Turnovers lift Lions over Bills

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Location:Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

Preseason records:Buffalo (2-2), Detroit (3-1)

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In a Nutshell: **The Bills offense was very effective moving the football behind quarterback Matt Simms, but Detroit scored 14 points off three Buffalo turnovers and won the two clubs' annual preseason finale 17-10.

Buffalo was staked to an early 7-0 lead by their defense on an 81-yard interception return by Ron Brooks, but the two teams were tied at 10 at the half.

Both teams sat almost all of their starters for the game allowing a host of younger players to make their best case for a roster spot or practice squad position. Among the players who produced Thursday night was WR Dezmin Lewis with six catches for 81 yards, LB AJ Tarpley with a team leading eight tackles and a pass breakup.

The Bills have to reduce their roster to 53 by 4 pm Saturday.  

How it went down:--The Bills defense made the first change to the scoreboard when Merrill Noel drilled Lions WR Jeremy Ross after he made the catch popping the ball free. Ron Brooks took the ball out of mid-air for an 81-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:16 left in the opening quarter (7-0).

--Detroit answered on the next possession with a field goal drive. The 49-yard march was largely gained on a 36-yard pass interference penalty. Matt Prater hit from 41 yards away just 10 seconds into the second quarter (7-3).

--The Lions took a lead after Matt Simms lost a fumble on a loose exchange from center for a turnover. Detroit QB Kellen Moore beat an all-out blitz with a quick slant throw to T.J. Jones, who got vertical quickly and went 64 yards to the end zone. The touchdown gave Detroit their first lead of the game with five minutes left in the first half (10-7).

--Matt Simms led a two-minute drill drive that led to a 43-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter with 41 seconds left in the half to send the teams to the locker room tied at 10.

--Detroit added a second touchdown off a wayward Simms pass that went backward and was recovered by the Lions. Zach Zenner capped the eight-play, 37-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run with 10:19 for the final points of the game.

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Subplots: **Matt Simms got the start at quarterback and went 22-38 passing for 223 yards, but was plagued by three turnovers all of which came on fumbles. Two came on loose center to quarterback exchanges. The third came when he was spun down by a defender as he tried to throw. The ball went backwards and was live and the Lions recovered.

Dan Carpenter's struggles on field goal attempts continued. The veteran kicker was good on a 43-yarder in the first half, but a 40-yard attempt in the second half clanged off the right upright and was no good. Carpenter missed three field goals, all from 40-yards or more and an extra point in the preseason.

Buffalo's defense was once again stout against the run and on third down. Detroit had just 46 yards on the ground in the game and was 2-for-12 on third down conversions. The Lions averaged 1.8 yards per carry. 

RB Bryce Brown got the start at running back on offense, his first action since the preseason opener. He had nine carries for 37 yards.

CB Ron Brooks had an 81-yard interception return for a touchdown, and made some other plays on defense including a tackle for loss on a screen play.  

P Colton Schmidt looked strong on directional punts and had a gross average of better than 54 (54.2) with two downed inside the 20.

Quotes from the locker room"We watched plenty of film on them and we knew kind of what was going to happen and what they liked to do in that down and distance. Merrill made a great play and stayed with it until the end and get his hand in there and get the ball out. And as far as me I was just in the right place at the right time. A lot of green grass all the way. I didn't play around with it, just got it and took it in."
--CB Ron Brooks on his INT return for TD

"Things like that at this level of the game just can't happen. I'm the quarterback and it starts with me and ends with me. It was just unfortunate because on two of those occasions we were moving the ball really well. We were dictating to them and kind of keeping the pace the way we wanted to and pushing them around on the offensive line and in critical situations that just can't happen."
*--QB Matt Simms on the three lost fumbles


"One thing I'm happy about is we've got a hell of a roster. We've got a good football team and the guys that are going to be on this team are going to earn their way on there. That's a good thing whether it's the 53-man roster and the 10 guys who are practice squad, I feel pretty good about that. We've pretty much got everything we had there."
--Head coach Rex Ryan

Inactives:WR Robert Woods, WR Chris Hogan, WR Percy Harvin, CB Stephon Gilmore, RB LeSean McCoy, RB Boobie Dixon, RB Karlos Williams, LB Tony Steward, WR Deonte Thompson, TE Charles Clay, WR Marquise Goodwin, DE Mario Williams, DT Marcell Dareus.

Up next:The Bills open the regular season on Sept. 13th when they host the Indianapolis Colts for a 1 pm kickoff.

Photos of all the action from 2015 preseason Week 4: Lions vs. Bills.

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