Live blog: Rudock, Lions D crush Bills in preseason finale
As far as the fourth game of the preseason goes, it doesn't get much better than this if you're a Detroit Lions fan.
Jake Rudock shined for three quarters in leading the Lions to a 31-0 victory, and the defensive line hassled the Buffalo quarterbacks from the outset, pitching a shutout with some inspired play among guys still fighting to earn a spot with this team.
Rudock tossed three touchdowns while going 14-for-23 through the air for 171 yards. He was on point in the short passing game, especially on slant passes, hitting his receivers on perfectly timed routes for long gains. He also showed that he can tuck the ball and run when a play breaks down, picking up two first downs and 33 yards on two carries.
Dan Orlovsky started the game, going 5-for-10 for 42 yards.
The defensive line was something else. It racked up four sacks (three by Kerry Hyder) and nine tackles for loss, harassing E.J. Manuel and Cardale Jones with regularity. The Buffalo offense totaled just 170 yards on the night and appeared ready to get this game over with as quickly as possible.
Rudock does it again
Jake Rudock took another broken play and turned it into a 16-yard gain and a first down at the Buffalo 24. George Winn followed with a 10-yard run. Winn worked the ball inside the five with a couple of more runs and Rudock hit Andrew Fuehne from five yards out for his third touchdown pass of the night.
Oh look, the defense made another play
The Bills got the ball all the way down to the Lions 18-yard-line, but on this night, this defensive unit is thinking shutout to finish off the preseason. A'Shawn Robinson batted the ball in the air and Brandon Copeland came down with the interception, returning it all the way down to the Buffalo 40.
Rudock and Billingsley team up for big drive
If quarterbacking were nothing but throwing slant passes, Jake Rudock might be the next Tom Brady. After hitting Jay Lee for a big play on a perfectly timed slant in the first half, Rudock put one right on the numbers for Jace Billingsley, allowing his receiver to reel off a
Two plays later, Rudock showed off his other attractive asset, pulling the ball when the pocket collapsed and scrambling for 17 yards inside the Bills 10-yard-line. After a penalty pushed the Lions back, George Winn got the offense back down to the 10 for third down, where Rudock found Billingsley, who made a ridiculous one-handed catch for the touchdown to give the Lions a 24-0 lead.
Rudock is 13-for-21 for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
Billingsley has seven receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown to lead the Lions in receiving.
Shutout intact after Bills cross midfield
After allowing Cardale Jones to lead the Bills into Lions territory, it appeared the defense had buckled down and forced another punt to keep the shutout intact. Unfortunately for the Lions, a hands-to-the-face penalty on Alex Carter on third down negated a third Kerry Hyder sack and kept the defense on the field.
The Lions were able to force a 4th-and-5 that Buffalo appeared to pick up, but an offensive pass interference killed the momentum for the Bills. Jones had hit tight end Nick O'Leary for a big play down to the 10-yard-line, but that was brought back.
Jones hit passes of 11 and 14 yards to start the drive.
Defense keeps foot on the pedal
The Lions defensive line started the second half with the same intensity it played with for the entire first half, pressuring Bills quarterback Cardale Jones and forcing a three-and-out to get the ball back to its offense.
It's worth noting how hard these guys are playing tonight. If they bring this kind of attitude to the regular season, the Lions may finally be building the quality depth that this team has been starved for for years.
Zenner and Rudock power Lions before the half
After forcing a three-and-out by the Bills offense, Jake Rudock got a chance to run the two-minute drill from good field position at the Lions 43-yard-line.
After a pass interference call moved the ball to the other side of midfield, Zach Zenner reeled off a seven-yard run and Rudock hit newly-signed Quinshad Davis for a 13-yard gain down to the 25. After back-to-back incompletions, Rudock found Zenner on a short pass for 11 yards. After two more incompletions, it was Zenner who saved Rudock's bacon once again, taking a short screen, breaking a tackle and moving the offense down to the two-yard-line with 27 seconds to play in the half. That was all Rudock needed, finding Jay Lee on the very next play for a touchdown that puts the Lions up 17-0 heading into the half.
Rudock was 8-for-14 for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
Lions can't capitalize after big play
With the Lions pinned deep for the second consecutive possession, Jake Rudock hit Jay Lee in perfect stride with a quick slant pass that for 29 yards that got the offense out of the shadow of its own end zone.
Facing 4th-and-1 from near midfield, the Lions opted to go for it for the third time tonight. Once again, however, a pre-snap penalty (false start) forced a punt.
A little Buckeye flavor
Former Ohio State comrades Cardale Jones and Daniel "Boom" Herron worked some Buckeye magic to get into Lions territory. On third down, Jones pulled the ball and ran seven yards to pick up a first down and Herron followed with a 17-yard run up the middle to put the Bills in business. The Lions defense was game, however, forcing a punt that has pinned the Lions offense deep at the seven-yard-line.
Bills can't handle the pressure
E.J. Manuel isn't having fun right now.
Anthony Zettel sacked Manuel, Caraun Reid stuffed a rush attempt from Daniel Herron for a three-yard loss and Kerry Hyder racked delivered his second sack of the night to send the Bills offense packing on its latest possession. Each sack saw a strong push from the defensive line that overwhelmed the Buffalo offensive line and swallowed Manuel up with authority.
The defensive line has the most competition for playing time and roster spots heading into Saturday's cuts, so these guys have definitely come to play tonight.
Orlovsky out, Rudock in
Jake Rudock got his first action of the game and hit on two short passes, but the Lions offense was forced to punt after coming up just short of the sticks on a possession that started inside its own five-yard-line.
Lions offense stalls in Buffalo territory
The Lions offense picked up two first downs and were able to get into Buffalo territory, but that's where things stalled as Dan Orlovsky's pass came up short of Andre Roberts, who appeared to be short of the line to gain.
Orlovsky is 5-for-10 for 42 yards.
Defensive line shows up
After giving up a first down to more traditional offensive formation from the Bills, the Lions defensive line pinned its ears back and was able to push Buffalo backwards, ending the series with an emphatic sack by Kerry Hyder.
Lions extend lead on Prater field goal
The Lions turned Buffalo's gift of good field position by running a real NFL offense and converting it into three points on a 45-yard Matt Prater field goal that gives the Lions a 10-0 lead with 7:58 to play in the first quarter.
The Lions picked up a fourth down early in the drive as Dan Orlovsky found Jace Billingsley for a five-yard gain on 4th-and-3.
Buffalo runs wishbone
The Bills came out on their first offensive possession running the wishbone offense, something television commentator and former Lions linebacker Chris Speilman said he hasn't seen since high school. Spielman blasted Bills coach Rex Ryan, saying that this isn't something Buffalo will run during the season and Ryan is just trying to get out of town. The Bills further proved Spielman's point by going for it on fourth down from their side of the 50 and getting stuffed by the Lions defensive line.
The Lions defensive backs aren't likely to get any good opportunities for some live-action coverage tonight.
Washington takes it to the house
Dwayne Washington continued his stellar preseason play by reeling off a 58-yard touchdown on the third play of the game to give the Lions an early 7-0 lead with 14:06 to play in the first quarter.
The Lions received the opening kickoff and Jace Billingsley brought it out to the 28. Dan Orlovsky got the start for the Lions and hit Jay Lee with a quick-hitter for a 14-yard gain to get things started.
All eyes on Rudock in preseason finale
Though the preseason finale doesn't bring much fanfare with it, there is still some ongoing intrigue as to whether sixth round draft pick Jake Rudock will make the 53-man roster to open the season.
The Lions are probably going to keep Dan Orlovsky around, mostly because he's Jim Caldwell's boy, but they would be well-served to keep around a young quarterback that could potentially grow into a serviceable backup behind Matthew Stafford.
Rudock should see his share of the snaps tonight. Last season, the Lions didn't even play Orlovsky much in the preseason finale, but I suspect hill get some run tonight. He's still got a lot to prove, and when Lions fans are clamoring for the rookie from Michigan to head into the season as Stafford's main backup, well, then that's a problem.