Bills head coach Dick Jauron said his starters would not play long if at all and that proved to be the case Thursday night in Buffalo's preseason finale against Detroit. Only Buffalo's offensive line saw any appreciable time as they played the first two possessions before some reserves subbed in.
"Our offensive line did, they're all playing different positions and some of them are brand new obviously. Both of our guards they did play. They did start. We thought they needed some time together so we put them out there for a couple of series. I think they got 19 plays," said Jauron. "We started preparing Trent for New England gave him all New England reps up to this game and we just decided it was better not to put him in there with no preparation for another opponent.
"Defensively we had a lot of reps last week with that first group so we weren't going to give them any time. They too spent their week working on our opening day opponent."
The bright spot was Buffalo's top defensive draft picks made their presence felt as they received extended playing time in what wound up being a 17-6 loss. Aaron Maybin recorded his second sack in as many games.
Lining up as the starting right defensive end, Maybin came around the edge on a 2nd-and-8 at the Bills 22 and tomahawked the ball out of Matt Stafford's hand as he took Stafford to the ground. The loose ball was recovered by Copeland Bryan ending Detroit's first possession.
Maybin also added a quarterback hit to his defensive stat sheet when he pressured Brooks Bollinger on a 3rd-and- 6 from the Bills 17-yard line to force a field goal. But he was far from satisfied.
"It went okay," said Maybin. "There are always a lot of things I can do to improve. This next week of practice I'm just going to hit it the same way, try to get better every day and hopefully take some of that momentum into Monday night against New England."
Fellow rookie Jairus Byrd also was instrumental in stopping a Detroit drive in the third quarter. With Buffalo's defense backed up on their own 10-yard line, Byrd jumped a Bollinger pass intended for Keary Colbert in the end zone.
"I think they're both good football players," said Jauron. "Jairus has been with us longer than Aaron has. Although he couldn't participate he was in all the meetings and we were monitoring him on a daily basis. Aaron is what we saw on tape in college, it looks like you get the same thing on the field. He's got a big motor. He's fast on the edge."
Unfortunately Buffalo was unable to capitalize on those two takeaways or the interception by Reggie Corner that the defensive back returned to the Lions' 27-yard line. At the end of the ensuing offensive drive Rian Lindell pushed a 33-yard field goal wide right.
Still Buffalo's top defensive rookies made the most of their extended playing time showing further signs that if given the opportunity they're ready to contribute.
"It feels pretty good, but both me and Jairus know what our abilities are," said Maybin. "We know we're talented and we know we can contribute. With us it's just a matter of getting on the field and getting that production."
"We're counting on them," said Jauron. "We're counting on them to make plays and that's why we drafted them. That's why it was so disappointing for Aaron to get back with it and Jairus had to sit out and watch for that length of time."
Game NotesRyan Fitzpatrick ran the offense with Dominic Rhodes getting the start in the backfield. Fitzpatrick came out firing on the first drive with two straight completions to Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed for 14 and seven yards respectively. But Buffalo's first drive stalled at the Detroit 37-yard line forcing a punt.
Buffalo's offense had a pair of first half turnovers as Derek Schouman was stripped of the ball after a reception over the middle in Lions' territory. Fitzpatrick also threw an interception on a deep pass down the far sideline that was intended for Roscoe Parrish.
The Lions offense didn't have much more success with Buffalo's defenders holding Detroit scoreless until the waning moments of the first half when fullback Jerome Felton plunged in for a one-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left in the second quarter and a 7-0 lead.
Fitzpatrick finished the half 9-17 for 78 yards and an interception, but starting wasn't anything unusual for him.
"I started 12 games last year, so it's nothing new to me. I got to play in the first half. I wish we would have done a little better, but we're really excited about the game on Monday night. We basically have a week and a half to prepare for it and we're going to be ready to go."
Gibran Hamdan led the offense in the second half and put together a pair of scoring drives. Midway through the third quarter he engineered an 11-play 84-yard drive. Hamdan hooked up a couple of times with Steve Johnson for plays of 27 and 33 yards to set up a 1st-and-goal at the eight-yard line.
"Stevie and Justin and our tight ends, but especially those two, they did a very nice job getting open," said Hamdan. "When I threw the balls they were pretty open. I missed one to Justin, we were lucky enough to hook up on a couple of passes."
But Hamdan and Johnson couldn't connect on two shots in the end zone as the drive ended with a 24-yard Rian Lindell field goal.
Hamdan later hit Justin Jenkins on a deep pass down the left sideline that went for 44 yards setting up a 1st-and-10 at the Lions 29-yard line. It led to a 48-yard Lindell field goal.
Jenkins also had a 23-yard catch and run late in the fourth.
"Myself and Steve we kind of talk to each other between plays and during timeouts," said Jenkins. "We know we can do it. We know this offense needs a spark and being out there with younger guys we know we can pick them up with our plays. It's always good to loosen up the defense .We felt like we had Detroit on their heels tonight. It didn't turn out good because we didn't get in the end zone, but we felt like we could move the ball at any moment."
Johnson was the leading receiver with three catches for 69 yards.
Nic Harris led the team with 12 tackles, George Wilson had nine.
Center/guard Brandon Rodd suffered a strained ligament according to Jauron. Xavier Omon had a calf contusion and could not return in the second half.