Lions vs Bills Review: Backups Look Lost In Loss In Buffalo

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Lions vs. Bills Closed Out The Preseason As Detroit Finishes 2-2.

While the game doesn’t matter, Detroit played its worst game in the last four weeks. Detroit had all of their backups in while the starters rested (with the exception of linebacker Antwione Williams). This game is to show the coaches who can make it in the NFL. Who can be a good depth player? Who wants it more? We found out on Thursday night.

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No Matt Stafford to nobody’s surprise. Jake Rudock took the role as the starter and did well with the job, finishing 6/9 for 41 yards. If he is possibly getting traded, he didn’t do much to increase his price. In the second half Brad Kaaya took over and he did ok, finishing 12/20 for 182 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a fumble. If Detroit does trade Rudock they need to know Kaaya will be a huge downgrade as that touchdown and 74 of those yards were from Tion Green doing damage with his legs.

The running game for Detroit wasn’t impressive, and while the commentators said Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington were still battling for a spot, both never played a down, implying they have already made the roster. Matt Asiata started and got 11 carries for 29 yards. Tion Green had 8 carries for 63 yards, showing he could make the practice squad.

The receiving battle was for the fifth wide receiver job, and boy was it tough to decide on who did better. Jace Billingsley ended with two catches for two yards, while Jared Abbrederis had one catch for 16 yards and a fumble, which could cost him his chance at making this team. Dontez Ford had three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. Tion Green, the running back made a statement with four catches for 87 yards and a touchdown as he rumbled 74 yards down the field for the score late in the fourth quarter.

The offensive line was all backups, and without Laken Tomlinson, as he was traded earlier on Thursday. They kept Rudock upright and were able to give the running backs some holes. Storm Norton was the noteworthy horrible player as he wasn’t able to give Rudock and Kaaya much time when they needed it, allowing two sacks.

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The depth on the defensive line is horrible. Flat Out garbage. Sixth round rookie Pat O’Connor had flags on him, hurting his chance at making the team. The good news is that he wasn’t alone as another rookie Alex Barrett had two flags on him as well, hurting his promising preseason so far. The bad news is that newly signed defensive lineman Caushaud Lyons impressed with two tackles.

The linebackers did average against the Bills offense. Antwione Williams was the lone starter that played on Friday night and while he was quiet on the stat sheet, he and the other linebackers were able to keep tight ends under control, holding them to five catches for 40 yards. Jalen Reeves-Maybin was the most impressive in the core, finishing with four tackles, one pass deflection, and a sack. Nick Bellore also impressed with his play, getting eight tackles.

Defensive backs for Detroit also had some issues. Teez Tabor started and was targeted early and often, six tackles and one pass deflection is what he finished with and while he was targeted often, Tabor didn’t allow many big plays that hurt the team greatly.

Jamal Agnew saw more action as well, finished with five tackles, but Charles Washington was the player leading the team in tackles with 10 as he battles for a depth spot at the safety position, but he couldn’t wrap up the ball carrier on a rushing play that turned into a touchdown. Washington wasn’t competing for the tackle, he ran right up to the running back and slid right off, horrible tackling.

Special Teams did nothing special, as Matt Prater went 1/1 on field goals, making it from 53 yards out. Kasey Redfern finished with 4 punts for 157 yards. Jared Abbrederis had two kick returns for 45 yards and two punt returns for 14 yards. Jace Billingsley had 2 kick returns for 43 yards and a punt return for three yards as he fumbled the return as well.

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Preseason Week Four: What It Means

Detroit needs to bring back Cyrus Kouandjio as a backup left tackle for Greg Robinson as Storm Norton looked horrible. Taylor Decker coming back would mean Kouandjio is cut again, but he could fill a void that is needed while Decker is out.

Dwayne Washington didn’t take a single snap. While many were expecting a battle between Asiata and Washington to see who could be the number four back, it seems like Detroit was ok with Washington, but gave Asiata one more chance to prove himself.

Preseason Week Four: What To Think About

Could Detroit end up with only four wide receivers again? Jace Billingsley and Jared Abbrederis didn’t impress enough that neither one seemed to earn the number five wide receiver spot. If Detroit does, will they keep Billingsley on the practice squad? Time will tell there.

The lack of depth on the defensive line showed that Detroit needs to make a move between Friday and September 9th as with Hyder and Copeland being out, it leaves Cornelius Washington and Anthony Zettel as only reliable defensive ends besides starter Ziggy Ansah.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.