Thursday night’s game was absolutely crucial for at least a dozen Detroit Lions players. Unfortunately for Detroit, most of those players failed to rise to the occasion, as the Lions slumped to a 17-27 defeat.
But there were some performances of note. Here are three winners and three losers from Thursday’s contest.
Tion Green — The Lions had 317 total yards of offense on Thursday. Green had 150 of those yards on his own. Half of Green’s yards came on this wildly impressive play:
Green may still not make the Lions’ 53-man roster, but he surely made a case to land on a practice squad this year.
Derrick Lott — Lott signed with the Lions just five days ago as a replacement to the injured Jordan Hill, and yet he somehow managed to be Pro Football Focus’ highest rated Lions player on Thursday.
Lott finished with seven tackles, including two TFLs against the Bills. Even with the Lions’ massive amount of injuries on the defensive line, Lott isn’t likely to make the team. But he is practice squad eligible, and he may have just found his way onto it.
Leo Koloamatangi — The Lions’ backup center, along with Connor Bozick, Storm Norton and Brandon Thomas, played every single offensive snap on Thursday. But unlike his counterparts, Koloamatangi was reliable from start to finish.
With Thursday’s trade of Laken Tomlinson, a roster spot is suddenly open for an additional interior offensive lineman. Koloamatangi’s performance was extremely well-timed, and may have earned himself that spot. If not, he certainly deserves a spot on the practice squad.
Jared Abbrederis — With everything on the line, Abbrederis fumbled away his biggest opportunity to make an impression—literally. On his only touch of the day on offense, Abbrederis took a 16-yard reception and turned it into a fumble.
I’ve stuck my neck out all offseason for Abbrederis, calling him one of Detroit’s most-polished receivers. But that kind of play will get you cut from a roster in a second.
Jace Billingsley — Given Abbrederis’ game, you’d think a window of opportunity would be open for Billingsley, but he struggled just as badly on Thursday. He caught two passes for just two yards and was just as ineffective in the return game.
He muffed a punt return that he eventually recovered, but lost the opportunity to make a big return. And he just doesn’t look comfortable out there as a kick returner.
At this point, Abbrederis and Billingsley have given the Lions every reason to just keep four receivers on the roster.
Alex Carter — Carter only got playing time at the very end of the game, and much like the rest of the preseason, he failed to make any plays. I believe he had the most to gain in this game, and he failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
Here’s a telling statistic: Rolan Milligan (45), Charles Washington (42) and Don Carey (35) all saw more snaps than Carter (34) on Thursday. At this point, I think Carter is a longshot to make the roster.