Aug 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson (13) catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (not pictured) while being guarded by Detroit Lions defensive back Jonte Green (36) during the first quarter of a preseason game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE
The first-team offense of the Buffalo Bills finished their pre-season on a positive note on Thursday night, engineering an 11-play, 83-yard touchdown drive on the game's opening possession. Stevie Johnson caught a four-yard touchdown pass to cap off the drive, and Ryan Fitzpatrick completed all five passes for 39 yards and the score on the drive. C.J. Spiller added six carries for 29 yards.
Things got a bit out of hand from there; the Detroit Lions responded with a 24-yard touchdown strike from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson against Buffalo's top defense, and by the end of the first quarter, a fumbled kick return and a pick-six thrown by Tyler Thigpen had made the score 28-7 in Detroit's favor.
Thigpen, fighting for the opportunity to stick with the team as the interim backup quarterback of sorts (until Tarvaris Jackson is comfortable enough in the offense), responded in the second half after a rough start. He led the Bills on two scoring drives in the third quarter, making several nice throws - including a four-yard scoring strike to Dorin Dickerson that cut the Lions' lead to 28-24 prior to the fourth quarter. He finished the game 18-of-30 for 186 yards with a touchdown and two picks.
Jackson, meanwhile, came in for a few snaps in the fourth quarter and threw an interception. Thigpen closed the game out in the two-minute drill. It'll be very interesting to see whether or not the Bills keep Thigpen around tomorrow evening
One other very noteworthy item: Marcus Easley, fighting tooth and nail for a roster spot many considered a given prior to training camp, had a 100-yard kick return for a score early in the fourth quarter that cut the Lions' lead to 31-30. On the ensuing two-point conversion, he caught a short slant and carried two Lions defenders a full yard to break the plane for a go-ahead score.
With that, the Bills turn their attention to final roster cuts - they must trim their roster to 53 players by 9PM tomorrow evening - and the New York Jets, their Week 1 football. Next time it counts, friends!