(DETROIT, MI) – The Detroit Lions prevailed in the final pre-season tune-up, defeating the Buffalo Bills 17-10, at home, after 60 minutes of a hard-fought struggle.
“It’s always good to come away with a win and I thought it was a hard-fought one,” said Lions head coach Jim Caldwell. “I thought the young guys did a pretty nice job out there fighting their way through. They finished it like we wanted them to finish and often times, that’s just hard to get, but they hung in there.”
Detroit’s first drive of the game was a three-and-out venture as most of the starters sat the game out for the Lions. The Bills then drove over centre, but fumbled on a 4th and 2 effort, and the Lions took over on their own 45.
”You know, things like that at this level of the game just can’t happen. You know, hey, I’m the quarterback, so it starts with me and ends with me,” said Bills QB Matt Simms.”
Buffalo would make up for the miscue when a Dan Orlovksy pass ricocheted into the arms of Ron Brooks, who returned the interception 81 yards for the major.
Kellen Moore took over for Orlovsky late in the first quarter. He would lead the Lions close enough for a Matt Prater 41-yard field goal to start the 2nd. Later on in the quarter, Moore connected with TJ Jones on a slant route, and he ran the ball 52 yards into the Bills’ end zone.
“I think [Jones] performed well. I think he did a nice job,” Caldwell said. “I think he did a nice job in terms of special teams and his returns were gutty and he showed a flash of speed, caught the ball well. He did nice job.”
By half time the score was tied 10-10.
After a scoreless 3rd quarter, the Lions found themselves 4th and inches for the 1st down. Jeremy Ross was stopped short, but the Bills were assessed an offside penalty prolonged the Detroit drive.
Rookie Zach Zenner’s number was called for a 3-yard run across the goal line for the winning score.
“We did some of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen in football. That was awful,” said Bills head coach Rex Ryan. “A football follies play, offside on a fourth-down call on defense by a lineman, just some dumb things. So, I’m not real happy.”
After the game, the Lions placed WR Greg Salas and DE Corey Wootton on the reserve/injured list and released CB Crezdon Butler, DT Jermelle Cudjo, S Nate Ness, and WR Jeremy Ross. Detroit also waived 16 players including DT Jerel Worthy, QB Kellen Moore, and DT Kerry Hyder.
Hyder, C Braxston Cave, S Isaiah Johnson, WR Andrew Peacock, TE Casey Pierce, DE Larry Webster, and RB George Winn were signed to the practice squad.
The Lions start the season September 13 on the road in San Diego to take on the Chargers. A week later they’ll be in Minnesota for a divisional game against the Vikings before opening at home with a night game as they host the Denver Broncos at Ford Field.