Lions 38, Bills 32
Mikel Leshoure made the most of his opportunity to play before
the NFL makes him sit.
The Detroit Lions gave Leshoure a long look because the
second-year running back hasn’t been on the field much and he can’t
be for the first two weeks of the season.
Leshoure turned a short pass into a 33-yard reception to set up
Detroit’s first touchdown and ran for a 2-yard score to give the
Lions the lead in a 38-32 victory over the Buffalo Bills on
Thursday night in the fourth and final preseason game.
”I tried to be as balanced as possible,” he said. ”Inside the
tackles, outside the tackles, catch the ball.”
The NFL is making Leshoure sit out of Detroit’s opener at home
against St. Louis and its Week 2 game at San Francisco because he
was cited for two marijuana-related offenses in the offseason.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Leshoure will be able to attend
meetings and work out at the team’s facility, but won’t be able to
practice or play during his suspension.
”I don’t have to leave,” Leshoure said. ”So that’s a good,
Detroit’s second-round draft pick last year didn’t play as a
rookie because he tore his left Achilles tendon early in training
camp. He was slowed by an injured right hamstring earlier this
month, but flashed some of potential against the Bills with agile
moves after making a catch and power on a run.
On a team desperate for help at running back, with Jahvid Best
out for at least the first six weeks because of concussion-related
concerns, Leshoure will be counted on when he returns.
”When he got the ball in his hands, he looked good,” said
Matthew Stafford, whose night ended when he threw a 24-yard TD pass
to Calvin Johnson on the duo’s only drive. ”It’s going to be a
process for him to do what he has to do to stay in game shape with
two weeks off.”
Detroit’s offense, defense and special teams contributed toward
the Lions (2-2) taking a 28-7 lead in the first quarter over the
Bills (0-4) and yet Schwartz was still stewing about the game’s
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed all five of his
attempts, including a 4-yard TD pass to Stevie Johnson, on his
first and last possession.
”This game was about the guys who were getting their last
chance to get noticed,” Fitzpatrick said. ”I’ve been in that
position a lot of times, so I know how big this game can be for
The Bills gave Tyler Thigpen an extended opportunity – in part
because Brad Smith had a groin injury – to keep his job as their
No. 2 QB and he didn’t take advantage of it. Thigpen had an
interception returned for a touchdown in his second straight game
and ended the team’s comeback chances with another interception in
the final minute.
Thigpen was 18 of 30 for 186 yards with a TD and two
interceptions that contributed toward a 61.3 passer rating.
”I thought Tyler played good,” Bills coach Chan Gailey said.
”Everything was on the line for him, and he made the decisions
tough for us.”
The Bills gave Tarvaris Jackson, whom they acquired after
cutting Vince Young, a chance to play and he lofted a pass on
fourth down deep in Detroit territory that was intercepted by Amari
”As the game was going on, I was trying to let him know how
everything fit into our game plan and how all the formations and
sets worked,” Fitzpatrick said. ”He’s in a tough situation.”
Buffalo got the ball back late in the game, trailing by six
points, and chose to put Thigpen back in. He threw an interception
to Justin Miller at the Detroit 14.
Detroit went ahead 31-24 early in the fourth quarter on Jason
Hanson’s 39-yard field goal after he had an attempt blocked and
Marcus Easley returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards and caught
a 2-point conversion pass to put the Bills ahead.
The Lions went back ahead on the next drive that was capped by
rookie Kellen Moore scoring on a 1-yard naked bootleg.
Detroit stopped the scoring run on the ensuing possession when
recently acquired cornerback Kevin Barnes broke up a pass on third
down and Buffalo punted.
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and