Lions 28, Bills 16
Cornerback Paul Pratt might have just put the game out of reach with a 102-yard interception return for a touchdown to give the Lions a 27-16 lead with 6:27 left in the game.
Pratt made a terrific catch on an overthrown ball in the endzone and had smooth sailing with a escort of blockers into the endzone.
It looks like the Lions will finish 3-1 this preseason.
DETROIT -- It's funny how quickly a coach's focus can change.
After four preseason games in which Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz preached precision, execution, production and winning, none of that mattered in the moments following his team's 28-23 preseason victory against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday at Ford Field.
The Lions open the regular season Sept. 12 against the Chicago Bears.
"Now, the fun begins,'' Schwartz said to open his postgame news conference. "I just got done with a radio interview and I got a lot of questions on where I think the team is and what kind of training camp I think we had and what kind of preseason we had, and the only answer I have is, 'None of that matters.' The only thing that matters is how we go forward from this point.
"Preseason records don't count and how we did in training camp doesn't count. It's how we respond in the season for 16 regular-season games and on after that. We'll put this preseason where it is, let's not read too much into it and let's go to work next week for Chicago.''
While the Lions did win, it was hardly pretty. Starting quarterback Matthew Stafford threw an interception that was returned 40 yards for a touchdown on the third play from scrimmage. Detroit's second possession was marred by a couple holding calls.
"Obviously, you don't want to turn the ball over, especially like that. I made a bad throw and he made a nice play,'' Stafford said. "The interception was a big negative, but we made some positive plays as well. Now, we just put this behind us and start planning for Chicago.''
Stafford finished with three completions in six attempts for 21 yards.
Schwartz, though, put the interception on his own shoulders.
"We put them in a bad position,'' Schwartz said. "The NFL had tweaked the no-huddle rule, and that interception is a little bit on me because I commanded the offense to go no-huddle there and it was something we really didn't prepare for this week. It took them by surprise, but I wanted them to get used to the new rules.
"I didn't want, potentially, the first time that we were going to do it to be in the regular season. I wanted to have Matt go through it, and it backfired on us. That was more the head coach's fault than the quarterback's fault.''
Veteran center Dominic Raiola doesn't differentiate between preseason and regular-season games.
"It doesn't matter if it is an exhibition game or a regular-season game, when you are out there, you are trying to make big plays and win games,'' Raiola said. "They were playing a very vanilla defense because we play them again in November, but we shot ourselves in the foot with the turnover and then we did it again with the penalties on the second drive.''
The starters and backups were below average, and the Lions trailed 16-0 before the players fighting for roster spots took control of the game and scored 28 consecutive points.
Drew Stanton threw two touchdown passes -- to running back DeDe Dorsey and receiver Derrick Williams -- and free agent cornerback Paul Pratt returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"We had some guys fighting really hard for jobs,'' Schwartz said. "If guys end up making our roster, they will have won jobs in the fourth quarter of this game. We've got some difficult decisions.''
Overall, Schwartz saw the good and the bad in Thursday's performance.
"We had different agendas going in,'' he said. "You'd like to see a little bit more production early on. A couple of goals we had for this game were to see the guys battling for positions, earn positions. I would've liked to come out with a little more momentum, offensively. But I'm not disappointed in it.''
One pick for six and the Detroit market goes insane. You can't tell me no other hall of famer has thrown a pick for six.