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First half observations: Bills-Lions

Posted Aug 28, 2014

Here's a look at what stood out over the first 30 minutes of preseason action between the Bills and Lions.

Bills ‘D’ stingy again

Buffalo’s starting defense was without Stephon Gilmore, who was inactive, but were as stingy as ever. On Detroit’s first possession the Lions had a rush and a reception that each went for no gain, thanks in part to a penalty. On 3rd-and-10 Dan Orlovsky tossed a checkdown pass to RB Theo Riddick, who could not gain a first down prompting a three-and-out.

On the second and final series played by the Bills starting defense the Lions had a drive that resulted in negative yardage. Brandon Spikes and Jarius Wynn dropped Mikel Leshoure for a one-yard loss. Orlovsky’s next two passes fell incomplete leading to another three-and-out.

The Bills run defense stayed close to their 2.75 yards per carry allowed average in the preseason. Detroit had seven carries for 20 yards for a 2.8 average in the first half against Buffalo.

Sammy injured
After missing almost all of the last two preseason games with bruised ribs, Sammy Watkins started Thursday night against the Lions in the Bills preseason finale. His time on the field lasted nine plays. Watkins was hit hard by Lions LB Ashlee Palmer on a quick slant that fell incomplete.

Watkins, who appeared to be wearing a flak jacket to protect his ribs took himself out of the game. He was examined by team doctors and taken to the locker room. He was later declared out for the game.

Third down proves tough
The starters on offense were given three series of work in the preseason finale, but did not have a lot of success moving the ball. The problems cropped up most on third down where the first unit went 1-4 on conversions, which brought on the punt team for all three possessions.

EJ Manuel finished his night 3-7 passing for 56 yards. He was sacked twice. Robert Woods was again a successful target in the passing game despite the short amount of work. He had two receptions for 36 yards.

In the first half the Bills were 1-for-7 on third down conversions.

Brown starts at WLB
Bills rookie LB Preston Brown got the start at weak side linebacker in place of Nigel Bradham. The move is likely in anticipation of Bradham’s one game league-imposed suspension for the Week 1 game at Chicago.

Brown, who has mainly lined up at middle linebacker with the second unit behind Brandon Spikes, began taking more snaps at outside linebacker the past week or so and appears to be the choice to replace Bradham.