The Bills wrapped up preseason play Thursday night with a 38-32 loss at Detroit. Buffalo finishes the preseason with an 0-4 record.
The game started on a very positive note, with the first-team offense efficently driving the ball down the field against the Detroit starters. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had been shaky at best in the first three exhibition games, went 5-for-5 passing on the drive for 39 yards, capping it off with a four-yard TD pass to Stevie Johnson.
The rest of the first quarter was more or less a disaster for the Bills. The Detroit offense drove right through the starting defense, tying the game at 7 with a TD pass to Calvin Johnson. Brad Smith then fumbled a kick return, leading to a second Lions score. After another Detroit TD drive, Tyler Thigpen threw a ghastly pick-six that gave the Lions a 28-7 by the end of the first quarter.
Thigpen played a bit better after that, and the Bills actually rallied to take a 32-31 lead early in the fourth quarter following a Marcus Easley kickoff return for a touchdown. Easley also caught the pass on the following two-point conversion attempt.
Detroit rookie QB Kellen Moore would score on a one-yard TD soon after, however, giving Detroit its finally margin of victory.
– The first-team offense was very good. Fitz was sharp. C.J. Spiller was effective running the ball. (Fred Jackson did not play.) Stevie Johnson just destroyed the opposing CB on both his catches. Good to see this group getting a little confidence boost headed into next week.
– After a horrendous start, the second-string offense was much better in the second and third quarters. We’ll see if Tyler Thigpen did enough to save his job (for at least a week or two).
– Marcus Easley has been invisible all preseason, but he showed up tonight with the kick return TD and by dragging a defender to the goal line on the two-point conversion. Could he steal a roster spot?
– Undrafted rookie Delano Howell didn’t hurt his chances of making the team tonight by leading the Bills with 10 tackles.
– Alex Carrington got a sack tonight, as he tries to hold onto a roster spot.
– Dorin Dickerson caught three passes (including a TD). Does he have a place on this team?
– I’m really beginning to wonder why Brad Smith is still around.
– New acquisition Tarvaris Jackson played a bit in the 4th quarter…and threw an interception on his only pass attempt. He also fumbled. Encouraging.
– The defense was not good tonight. At all.
– Starting CB Aaron Williams has had a tough preseason. CB is really a concerning spot on this roster right now. Justin Rodgers also got burned a few times and had a really dumb roughing the passer penalty.
– WR Derek Hagan dropped a touchdown tonight. He might have cost himself a job.
Finally, the brutal slog that is the exhibition season is over. Tomorrow, the Bills must cut the roster down to 53 players by 9 p.m. Check back here for analysis when it’s all said and done.