The Detroit Lions' dismal offense went from bad to worse in a 14-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday.
In his first game in the NFL, fourth-string running back Keith Ford iced the game for Buffalo in the fourth quarter and finished with 46 yards on 14 carries; rookie receiver Robert Foster had a career-high 108 receiving yards plus a touchdown; rookie quarterback Josh Allen threw averaged more than 15 yards per completion.
Meanwhile, the Lions stopped throwing to Kenny Golladay after he pulled down a single-game career-best 115 yards receiving in the first half, and opted for draw plays and throws in the flat while facing a fourth-quarter deficit.
DET - Matthew Stafford: 22/29, 208 yds., TD
BUF - Josh Allen: 13/26, 204 yds., TD
DET - Theo Riddick: 8 atts., 47 yds.
BUF - Keith Ford: 14 atts., 46 yds.
DET - Kenny Golladay: 7 recs., 146 yds.
BUF - Robert Foster: 4 recs., 108 yds., TD
Bills ice game with series of first downs
Keith Ford is tackled by Kerry Hyder after a 1-yard gain on first down.
Timeout #2 Detroit (2:46 4th)
Josh Allen completes a 25-yard pass to Jason Croom on the next play, giving Buffalo a first down at midfield.
Ford rushes for 3 yards on first down.
Timeout #3 Detroit (2:33 4th)
Allen is brought down after a gain of 1 on second down.
Jarrad Davis is flagged for jumping offsides on third-and-7. It'll be third-and-2, now.
Timeout #1 Buffalo (1:56 4th)
Allen pitches to Ford, who barely gets to the edge for a pickup of the first down. The play is now under review, as it appeared that Ford may have been short of the marker before stepping out-of-bounds.
After review, Ford has been ruled short of the sticks.
Buffalo goes for it on fourth-and-inches, and Allen sneaks across for a first down. The Lions have no timeouts remaining, so this one's pretty much over, pending a few successful kneel-downs.
Bills 14, Lions 13 (FINAL)
Lions' offense continues to sink
Matthew Stafford completes a 3-yard pass to Kenny Golladay on first down. Theo Riddick is tackled for a 2-yard loss by Jordan Poyer on second down, setting up third-and-9. Oy. Jim Bob Cooter draws up a pass in the flat to noted speedster Levine Toilolo on third down; he's tackled after a gain of 2. The Lions will punt.
Isaiah McKenzie calls for a fair catch at the 24.
Bills 14, Lions 13 (2:50 4th)
Huge three-and-out gives Lions ball back
After Prater's missed field goal, Buffalo takes over at the 40.
Keith Ford rushes up the. middle for 2 yards on first down. Josh Allen has nowhere to go with the ball on second down, and he opts to just float it into the sideline. Allen holds onto the ball for almost 10 seconds before getting rid of it, and his eventual pass is almost picked off by Nevin Lawson.
TJ Jones returns Matt Darr's punt to the Detroit 30.
Bills 14, Lions 13 (4:41 4th)
Rare Prater miss keeps Lions down by 1
The Lions will start at the 25 after a touchback.
Zach Zenner makes a move to pick up 5 yards on a first-down reception. Zenner hits the hole with speed for an 11-yard gain on second down, giving Detroit a new set of downs at the 41.
The Lions continue to move the ball downfield with a steady run diet. Theo Riddick rushes for a gain of 4 on first down. Matthew Stafford drops back after faking the handoff, throws through a crowd of defenders' hands, and puts the ball right on Kenny Golladay's chest for a 20-yard gain that'll make it first-and-10 at the Buffalo 35.
Zenner rushes for 2 yards on first down. Stafford's completion to Zenner on second down yields not one iota of positive yardage, setting up third-and-8. Stafford throws a screen pass to Brandon Powell for a gain of 3 yards, and Matt Prater will have a decent shot at regaining the lead.
Prater's 48-yard field-goal attempt is no good. The Lions still trail by one.
Bills 14, Lions 13 (5:50 4th)
Bills take fourth-quarter lead with touchdown pass
Keith Ford gets to the 40-yard-line with a 1-yard gain on first down. Josh Allen throws to Zay Jones deep down the left sideline on second down; Jones draws a pass interference call on Slay during the incomplete pass attempt. The Bills will have a first down at the Detroit 37.
Buffalo is flagged for an ineligble downfield pass on first down, making it first-and-15. Allen completes a 42-yard pass to Robert Foster on the next play for a Buffalo touchdown. The successful extra point gives the Bills the lead.
Bills 14, Lions 13 (10:26 4th)
Lions go three-and-out (again)
LeGarrette Blount is dropped for a loss of 3 by Shaq Lawson on first down. Matthew Stafford's throw over the middle to TJ Jones on second down is nearly picked off by Lorenzo Alexander and falls incomplete. Theo Riddick's 5-yard reception on third down isn't enough to move the chains, and Detroit will give it right back.
Sam Martin's punt is returned by Isaiah McKenzie for no gain at the Buffalo 39.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (11:43 4th)
"Big Play" Slay forces three-and-out in pass coverage
Buffalo takes over at the 25.
Josh Allen throws deep to Deonte Thompson over the middle on first down, but the pass is just beyond the intended target, as a sprawling Thompson isn't able to come down with it. Darius Slay makes a play on Allen's next two throws, forcing consecutive incompletions.
Quandre Diggs shakes and bakes on the punt return, but a holding penalty will give the Lions starting field position at its own 18.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (13:25 4th)
Lions' fourth-quarter drive stalls at midfield
Matthew Stafford hits Kenny Golladay near the left sideline for a 7-yard completion on first down. Zach Zenner takes the handoff on second down, and he's stopped 1 yard short of the line to gain. Zenner picks up the first down with a gain of 4 yards.
Levine Toilolo makes a terrific catch over the middle on first down, picking up 18 yards another Lions' first down at the 44.
Theo Riddick rushes for 6 yards on first down, and that'll do it for the third quarter.
Lions 13, Bills 6 (End 3rd)
Lorenzo Alexander swarms to Zenner after he catches a screen pass and slams into the Detroit back for a loss of 5. Stafford has TJ Jones open in the seam on third down, but he overthrows Jones by a few feet, and the Lions will be forced to punt.
Sam Martin's punt goes for a touchback.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (14:02 4th)
Lions come up with fourth-down stop in red zone
Buffalo takes over at the 36.
Keith Ford tumbles ahead for a gain of 7 yards on first down. Ford moves the chains with a 5-yard run on second down.
Josh Allen fakes the handoff, rolls left, and throws an incomplete pass on the run to Deonte Thompson. Robert Foster is targeted while heading toward the sideline; he appears to have bobbled the throw while going out-of-bounds, but it's ruled a catch.
Challenge: Matt Patricia has challenged the ruling on the field that the second-down pass was caught by Foster. After review, the ruling on the field stands. It'll be first-and-10 at the Detroit 21.
Ray-Ray McCloud catches a 7-yard pass on first down. Keith Ford is stopped by Romeo Okwara and Christian Jones for no gain on second down. Allen holds onto the ball far too long in a run-option play, and he's swallowed up by Damon Harrison for a 1-yard gain on third down.
Injury: Keith Ford was hurt on the play and is helped off the field by the training staff.
Buffalo is going for it on fourth down. Allen's pocket collapses and he tries to scramble; A'Shawn Robinson swats the ball from Allen's hands, and while the ball is recovered by Buffalo, it's short of the first-down marker. Detroit ball at the 13.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (3:19 3rd)
Lions go three-and-out
LeGarrette Blount rushes for 6 yards on first down. Matthew Stafford completes a 3-yard pass to Brandon Powell on second down, setting up third-and-1. Stafford's screen pass to Blount on third down is batted down at the line by Shaq Lawson.
Sam Martin's punt is fielded by Isaiah McKenzie, who downs himself with an apparent injury at the Buffalo 36 after a 10-yard return. McKenzie is carted off the field following the play.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (6:57 3rd)
Bills passing game hampers Ford's rushing effort
Keith Ford reaches the 22-yard-line on first down with a 9-yard run up the middle and moves the chains with a 3-yard run on second down.
Now Keith Ford is keeping things moving in the passing game, pulling in a 7-yard reception from Josh Allen on first down. Ford keeps the sticks moving with a 5-yard run up the middle on the next play.
Ford is dropped by Damon Harrison after a gain of 2 on first down. Patrick DiMarco gets his first carry of the game and rushes for 9 yards to pick up a first down.
Isaiah McKenzie gets nothing with the jet sweep on first-and-10 from the 48, getting tackled by Nevin Lawson for no gain. Allen is forced to throw it away with Christian Jones barreling down the Buffalo quarterback's sightline on second down. Allen floats an incomplete pass over the head of Zay Jones on third down.
Matt Darr's punt is fair caught by TJ Jones at the Detroit 10.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (8:07 3rd)
Lions punt on first drive of second half
Detroit will start the half at its 25 after a touchback.
Matthew Stafford completes a 5-yard pass to Andy Jones on first down. Zach Zenner finds the weak-side edge on second down, and rips off a 17-yard run to reach the 47-yard-line.
Stafford is forced to throw it away under pressure on the next play. On second down, Theo Riddick catches a screen pass and jukes his way to a 4-yard gain. Riddick can't come down with Stafford's third-down pass, and the Lions will kick it away.
Sam Martin's punt is fair caught at the 13.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (13:05 3rd)
First half leaders
DET - Matthew Stafford: 9/11, 137 yds., TD
BUF - Josh Allen: 9/14, 99 yds.
DET - Theo Riddick: 5 atts., 39 yds.
BUF - Marcus Murphy: 11 atts., 35 yds.
DET - Kenny Golladay: 4 recs., 115 yds.
BUF - Isaiah McKenzie: 6 recs., 53 yds.
Lions go into half with lead over Bills
Josh Allen rushes for a gain of 10 yards on first down.
Allen completes a 2-yard pass to Isaiah McKenzie on the next play, making it second-and-8 from the 25. Allen throws deep to Zay Jones down the left sideline on second down, and Darius Slay stands tall in coverage to knock his pass to the turf. Keith Ford rushes up the middle for 5 yards on third down, and that'll end the half.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (End 2nd)
Lions waste chance to extend lead before half
Theo Riddick rushes for 11 yards on first down.
Matthew Stafford completes consecutive passes to tight end Levine Toilolo, a 5-yard completion on first down and a 3-yard completion on second down. On third-and-2, the Lions run an innovative draw play that results in a 2-yard loss by Theo Riddick.
Timeout #2 Buffalo (1:06 2nd)
Tracy Walker throws Micah Hyde to the turf immediately upon fielding the punt, and Buffalo will get it at the 13.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (0:57 2nd)
Lions force another Bills punt near end of half
Sam Martin's kick goes for a touchback.
Josh Allen completes a 16-yard pass to Isaiah McKenzie on first down.
Marcus Murphy rushes for 3 yards on the next play. Murphy goes down with an injury. It probably isn't wise to speculate on what the injury is, but his arm looks like a boiled ramen noodle, so you can draw your own conclusions.
Allen drops back on second down, and with nowhere to go with it, is forced to throw it away with Devon Kennard in hot pursuit. Allen's deep throw to Robert Foster on third-and-7 falls incomplete.
TJ Jones calls for a fair catch on the punt at Detroit's 18.
Lions 13, Bills 6 (2:21 2nd)
Zenner touchdown gives Lions lead back
TJ Jones returns the kickoff to Buffalo's 23.
Matthew Stafford's throw to Kenny Golladay on first down is behind his receiver, and falls incomplete after bouncing off Golladay's hand. Stafford is forced to throw his second-down throw away under pressure.
Stafford throws an incomplete pass to Golladay on third down, but each teams receive a penalty, and they'll re-play the down. Golladay somehow rips Stafford's throw away from Levi Wallace, and his 24-yard reception gives the Lions a first down at Detroit's 47.
Theo Riddick rushes up the middle for 2 yards on first down. LeGarrette Blount gets stopped for a gain of 1 up the middle on second down. It's another third-and-long, and Stafford chucks it up to Golladay with a hand in his face once again. Golladay comes down with it, and this one's good for 40 yards. It'll be first-and-10 from the Buffalo 10.
Stafford barely gets the handoff off to Zach Zenner on first down, but Zenner plows ahead for 6 yards. Zenner gets the ball again on second down and gets into the end zone with a four-yard carry.
Officials review the play, and it's overturned. It'll be third-and-goal from the 1.
Zenner finishes the job and gets the touchdown with the help of Joe Dahl at fullback.
Lions 13, Bills 7 (3:46 2nd)
Bills quickly gain lead with Allen touchdown run
Isaiah McKenzie gets a little aggressive with the kick return, and he's taken down by the man who just put the Lions on top, Andy Jones, at the 13-yard-line after an 8-yard return.
Marcus Murphy rushes for a yard on first down. Josh Allen completes an 11-yard throw to McKenzie on second down, giving the Bills a new set of downs at the 25.
Allen goes play-action and fires over the middle to Robert Foster on the next play, picking up 28 yards. Foster beat rookie cornerback Mike Ford on the route, and was pretty wide open by the time Allen found him.
Allen steps back and throws deep to foster again with Ford in coverage, this time on a flag route, and Ford is forced to take a pass interference penalty to prevent Foster from coming down with a touchdown pass. The Bills have a first down at Detroit's 4-yard-line.
Murphy gains a yard on first down before getting dropped by Jarrad Davis.
That's Davis' eighth tackle of the game, and we're not even halfway through the second quarter.
Allen has all day to survey the field, and when eventually pushed from the pocket, Allen leaves Davis in the dust on his way to a 3-yard touchdown run.
Buffalo takes the lead with a successful extra-point attempt.
Bills 7, Lions 6 (7:55 2nd)
Jones' first career touchdown gives Lions second-quarter lead
LeGarrette Blount rushes for a gain of 2 yards on first down to end the opening quarter.
Lions 0, Bills 0 (End 1st)
Detroit opens the quarter with a second-and-8 situation. Matthew Stafford takes the snap from the shotgun, throws off his back foot with the Bills in press coverage, and drops a dime to Kenny Golladay down the sideline for a 31-yard gain that'll give the Lions a first down at Buffalo's 42.
Brandon Powell rushes for 4 yards on first down.
Timeout #1 Buffalo (14:01 2nd)
Stafford pitches to Theo Riddick, who turns on the jets and gets to the edge for a 7-yard gain before getting pushed out-of-bounds at the 31 and giving Detroit another first down.
Stafford takes another hit as the throws an incomplete pass to Levine Toilolo on first down. Trent Murphy is flagged for being offsides, however, making it first-and-5.
Blount picks up 4 yards on first down. Riddick hits a hole, makes a couple nice moves and gets all the way down to the Buffalo 3-yard-line with a terrific 19-yard run.
Blount gets the handoff up the middle on the next two plays. To everyone's surprise, they're not productive attempts. He loses a yard on first down and is stopped for no gain on second down. Stafford throws a perfect ball to Andy Jones in the end zone on third down, and Jones' first career touchdown gives the Lions a lead.
The extra-point snap was muffed, and Sam Martin is forced to throw it away.
Lions 6, Bills 0 (10:45 2nd)
Lions' defense keeping Allen and Co. in check
Buffalo takes over at the 14.
Marcus Murphy gets 3 yards on a first-down carry, and then picks up 5 yards on second down to set up a manageable third-and-2. Josh Allen completes a strike to Robert Foster in the flat, and that 7-yard completion will give the Bills a first down at the 29.
Jarrad Davis continues his emergence as a force to be reckoned with by taking Murphy down for a 4-yard loss on first down. Allen completes a throw to Zay Jones for an 11-yard gain on the next play. Allen is flushed from the pocket on third down, and gets off a throw while streaking toward the sideline that's nearly intercepted by Glover Quin.
Matt Darr's punt is fair caught by TJ Jones at the Detroit 25.
Lions 0, Bills 0 (0:11 1st)
Zenner gets start at running back for Detroit
Lions fans rejoice; it's the moment you've all been waiting for since Kerryon Johnson went down with a knee injury: Zach Zenner is starting at running back for Detroit.
Zenner rushes for 2 yards on first down. Mathew Stafford's pocket closes in a hurry on second down, but he's able to get off a throw to Kenny Golladay that's complete for a 20-yard gain. He gets taken down by Lorenzo Alexander, and shakes off some dust while heading down the field.
Zenner is dropped for a loss of 2 on a draw play. Apparently, the unsuccessful nature of those draw plays are not dependent on the personnel running them. Stafford completes a shovel pass to Brandon Powell on second down, and Powell gets 5 yards. Stafford kicks it to TJ Jones on a wide receiver screen on third-and-7, but despite Jones' best effort, he's stopped short of the sticks. Detroit will kick it away.
Sam Martin's punt is fair caught at the 14-yard-line.
Lions 0, Bills 0 (3:55 1st)
Kennard comes up big in Lions' territory to force punt
Buffalo will receive the opening kick. Isaiah McKenzie's return is called back to the 19-yard-line after an illegal block.
Marcus Murphy, making his first career start, rushes for 5 yards on first down. He gets the handoff and second down and picks up 4. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen sneaks it up the middle and picks up a new set of downs with a 1-yard run.
Now Keith Ford gets the first carry of his career, picking up 3 yards with a first-down run. Allen fires it complete to McKenzie for a gain of 4 on second down and picks up the first down with a 7-yard connection to McKenzie on the next play. It'll be first-and-10 at the 43.
The Bills go back to Murphy on the next two plays. He emerges from a scrum up the middle on first down and goes down after a again of 9, and on second down, Murphy gashes the Lions' defense for 7 yards. The Bills have a first down in Detroit territory.
McKenzie catches a screen pass, makes a few nice cuts, and gets 13 yards before getting pushed out-of-bounds by Darius Slay at the Detroit 28.
Detroit linebacker Devon Kennard gets into the backfield and forces Allen to fire it away on first down. Murphy is stuffed after a gain of 1 on second down, setting up second-and-9 from the 27. Kennard tears through a blocker and wraps up Allen for a loss of 9 yards, pushing the Bills out of field-goal range.
That's Kennard's seventh sack of the season.
Matt Darr's punt goes into the end zone for a touchback.
Lions 0, Bills 0 (7:27 1st)
The Detroit Lions will try to make it two wins in a row on Sunday in a 1 p.m. matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Follow the action with live updates throughout the game by Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News.
Living on a prayer
The Lions can keep their slim playoff hopes alive with a win over Buffalo on Sunday. Per Bob Wojnowski, one predictive formula has the Lions' playoff chances as high as 17 percent, should they win their remaining three games.
Lions: Running back Kerryon Johnson, fullback Nick Bellore, safety Charles Washington, tackle Rick Wagner, defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand, wide receiver Bruce Ellington and defensive back Marcus Cooper are inactive for Detroit.
Rookie offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby is making his first career start and cornerback Teez Tabor is active for the first time in a month.
Bills: Quarterback Derek Anderson, running backs LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory, defensive backs Ryan Lewis and Dean Marlowe and tight end Logan Thomas are inactive for Buffalo.
LIONS VS. BILLS
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, New Era Field, Orchard Park, N,Y.
TV/radio: FOX/760 AM
Records: Lions 5-8, Bills 4-9
Line: Buffalo by 2