three-and-out. The Bills also had to punt after not being able to do anything in the final minute, and the Lions ended up taking a knee to go into halftime with a 14-3 lead.
The second half opened with quite a roller-coaster ride for the two kickers in this game. The Lions finally put together a nice-looking drive on offense, but they were unable to move the chains on third-and-4. This led to a 44-yard field goal attempt, and Alex Henery doinked it off the right upright.
The Bills followed Henery's miss with a decent-looking drive of their own. They were stopped on third-and-8 at the Detroit 32, however, leading to a 50-yard attempt for Dan Carpenter. He also missed, and his kick doinked off the left upright. This meant that the score remained 14-3 in favor of the Lions.
With pretty good field position, the Lions quickly moved into Buffalo territory despite being without Calvin Johnson, who left the game after aggravating his ankle injury on his first and only catch of the day. The Lions got an 18-yard gain from Tate to put them inside the 30, but the drive stalled there. Once again, they had to settle for a Henery field goal attempt, and he completely shanked it from 47 yards out.
The Bills did not miss their next field goal attempt, which came after a promising drive stalled inside the 10-yard line. DeAndre Levy made a great play to stop Fred Jackson on third-and-2, and Carpenter made his 25-yard attempt. The kick cut the Lions' lead down to 14-6, making this a one-score game.
Unfortunately for the Lions, the Bills did not have to settle for a field goal on their next possession. After an ugly series for the Lions offense that featured a fumble that was thankfully recovered by Detroit, the Bills took over at their own 26. They moved the chains on third-and-6, and they later faced third-and-10. On that play, Orton hit Marquise Goodwin downfield for a 42-yard gain, and Orton found Chris Gragg in the end zone for a touchdown two plays later. The Bills found the end zone again on the ensuing 2-point conversion -- Jackson punched it in on a run -- tying this game up at 14.
The Lions responded by going three-and-out, and the Bills managed to get into Detroit territory on their next drive. They could only get to the 48-yard line, though, as the Lions came up with a stop before the Bills could even think about a potential field goal. It was more of the same after another Lions punt, as Buffalo got a couple yards into Detroit territory before the defense came up with a stop.
With the ball on their own 11 with 1:02 to go, the Lions quickly gave themselves a chance to win the game when Stafford found Tate for 55 yards on the opening play of the drive. Unfortunately, the Lions only managed to move the ball 2 more yards downfield. This meant that Henery had to attempt a 50-yard kick, and unsurprisingly, it was no good.
The biggest downside of the missed field goal -- aside from the Lions not taking the lead -- was that Buffalo got great field position. The Bills were at their own 40 with 21 seconds left, and a 20-yard pass to Sammy Watkins put them in range for a field goal. A couple plays later, they decided to attempt a 58-yard field goal, and Carpenter nailed it. The Lions were left with only 4 seconds on the clock, and their last-ditch effort simply resulted in a fumble that was recovered by the Bills. As a result, the Lions lost by a score of 17-14.
As disappointing as Sunday's game was for the Lions, they have to forget about it quickly. With a road game against the Minnesota Vikings coming up, the Lions have to refocus and get things back on track next week.
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