Detroit Lions 38, Buffalo Bills 32 (box score)
Lions fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The fourth and final preseason game is over and the Lions emerged without any significant injuries. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson played just long enough to connect for a touchdown and Mikel Leshoure was able to handle a heavy load, primarily in the first half, and came out of it no worse for the wear.
The overall goal of the final preseason game is to avoid injury but there were a couple things worth noting.
- Despite not always getting the help from his receivers he deserves, Kellen Moore played his best game of the preseason against the Bills. The 56.7% completion percentage (17 of 31 passing) isn’t anything to write home about but that number could have been much better if not for a few drops. Was it enough to make the 53-man roster? I’m not sure it was but I wouldn’t be shocked either way.
- Fans should feel more comfortable with Mikel Leshoure after this performance. He didn’t have a lot of room to run but made the most out of every opportunity with some nice moves in the backfield and driving through contact. If there was a yard to be had, Leshoure got it. The Lions have struggled in short yardage situations for quite some time but it looks like Leshoure has what it takes to increase their success rate. He displayed power and agility and his abilities in the passing game.
- I’ll go out on a limb and call the punter battle in favor of Ben Graham. He got three opportunities to Ryan Donahue‘s two and while he had another punt brought back for a big return, as has been a problem for him, he looks like the candidate that offers the Lions the most consistency. Graham placed his final punt just out of the field of play to totally negate any opportunity for a return. Without the big returns earlier in the preseason this battle may have already been won.
- Jonte Green shows up prominently in the box score thanks to an interception returned for a touchdown but his up and down play throughout the game is likely to drive the coaches nuts. He looks like a prospect worth investing in but not currently worth of a place on a 53-man roster. I don’t expect Green to survive the final cut but the Lions should make a priority of signing him to the practice squad.
- It was an inauspicious start for the Lions defense but it wasn’t the team’s full compliment of first teamers. Still, the defense stiffened after that first drive and finished out the first half much better.