Detroit chose not to play any starters on the offensive or defensive side of the ball, except for linebacker Antwione Williams, who saw some time in the first quarter of the game.
For the rest of the team, it was a very slow start. The defense allowed the Bills to march methodically down the field on their way to a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
The offense was equally inept, first going three-and-out behind quarterback Jake Rudock. On the next drive, the Lions managed to get into Buffalo territory, but Jared Abbrederis promptly fumbled the ball away. That could be a costly play from Abbrederis, who is fighting with Jace Billingsley for a potential spot on the roster as the team’s fifth receiver.
On the Bills’ third offensive possession of the night, the Lions defense stiffened up with a huge fourth-and-inches stop. Unfortunately, the call on the field was a first down for the Bills, and an obvious challenge somehow didn’t overturn the call on the field. Four plays later, the Bills added a field goal to go up 13-0.
Rudock’s day would end with only one successful drive. Matt Prater added a 53-yard field goal towards the end of the first half to shorten the deficit to 13-3.
Things didn’t get any better in the third quarter. Brad Kaaya threw a red zone interception, and the Lions defense gave up a few touchdowns. It looked like there wasn’t going to be a single player to step up on Thursday night.
Then Tion Green made the whole game worth it with this impressive play late in the game:
For the rest of the Lions players this was a wasted opportunity. Players like Jace Billingsley and Jared Abbrederis failed to make an impact, as did pass rushers Alex Barrett, Jeremiah Valoaga and Pat O’Connor. The Lions were penalized early and often, and had drops, fumbles and missed tackles.
Most of these players aren’t going to be making the roster, but it was a disappointing performance nonetheless. Now it’s on the Lions coaches and general manager to sift through the game tape and come to difficult roster decisions. The Lions must be down to a 53-man roster by Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.