The defense had some mental mistakes early on and the Lions were never really a threat to win their final preseason game of the season as they fell to the Bills in Buffalo, 27-17.
The Lions committed seven penalties for 53 yards, with most of those coming from the makeshift defensive line on the field in the first quarter.
The offense turned in a vanilla performance (what else would you expect in the final preseason game?). Jake Rudock played the entire first half, going 6-for-9 for 41 yards, while Brad Kaaya played the entire second half. The rookie went 12-for-20 for 182 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Kaaya can thank rookie running back Tion Green for padding his stats, as the thumper took a screen pass 74 yards to the house in the fourth quarter. Green led the Lions in rushing (8 carries, 63 yards) and receiving (4 receptions, 87 yards).
Most importantly, the Lions got out of this game without any injuries and can now turn their attention to trimming their roster to 53 on Saturday. After that, it'll be a week of preparation when they open up the season against the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field.
Kaaya throws second TD of the preseason
Brad Kaaya made the most of his opportunity to work out of the shotgun late in tonight's game, engineering a 8-play, 79-yard drive that was capped by a 13-yard touchdown throw to Dontez Ford.
The Lions let Kaaya sling the rock around a bit, and the rookie out of Miami went 7-for-8 for 79 yards. The touchdown pass was Kaaya's second of the night and third of the preseason. His first also went to Ford in the team's first preseason game in Indianapolis.
Lions rookie Green makes a big play
Tion Green took a screen pass from Brad Kaaya and turned it into an entertaining 74-yard touchdown to cut the Lions deficit to 27-10 with 7:41 remaining.
Green danced through the Buffalo defense, making several defenders miss before reversing field to get through the secondary and finish off the play.
Green isn't going to make the Lions final roster, but he has shown a nice combination of power and vision to warrant a spot on the practice squad.
Bills running away from Lions
Jordan Johnson capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown that puts Buffalo up 27-3 with 9:34 remaining in the final game of the preseason.
Johnson rushed seven times for 36 yards on the drive, while Taiwan Jones got the Bills into Lions territory with a big 39-yard gain.
Kaaya picked off in the end zone
Brad Kaaya had engineered a pretty good drive getting the Lions down inside the Buffalo 10. He made the rookie mistake of staring down his receiver in the back of the end zone and was intercepted by Greg Mabin.
Prior to the interception, Kaaya was 3-for-3 for 28 yards on a drive that was aided by a 15-yard personal foul call on the Bills.
Buffalo still leads, 20-3, with 28 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Bills add to lead
Joe Banyard was off to the races on the second play of Buffalo's opening drive of the second half, reeling off a 40-yard run to get the Bills down to the Lions 33. After Keith Wenning hit on a couple short passes to get the Bills near the goal line, Banyard was able to punch it in from a yard out to give Buffalo a 20-3 lead with 6:36 remaining in the third quarter.
The Lions have given up 125 yards on the ground.
Kaaya in, Lions punt to start second half
Brad Kaaya is out to start the second half at quarterback for the Lions, but after two run plays netted negative two yards to start the drive, Kaaya was sacked and the Lions were forced to punt to open the second half.
Lions add a field goal late in first half
Tion Green was able to rush for 20 yards and Jake Rudock hit on a couple short passes to get the Lions into field goal range, as Matt Prater got the Lions on the board with a 53-yard field goal that cut the Bills lead to 13-3 with 1:59 remaining in the first half.
Rudock has managed the game well. He's 6-for-9 for 41 yards.
Green leads the Lions in rushing with five carries for 23 yards.
It's been a rather uninspired performance in the first half, as the Lions appear content to run a vanilla offense and just get through this game.
Refs lend the Bills a helping hand
Pat O'Connor was called for his second penalty of the night when he was flagged for unnecessary roughness on quarterback Keith Wenning. That call was extremely questionable, as O'Connor hit Wenning in the chest and didn't appear to drive him unnecessarily into the ground. The penalty came on third down and got the Bills across midfield. That's when the Lions defense went to work, getting a good push on fourth-and-inches and apparently stopping Buffalo from getting a first down inside the red zone. The initial spot gave Wenning the first down, but the Lions challenged and should have won, as Wenning was clearly short of the line to gain. The Lions were annoyed, forcing Buffalo off the field three plays later.
Steven Hauschka added a 45-yard field goal to make it 13-0 with 10:26 to play in the second quarter.
The Bills came away with points, but in reality, the Lions defense had a pretty good possession. The Bills only meaningful yards came on a penalty that should have never been called, and after being given another gift via review, they went backwards.
Abbrederis fumbles away Lions possession
It's no secret that the Lions fifth receiver spot is a competition between Jace Billingsley and Jared Abbrederis.
Well, after this last possession, Billingsley is probably liking his chances.
Abbrederis came across the middle and caught a pass from Jake Rudock before coughing up a fumble near midfield that the Bills recovered.
One play earlier, Rudock scrambled for eight yards on third down to keep the drive alive.
Bills running all over Lions early on
The Lions defensive line committed two neutral zone infractions on this drive to go with the one they already committed on the game's opening drive. Following the penalties, the Lions shoddy tackling in the open field allowed Jonathan Williams to reel off a 21-yard touchdown that puts the Bills up 10-0 with 2:52 remaining in the first quarter.
Alex Barrett has been responsible for two of the neutral zone infractions.
Lions go three-and-out on opening drive
Matt Asiata was able to put the Lions in a good position on third down with two rushes for eight yards, but Noel Thomas wasn't able to reel in a pass in from Jake Rudock into good coverage and the Lions were forced to punt on their opening drive.
Bills settle for field goal on opening drive
The Lions aren't playing any starters tonight, but coach Jim Caldwell still can't be happy with how the first defensive possession of the game went.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin was able to break up a pass on third-and-short to force a 30-yard Steven Hauschka field goal, but the Lions defense still looked porous against the Bills reserves.
Buffalo quarterback Nathan Peterman was on the mark, going 6-for-7 through the air for 47 yards. Jonathan Williams rushed four times for 18 yards.
Though these aren't starters on the field, some of these are still guys that are going to make the team. I'm sure Caldwell was looking for a bit more from them at the outset tonight.
With 8:27 remaining in the first quarter, the Bills lead 3-0.
LIONS VS. BILLS
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Where: New Era Field, Orchard Park, N.Y.
TV/radio: Fox 2/WJR 760
Records: Lions 2-1, Bills 0-3