Buffalo 23 at Detroit 28

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Lions beat Bills 28-23 in preseason finale
By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer Thursday, Sep 2, 2010

DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Lions were hoping Matthew Stafford(notes) would have a brief and productive tuneup for the regular season.

He didn’t.

Stafford’s second pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown and he didn’t lead Detroit to points on his second and last drive. But, third-stringer Drew Stanton(notes) threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to lift the Lions to a 28-23 win over the Buffalo Bills in their preseason finale Thursday night.

“The interception was a big negative, but we made some positive plays as well,” Stafford said. “Now, we just put this behind us and start planning for Chicago.”

Detroit opens the season at Chicago—hoping to snap a 20-game skid on the road—and that’s when coach Jim Schwartz will start to care about results.

“It really doesn’t matter, to tell you the truth, how I’m feeling or what our record was in the preseason,” Schwartz said.

The Lions (3-1) had a winning record in the preseason, but they know more than any other team how meaningless that is because they won all four of their exhibitions two years ago before going on to have the NFL’s first 0-16 season.

“The biggest thing about this season is that talent isn’t an issue anymore,” center Dominic Raiola(notes) said. “No matter what we do, we can’t point to a lack of talent.”

Stafford was 3 of 6 for 21 yards and an interception against the Bills. The No. 1 pick of the 2009 NFL draft was much more effective in his first three preseason games, completing 74 percent of his passes for 332 yards, three TDs and an interception.

His first pass was deflected and the second—a short pass to the flat intended for Calvin Johnson(notes)—was picked off by Drayton Florence(notes), who returned it 40 yards for a score.

“It was a great interception and score,” Buffalo coach Chan Gailey said. “That was big.”

Schwartz blamed himself for forcing Stafford to run a no-huddle offense without much preparation.

“It backfired on us,” he said.

The Bills, meanwhile, liked what they saw in Trent Edwards’(notes) tuneup before hosting Miami in Week 1.

Edwards was 4 for 4 for 66 yards on his only drive that set up Rian Lindell’s(notes) first of three field goals. He was very efficient and made Gailey happy by taking a calculated chance deep downfield, connecting on a 50-yard pass to a leaping Lee Evans(notes).

Buffalo’s Marshawn Lynch(notes) had 2 yards rushing on five carries after missing two games with an ankle injury. Bills rookie running back C.J. Spiller(notes) was rested and running back Fred Jackson(notes) missed a third straight game because of a broken left hand. Spiller watched on the sideline in football pants, a jersey and baseball cap.

Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) did not play, giving Brian Brohm(notes) and rookie Levi Brown a chance to show the team what they can do.

Brohm was 7 of 15 for 78 yards and an interception—that went off the intended receiver’s hands—and Brown was 10 of 18 for 92 yards and an interception.

“The film is going to speak for itself right now,” Brohm said.

The Bills (2-2) led the Lions 16-0 late in the second quarter, but began to lose their cushion when Brohm’s pass went off tight end J.P. Foschi’s(notes) hands and Ashlee Palmer(notes) made a diving interception and 39-yard return.

Jerome Felton’s(notes) 1-yard run with 10 seconds left in the half pulled the Lions within nine.

After Shaun Hill(notes) was just 2 of 6 for 21 yards, Stanton entered and threw a short pass that DeDe Dorsey(notes) turned into a 25-yard TD late in the third quarter and a 16-yard pass to Derrick Williams(notes) early in the fourth to put the Lions ahead—for the first time—21-17.

Dorsey fumbled at the Lions 23 to give the Bills a chance to retake the lead, but they blew it when rookie Brown threw a pass that wasn’t close to a teammate in the end zone. Paul Pratt(notes) made a diving interception, got up and returned it 102 yards to seal the win.

“It’s hard when you don’t get a lot of reps in practice and execute everything the way you’re supposed to, not to make an excuse because I just missed throws,” Brown said.

Chad Simpson’s(notes) 1-yard run pulled the Bills within five with 16 seconds left. Buffalo then conceded the exhibition by kicking deep instead of attempting an onside kick.

NOTES: The Lions were without LB DeAndre Levy(notes), who injured his groin last week, and seemed to hold out RB Jahvid Best(notes), OT Jeff Backus(notes), DT Corey Williams(notes), S Louis Delmas(notes), S C.C. Brown(notes) as a precaution with nagging injuries. … Gailey said it was “sad” that a QB—Brohm—led the team in rushing. … Lions DE Korey Bosworth(notes), nephew of Brian Bosworth, left with an injured right leg. … Buffalo RB Joique Bell(notes) had 10 yards on five carries, playing a mile from Wayne State, where he starred as a small-college player.

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