The Detroit Lions sat out quite a few starters on Thursday night, but they beat the Buffalo Bills anyway. Actually, they blew out the Bills. It wasn't even close, and the Lions cruised to a 23-0 victory in their final game of the preseason.
With so many backups getting a chance to start, it's no surprise that this game got off to a rather ugly start. The Bills got the ball first and had to punt, and the Lions followed that up with a three-and-out and punt of their own. It was more of the same for the two teams on the next three drives before the Lions finally started to move the ball. They got into Buffalo territory before things stalled, and Nate Freese gave them a 3-0 lead with a perfect 53-yard field goal.
After a couple more punts, the Lions added to their lead by capitalizing on an interception by Isa Abdul-Quddus. The pick gave the Lions the ball at the Buffalo 26, and Kellen Moore found Jeremy Ross for a 1-yard touchdown a few plays later. This made it 10-0 Lions.
Following three more punts, the Lions got the ball back near midfield with 41 seconds left in the second quarter. Moore found Eric Ebron for 14 yards, George Winn for 8 yards and Corey Fuller for 25 yards and a touchdown just before halftime. Suddenly the Lions had a 17-0 lead, and given how things went for Buffalo's offense in this game, it might as well have been a 50-0 lead.
The second half, unsurprisingly, opened with another pair of punts. Then the Lions did a favor to everybody and ran 8:03 off the clock with a 14-play drive. The drive actually only covered 45 yards, and it ended with another 53-yard field goal by Freese -- this time he banged it in off the left upright -- but it was nice to see a possession actually run some clock and end with something other than a punt.
The Bills' next possession actually ended with something other than a punt as well. They didn't manage to score, though. Instead, Jordan Palmer was picked off by Mohammed Seisay, who returned the interception 32 yards to the Buffalo 27. This led to another Freese field goal (from 28 yards out), giving the Lions a 23-0 lead.
Palmer was picked off again on the Bills' next drive. This time Nate Ness got in on the action by managing to get two feet down inbounds on a play close to the sideline. The Lions were unable to do anything with this turnover since they turned the ball over on downs four plays later, but it didn't matter since the Bills quickly went three-and-out yet again. Once the Lions got the ball back, they simply ran the final 6:41 off the clock, clinching their 23-0 victory.
With the preseason now over, the Lions will turn their attention to cutting down their roster to 53 players this weekend. Then, once that is taken care of, the Lions will shift their focus to their season-opening Monday night game against the New York Giants.