Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a go-ahead touchdown pass in his first preseason game of the year, but the Buffalo Bills came back to beat host Detroit 24-20 on Friday night in a preseason game that became significant because key players on both teams were hurt.
Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis was carted off the field early in the first quarter with an injured right leg, and center Frank Ragnow had to be helped off the field after appearing to hurt his right knee.
Stafford, meanwhile, got on and off the field unscathed.
He was 12-for-19 passing for 137 yards with an 11-yard touchdown throw to Ty Johnson, perfectly connecting with the rookie running back in the flat while linebacker Matt Milano was covering him closely, to give Detroit a 14-10 lead early in the second quarter.
Lions kicker Matt Prater made a 61-yard field goal as the second quarter ended to narrow the Bills’ lead to 14-13 at the half.
Buffalo’s Josh Allen was three for six for 49 yards in the first half, playing against starters. Against reserves, Matt Barkley completed 12 of 14 passes for 142 yards with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Duke Williams late in the third quarter to give Buffalo an 11-point lead.
The Bills (3-0) were able to run out the clock on the final possession to stay undefeated, leaving the Lions (0-3) winless in the preseason.
Buccaneers 13, Browns 12
The rookie’s game-winner capped a 16-play drive lasting more than seven minutes. Cairo Santos booted a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter and third-string quarter Ryan Griffin threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett for the Bucs (2-1).
Rookie Austin Seibert kicked four field goals for the Browns (2-1), who led 9-0 when Baker Mayfield and the rest of Cleveland’s starters left the game.
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 draft, started and played the entire first half.
Playing without starting wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. (hip) and Jarvis Landry, the second-year quarterback led three short field-goal drives and was not particularly sharp while completing 10 of 26 passes for 72 yards with one interception.
Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston had an even tougher night, though it wasn’t all his doing.
Gay missed a 37-yard field goal, and Tampa Bay’s leaky offensive line had difficulty protecting Winston, allowing five sacks while the fifth-year pro was in the game.
The No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 draft, who’s closing in on becoming the franchise’s career passing leader yet still trying to prove he’s the club’s long-term answer at quarterback, finished nine for 19 for 88 yards without an interception.