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Lions top Bills in preseason finale

Posted Sep 1, 2011

In a game that meant more for the reserves than the starters, the Lions were able to move the football a bit better than the Bills, which led to an early 10-0 lead for Detroit and ultimately a 16-6 win for the Lions in the preseason finale for both clubs.

“I thought we did some decent things. It was good to get some people back out there like Merriman,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “It was good to see (Kirk) Morrison and (Kelvin) Sheppard play a bunch in the ball game. It was good to get some things done special teams-wise that we needed to work on. There were a lot of positives. We can’t drop passes. We missed a couple of tackles and we one long run out of there. Those are things we can’t do and hopefully we’ll learn from it.”

“We had two opportunities to kind of get the ball deep that didn’t happen early,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “But we’re feeling confident we’re going to have everybody back and healthy for the opener.”

Detroit’s second string offense was on the field after the first series. On their third possession of the game, backup running back busted a run off right tackle 47 yards on a 2nd-and-8 near midfield all the way down to the Buffalo 17-yard line before he was forced out of bounds. Three plays later Shaun Hill hit Maurice Stovall over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown reception and a 7-0 lead with 5:22 left in the opening quarter.

Buffalo’s starters on offense went four-and-out and three-and-out on their only two possessions of the night.

“We got out there and if you’re not playing much, if you don’t execute early you’re not going to put points on the board,” said Eric Wood. “We had a couple of mishaps on offense early.”

C.J. Spiller got the start at tailback for the Bills as Fred Jackson did not see any action. Spiller had a 27-yard run to the outside to start the game. He had just one other carry for two yards before exiting.

The first team defense for Buffalo benefited from Shawne Merriman’s presence. In two series of work Merriman had three tackles including one for loss and a third down stop to force a punt.

“I knew we were not going to be out there long, but we wanted to make a quick impact in the few plays we did have,” Merriman said.

Buffalo had a chance to get points on the board midway through the second quarter, but Rian Lindell’s 48-yard attempt bounced off the right upright at the scoreboard end.

Detroit added to their lead late in the second quarter with Harrison’s rushing again a factor against Buffalo’s reserves. The tailback ripped off a 17-yard run, which followed a 16-yard catch by Tony Scheffler and put the Lions in Buffalo territory.

Reggie Corner broke up a third down conversion attempt on a pass from Drew Stanton to Titus Young to force a field goal attempt, but Jason Hanson was true from 44 yards out to give the Lions a 10-0 advantage.

Chris White made a play on punt coverage when he stripped returner Nate Hughes to force a fumble, which was recovered by Ruvell Martin at the Detroit 27 with 1:42 left in the first half. Tyler Thigpen however, could not connect on first or second down with his intended receivers and was forced to retreat immediately on a busted protection. He was ultimately sacked for a loss of 15 yards on third down taking Buffalo out of field goal range.

“It’s one of those things you have to battle through it, overcome it and get a drive started,” said Thigpen. “We got something going here and there and one thing and we’d be out of sync or I’d miss a pass. Those are thing you have to overcome.”

The Lions tacked on a pair of second half field goals to make it a 16-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Buffalo reserves on offense had trouble moving the ball in the second half. Levi Brown finally engineered a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. Kamar Aiken got the ball down to the one-yard line on a 29-yard catch and run. Bruce Hall had a one-yard touchdown run two plays later, but Brown’s two-point conversion attempt to Craig Davis was incomplete to make the score 16-6.

Brown led the offense down the field again in the final minute, but the clock expired before the Bills could reach the end zone again.

Buffalo finished the preseason 1-3, while Detroit was a perfect 4-0.

Notable play
Players that performed admirably in the last preseason game included Antonio Coleman, who had four tackles for loss.

Torell Troup put together a solid series early in the second quarter with a tackle for loss followed by quarterback pressure that led to an incompletion.

Reggie Corner had three pass breakups in less than a half of action.

Kamar Aiken made a difficult catch over the middle for a third down conversion.

Brian Moorman looked regular season ready on a pretty busy night with eight punts for a gross average of better than 49 and a net of better than 41.

Craig Davis had five catches for 34 yards.

Mike Caussin pulled in four receptions for 32 yards.

Justin Rogers had a pair of punt returns for 35 yards including a long of 23.

Kelvin Sheppard led the team with six tackles and also had a pass breakup.