Football / Sports

Lions blank Bills in preseason finale

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- They wanted to give their bubble players ample opportunity to impress, and in doing so the Detroit Lions' cut to 53 players just got harder.

The Lions rested 11 starters Thursday, including Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh, but their cast of backups dominated the Buffalo Bills in the preseason finale for both teams, 23-0.

Kellen Moore had another good game off the bench, completing 15 of 26 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns, and Corey Fuller and Isa Abdul-Quddus made big plays in their bid to win roster spots.

Moore played the final three quarters in relief of Dan Orlovsky and led the Lions on four scoring drives.

He threw second-quarter touchdown passes of 1 yard to Jeremy Ross and 25 yards to Fuller, and Nate Freese, who beat out Giorgio Tavecchio for the kicking job earlier this week, made all three of his field goals, including two from 53 yards.

Fuller led the Lions with 48 yards receiving on three catches, and Abdul-Quddus, Mohammed Seisay and Nate Ness had interceptions.

Teams have until 4 p.m. Saturday to trim their rosters from 75 to 53.

"Kellen is obviously doing a great job," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said in a halftime interview with WXYZ-TV. "That was a really nice drive there at the end (of the first half). Fortunately enough we were able to get two (attempts) of the two-minute drive at the beginning there and then at the end for the score, which is great to see."

Moore gave the Lions plenty to think about as they weigh whether to keep three quarterbacks this year.

He outplayed Orlovsky all preseason, though Orlovsky went first in the quarterback rotation in every game and practice. Orlovsky completed 7 of 11 passes Thursday, but threw for just 39 yards.

Along with quarterback, the Lions have tough roster decisions looming at running back, receiver and in the secondary.

Abdul-Quddus started at safety in place of James Ihedigbo, who did not make the trip to Buffalo, and intercepted Bills backup Jordan Palmer in the second quarter to set up Ross' touchdown. Undrafted rookie Jerome Couplin also saw extensive playing time and built on his strong preseason.

At receiver, Fuller and Ryan Broyles impressed in their final preseason showcase. Fuller found a soft spot in coverage on his touchdown catch, which Moore threaded through three defenders, while Broyles played deep into the fourth quarter and finished with three catches for 31 yards.

The Lions will keep five or six receivers, and Johnson, Golden Tate and return man Jeremy Ross are locked into jobs.

Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree, who are also fighting for roster spots, started at receiver Thursday with Johnson and Tate on the sidelines.

Tate told WXYZ the Lions, who rested key starters Reggie Bush, Dominic Raiola, Rob Sims, Brandon Pettigrew, Rashean Mathis and Jason Jones on Thursday, are ready for next week's Sept. 8 Monday night opener against the New York Giants.

"I'm excited," Tate said. "I'm excited for Week 1 to get here. As you know, we're going to play on Monday night to start the season off, which is going to be exciting. Tonight, I'm having a good time just watching our young guys. Some guys are out there playing for their lives and fighting for a spot. Everyone's looking like their balling out."

(c)2014 Detroit Free Press

Visit the Detroit Free Press at

Distributed by MCT Information Services


blog comments powered by Disqus