The Detroit Lions finally got a look at their first-string offense and defense in their Week 3 preseason game, and the results were much more promising than we had seen in previous weeks.
Unfortunately, the Lions’ improved night was overshadowed by injuries. Detroit lost two first-round picks in this game: linebacker Jarrad Davis and center Frank Ragnow. Both were not putting any pressure on their injured leg, and both spent the remainder of the game in the locker room. We’re still waiting to hear about their long-term status, but it doesn’t look good.
Here’s how the rest of the game went.
The Lions won the toss, but deferred. That means the Bills and Josh Allen took the field first. It was a pyrrhic victory for the Lions defense. They succeeded in getting the Bills three-and-out, but starting linebacker Jarrad Davis suffered what appeared to be a serious injury and was carted off. The team did not provide an immediate update on his condition.
Matthew Stafford would indeed come out with the Lions’ first-team offense, and complete his first two passes. However, he was not able to connect with Marvin Jones Jr. on third-and-6, leaving the Lions with just one first down before giving the ball back to Buffalo.
The two teams would trade more punts. First, the Bills went three-and-out again. Then, the Lions, with Stafford, managed just one more first down before pinning the Bills deep with a nice punt from Sam Martin.
The Lions defense continued to stand strong, this time forcing a turnover. Justin Coleman allowed a reception to Cole Beasley, but made up for it by punching the ball out, allowing Quandre Diggs to recover in Bills territory.
Thanks to a couple good catches from Danny Amendola, the Lions got themselves into a first-and-goal situation.
However, a holding penalty on Oday Aboushi set them back in the down, and they couldn’t recover. Matt Prater was good from 23-yards, giving the Lions the first points of the night. 3-0 Lions.
The Lions defense picked up another huge play as Mike Daniels pressured Josh Allen out of the pocket. Allen made a horrible decision to make an across-the-body throw, which was promptly intercepted by Jalen Reeves-Maybin. However, Christian Jones nudged Allen to the ground after the throw, drawing a roughing the passer penalty and negating the interception.
On the very first play of the second quarter, the Bills made the Lions play for the penalty. Frank Gore found a huge hole for 27 yards, and he got an additional 15 yards after Tracy Walker hit Gore late out of bounds. Thanks to A’Shawn Robinson, who was jawing with the Bills as they lined up for the next play, the Bills got the benefit of yet another personal foul penalty. A few plays later, an end around rush found the end zone. 7-3 Bills.
With Stafford still in the game, it was time for the T.J. Hockenson show. Stafford found Hockenson for gains of 15 and 31, quickly moving the Lions in the red zone. The Lions found themselves in a fourth-and-3 situation, and it was Ty Johnson who pulled them out with this impressive touchdown catch:
Sexyyyyyy. TY Johnson sighting. pic.twitter.com/d8HoWrCEjD— Brett Whitefield (@PFF_Brett) August 24, 2019
On the ensuing kickoff, Lions safety C.J. Moore laid a big hit forcing a fumble, which was recovered by opportunistic rookie Will Harris.
The offense took over, and unfortunately the big news was another injury. This time starting center Frank Ragnow got rolled up on by a Bills players and, too, had to get carted off. The Lions would end up going for it in the red zone on fourth down and failed to convert.
From there the two teams traded punts while the Lions finally moved to their second-string offense and defense.
The Bills pulled ahead before the half with an impressive 95-yard drive, capped by a Devin Singletary 9-yard touchdown run. 14-10 Bills.
A great Jamal Agnew kick return gave the Lions an opportunity to run a one-minute drill, but a sack pretty much ended any chance of a touchdown. Still, they were close enough for a Matt Prater 61-yard attempt, and the veteran kicker nailed it. 14-13 Bills.
David Fales would lead the Lions offense to start the second half, but couldn’t get anything going, as he missed a wide-open Chris Lacy on third down. The play wouldn’t have counted anyways, as the Lions were called for offensive pass interference.
The Bills would drive deep into Lions territory by targeting Lions rookie corner Amani Oruwariye. Matt Barkley got into the red zone, but a couple of negative plays caused by the Lions defense pushed them back, and the Bills would settle for a field goal. 17-13 Bills.
Fales continued to struggle, and quickly gave the ball back to Buffalo after missing Tom Kennedy on third down.
The Bills, on the other hand, would conduct a nine-play, 75-yard drive to go up two scores. Andre Chachere would give up the score after failing to turn around in coverage on Duke Williams. 24-13 Bills.
The Bills offense would continue to give the Lions’ reserve corners trouble, but a nice pass breakup by C.J. Moore would force the punt, giving the ball back to Detroit.
Led now by Josh Johnson, the Lions’ run offense suddenly came alive. With Zach Zenner and Mark Thompson splitting carries, Detroit picked up 38 rushing yards on seven carries. Thompson sealed the drive with a 1-yard touchdown. 24-20 Bills.
A quick three-and-out thanks to good plays by Andre Chachere and Mike Ford gave the Lions the ball back with just under five minutes to go. Johnson was able to drive the Lions into Bills territory, but Travis Fulgham ended the drive with a fumble in the red zone. The Bills would run out the clock.
The main question on everyone’s mind as the Detroit Lions prepare to take the field against the Buffalo Bills Friday night is will Matthew Stafford play? If warmups are any indication, it seems likely. Stafford was repping with the first team during 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s in the minutes leading up to kickoff.
Additionally, Damon Harrison Sr., Trey Flowers and Mike Daniels were all dressed during warmings, suggesting that we may finally get a look at some of the Lions starters on the defensive line for the first time all preseason (A’Shawn Robinson aside).
Stay tuned as kickoff is just a few minutes away now.
How to watch Lions vs. Bills
Date: Friday, August 23, 2019
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field — Detroit, MI
TV channel: CBS (nationally televised)
- Per 506 sports, game won’t be televised on CBS in Columbus and Toledo markets. Buffalo vs. Detroit will air on H&I 10.2 in Columbus, and MeTV 11.2 in Toledo.
Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Melanie Collins
Online streaming: NFL Game Pass (free seven-day trial)
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown