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,

positive thing.”

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

first drive.

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

your career.

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

Spievey.

”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

missed another.

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.

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