Detroit Lions: How the Bills game could have been far worse
By Robert Jones
The Detroit Lions did play their starters against the Buffalo Bills on Friday. Luckily the consequences won’t be as bad as it looked.
The Detroit Lions played their dress rehearsal against the Buffalo Bills on Friday night in front of a home crowd that was waiting to see if Matthew Stafford would finally take the field.
The concern of many was that Matt Patricia and his staff were keeping Stafford out of game action because of a lingering injury from last season. Ironically enough, he was as healthy as he claimed to be, but by games end, several players on both teams were not.
The Lions fell to 0-3 in the exhibition season, while the Bills kept themselves undefeated. If you only saw the final seconds of the clock running out or the scoreboard afterward, that gave you the bottom line on the game itself, but there was much more to take out of it than that.
Matthew Stafford took the field with the starting offense and showed a couple of things. One is that he is obviously healthy. Stafford did his job pretty well, but for any offense to play at a high level, it takes every man in the huddle doing his job well for it to work.
That leads to the next observation, the starting unit needed the work. The Lions offense came out a little sluggish and out of sync. For a team that added some new pieces and a new system under their new offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, it takes work to get everyone on the same page.
Matt Patricia talked about how his players had many good reps in the joint practices against the Patriots and Texans. This was the reasoning he seemed to be clinging too about why Stafford hadn’t played yet.
All of which is fine, but as the offense showed Friday, reps in an actual game situation are important. Especially with a brand spanking new offensive system. Many can even say that perhaps the slow start for the Lions offense had something to do with the Bills number two ranked defense from last season, which would be valid, but that also validates how important it was for them get a rhythm against a quality defense before the opener.
This was positive, but the negatives almost outweighed it.