The Detroit Lions succumbed to disappointment against the Buffalo Bills today, losing 14-17 in the final seconds of the game. The Lions hardly looked functional on special teams and struggled to create plays on offense. However -and once again- the Lions gained an early advantage against the Bills with suffocating defense and benefited from two early touchdowns off a nine yard snag from WR Golden Tate and a pick six from CB Rashean Mathis two minutes later.
Alas, the Bills eventually found flaws in Detroit’s defense. The defensive effort was led once again by LB DeAndre Levy who had 13 tackles and was the most consistent variable for the Lions yet again. In all, Detroit lost its way defensively down the stretch and allowed the Bills to control the ball for over 32 minutes. Buffalo QB Kyle Orton faced duress through the day day in part because of a phenomenal game from LB Ashlee Palmer, who registered a sack, tackle for loss, and pass deflected. Orton finished with a solid outing and slowly picked apart the secondary, going 30 of 43 for 308 yards and a touchdown.
On offense, the Lions did just enough to outpace the Bills and actually showed signs of life in the running game. RB George Winn led the way with 48 yards on just 11 carries. The improved running game took some pressure off of QB Matthew Stafford early, who had the luxury of starts from WRs Calvin Johnson and Tate. Nevertheless, Stafford finished with a quiet-at-best game and looked lost down the stretch. He went just 17 of 30 for only 223 yards though kept the game within reach throughout. In another injury plagued contest Johnson and Tate showed bright spots at times moments, but still only generated 141 yards collectively. Although the offense was far from electric, an improved rush attack is worth some praise.
Blown opportunities and no ability to make plays in clutch time leave the Lions shaking their heads.
Tune in for more tomorrow.