Excitement for the fourth preseason game is nothing approaching a fever pitch, but for the Detroit Lions there were still key positional battles to keep an eye on. More than a few players brought the “can’t go back” attitude as they made their final push to make the 53-man roster. The end of the preseason was here, and the Bills came in to face down the Lions in Detroit to close the whole shebang out.
Jace Billingsley would be back to return the kickoff to start the night. Jay Lee got rolling early with a first down reception from Dan Orlovsky, but the highlight of the first drive came from Dwayne Washington. With tight end Andrew Quarless laying down a solid block, Washington hit the edge and went to the races: 58 yards to the end zone and possibly cementing himself on the final roster once and for all.
The Buffalo offense, with EJ Manuel in at quarterback, struggled against Detroit’s defense for the entirety of the first quarter. On an early chance to go for it on fourth down, A’Shawn Robinson made a huge play to turn the ball over to the Lions, which led to a Matt Prater field goal.
After that, the second team defense got busy beating down EJ Manuel and the Bills offensive line. Zettel and Hyder racked up sacks, and Antwione Williams made his case for the team with solid tackle after solid tackle. When EJ Manuel left, the story continued against rookie Cardale Jones. Throughout the first half, the defense held the Bills to only 52 yards rushing and negative seven yards passing.
After the third possession Jake Rudock took over for Dan Orlovsky as the Lions rolled on, but would fail to score again until two minutes remained in the second quarter. Zach Zenner, now in for Dwayne Washington, punched through the Bills line twice. In the red zone, Rudock turned to Jay Lee, who had been shining all night. Lee made the reception on a fade from two-yards out for the second Lions’ touchdown of the night.
The second half began with the Bills on offense, and the Lions defense was just as hungry as they were in the first half with Kerry Hyder picking up where he left off, racking up another mark for a key pressure. Buffalo would be forced to punt after a short three-and-out.
On defense, Kerry Hyder continued to shine, with three pressures in a single drive and forcing a fumble that would get wiped out by a penalty on another player on defense. Anthony Zettel also made marks for himself with more pressure on Cardale Jones in passing situations. In the fourth quarter, A’Shawn Robinson put his big boy size to work and flashed his leaping ability. The rookie batted a pass from Cardale Jones at the line of scrimmage which would get snatched by Brandon Copeland for the interception.
With Jay Lee stealing the thunder for wide receivers, Jace Billingsley stepped up near the end of the third quarter. First he caught a Rudock pass and busted out for 47 yards, with most of the yardage coming after the reception. With the Lions knocking on the door, Jake Rudock found Jace Billingsley again in double coverage. Somehow, Jace caught the ball near the end zone boundary with one hand, extending the Lions’ lead to 24.
Tight end Adam Fuehne, struggling to stay on the tight end bubble, hauled in a touchdown from Jake Rudock late in the fourth quarter. With time winding down, the broadcast team began to lose focus and started to meander on weird tangents. The Bills and Lions would trade punts, the preseason ticked down its remaining minutes and came to a merciful end.