DETROIT (AP) Matthew Stafford threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate, and rookie running back Ameer Abdullah ran for 67 yards – 45 on one play – to lift the Detroit Lions to a 23-3 preseason victory over the punchless New York Jets on Thursday night.
Stafford played only one possession. He threw for 57 yards, completing his only two pass attempts – both to Tate. The touchdown came on a throw over the middle, and Tate slipped between three defenders after the catch and ran to the end zone.
”It was a good start,” Stafford said. ”I thought the tempo was good. We were able to run the ball pretty well tonight, which was good to see.”
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Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jets’ new starting quarterback, played one drive, going 2 of 3 for 16 yards and guiding New York to a field goal in coach Todd Bowles’ debut. New York’s offense sputtered in new coordinator Chan Gailey’s system, gaining just 123 yards – 67 rushing, 56 passing – and six first downs, compared to 428 yards and 26 first downs for Detroit.
It’s been a tumultuous week for the Jets, who lost Geno Smith to a broken jaw when he was punched by teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali in the locker room Tuesday. Enemkpali was cut shortly after. He was picked up on waivers by Buffalo, which is coached by Rex Ryan, who drafted the linebacker in the sixth round last year while with the Jets.
”Rex is Rex. You all know him,” Jets guard Willie Colon said with a laugh. ”Of course we’re not surprised that he picked up I.K.”
Smith, who was having a solid camp, had surgery on his jaw Thursday and is expected to miss 6-10 weeks.
Although Stafford’s appearance was brief, Abdullah played a bit longer and impressed the Ford Field crowd with his seven carries. The highlight was his 45-yard run up the middle in the first quarter.
”He’s just what he was in college,” Bowles said. ”He’s about as quick as Barry Sanders. I’m not saying he is Barry Sanders, but he’s got that kind of quickness.”
Abdullah, a second-round draft pick from Nebraska, could be a real asset to the Lions, who cut Reggie Bush in the offseason and were without injured RB Joique Bell on Thursday. Abdullah got a nice cheer on his first carry of the game, and Lions fans had to like what they saw from him.
”He’s got some talent,” coach Jim Caldwell said. ”He can make you miss and he can run around you. We’ll see how much he does with power, but that’s probably not his forte, necessarily.”
Jets: Brandon Marshall, acquired by New York this offseason in a trade, caught one pass for 12 yards in his debut. Bilal Powell had 35 yards on eight carries, and Chris Ivory had 25 yards on six attempts. CBs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, signed as free agents this offseason, made their returns for the Jets.
Lions: Dan Orlovsky threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Greg Salas early in the second half after the Jets fumbled. Salas, who played with the Jets the last two seasons, finished with five catches for 92 yards against his former team.
Jets: Bryce Petty spent most of the game at quarterback for the Jets and went 10 of 18 for only 50 yards. He did not complete a pass for more than 8 yards.
Lions: Kellen Moore went 9 of 17 for 67 yards and threw an interception in the end zone near the end of the first half. Orlovsky was 5 of 11 for 96 yards.
Jets: DE Muhammad Wilkerson (hamstring) did not play. TE Jace Amaro injured his shoulder and LB Erin Henderson hurt a knee.
Lions: C Darren Keyton hurt a knee in the second quarter, and Caldwell said that injury looked significant. DT Haloti Ngata (hamstring) did not play.
Detroit lost star DT Ndamukong Suh in the offseason, and although his jerseys were still being sold at the stadium, the Lions did their best to move on without him. DT Caraun Reid and DE Devin Taylor combined for a sack in the second quarter, and the Jets didn’t score again after Fitzpatrick’s opening drive.
”That looked like a first preseason game looks,” Bowles said. ”If we get killed like that in the third preseason game, I will be concerned, but I’m not right now. We know we have a lot of things to work on, and we’ll keep working on them.”
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