Preseason week 4-Detroit Lions 16 Buffalo Bills 6-September 1,2011
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Running back Jerome Harrison helped the Detroit Lions cap a perfect preseason with a 16-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.
Don't start celebrating yet. The last time the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason, they became the NFL's first team to lose all 16 regular season games in 2008.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz remained cautious.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Schwartz said at halftime. "It's all about being ready for the regular season. Let's leave accomplishments until we get to that."
Harrison had a solid showing in a bid to secure a roster spot once final cuts are made by Saturday. The six-year NFL veteran ran for 72 yards and set up the Lions' two first-half scoring drives.
His 47-yard run led to Maurice Stovall's 16-yard touchdown catch from Shaun Hill to open the scoring. Harrison's 17-yard run off right tackle set up Jason Hanson's 44-yard field goal that put the Lions up 10-0 with 3:15 left in the half.
Signed on Aug. 9 after rookie second-round pick Mikel Leshoure tore his left Achilles tendon, Harrison is competing with Aaron Brown to make the roster behind Jahvid Best and Maurice Morris, who sat out with a hand injury. Hanson added 46- and 35-yard field goals in the second half.
The Bills (1-3) got a solid outing from linebacker Shawne Merriman, who had three tackles in two series. It was Merriman's first game since missing the past two with a groin injury.
Merriman didn't want to waste time, knowing he wasn't going to be on the field long in a final tuneup before Buffalo opens the regular season at Kansas City on Sept. 11.
"It felt good," Merriman said. "I'm glad I got the chance to get out there and play a little bit just to get into the routine of getting ready again. Now, the next time I line up it'll be the real thing."
Merriman burst into the backfield to pull down Best from behind for a 1-yard loss on the Lions first series. On the next series, Merriman ran down Brown from behind to trip him up and limit him to a 10-yard gain on third-and-12.
Down 16-0, the Bills' Bruce Hall scored on a 1-yard plunge with 4:05 left, but Buffalo failed on 2-point conversion when Craig Davis bobbled Levi Brown's pass in the end zone.
The Lions, coming off a 34-10 win over New England, failed to score 30 points for a fourth straight game. Detroit has gone unbeaten six times in the preseason.
The new-look Lions are seeking to turn around the woeful fortunes of a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs in 11 years -- tied with Buffalo as the NFL's longest current drought.
They're coming off a 6-10 finish, in which they won their final four games. It's a run Detroit's attempting to carry over into this year once it opens the regular season at Tampa Bay on Sept. 11.
Schwartz took no chances, pulling both his offensive and defensive starters after each played one series. Matthew Stafford opened the game completing a 39-yard pass up the right sideline to Calvin Johnson, before the drive stalled at the Bills 39.
Coming off right shoulder surgery, the 2009 No. 1 draft pick closed a solid preseason in which he went 25 of 33 for 395 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Backup Hill lasted only one series, too, after engineering a seven-play, 80-yard scoring drive.
Drew Stanton closed the first half, while Zac Robinson finished the game.
The Bills starting offense was in for two possessions and sputtered after C.J. Spiller opened with a solid 27-yard run off left tackle.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went 2 of 5 for minus 1-yard passing. Two of the incompletions were drops -- one by Marcus Easley, who's attempting to beat out Donald Jones for the No. 2 spot. Starter Stevie Johnson also bobbled a pass up the right sideline. Fitzpatrick also had Johnson open over the middle, but overthrew the receiver, who appeared to slow up before the ball got to him.
Backup quarterback Tyler Thigpen struggled, going 12 of 21 for 92 yards in eight possessions.
The Bills paid tribute to longtime Lions beat writer, Booth Newspapers reporter Tom Kowalski, who died of a heart attack Monday. The Bills kept what would've been his seat open in the press box with Kowalski's press pass left sitting on a game notes folder. A moment of silence was also held in the press box following the national anthem.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Last edited by Colts01; 09-01-2011 at 10:52 PM.
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