Matthew Stafford threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions went on to beat the Buffalo Bills 38-32 Thursday night.
Stafford and Johnson went to the sideline healthy after their only drive to make the Lions happy that their dynamic duo avoided injuries in the fourth and final preseason game.
Detroit's offense, defense and special teams contributed toward the Lions (2-2) taking a 28-7 lead in the first quarter over the Bills (0-4).
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed all five of his passes, including a 4-yard TD pass to Stevie Johnson, on his first and last possession.
The Bills gave Tyler Thigpen an extended opportunity to keep his job as their No. 2 QB and he didn't take advantage of it. Thigpen had an interception returned for a touchdown in his second straight game and ended the team's comeback chances with another interception in the final minute.
Detroit went ahead 31-24 early in the fourth quarter on Jason Hanson's 39-yard field goal after he had an attempt blocked and missed another.
Marcus Easley returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards and caught a 2-point conversion pass to put the Bills ahead.
The Lions went back ahead on the next drive that was capped by rookie Kellen Moore scoring on a 1-yard naked bootleg.
Detroit stopped the scoring run on the ensuing possession when recently acquired cornerback Kevin Barnes broke up a pass on third down and Buffalo punted.
The Bills then gave Tarvaris Jackson, who they acquired after cutting Vince Young, a chance to play and he lofted a pass on fourth down deep in Detroit territory that was intercepted Amari Spievey.
Buffalo got the ball back late in the game, trailing by six points, and chose to put Thigpen back in. He threw an interception to Justin Miller at the Detroit 14.
Both teams wanted to get their starting QBs in and out of their final preseason game to keep them healthy for Week 1 and accomplished the mission.
Fitzpatrick connected with Johnson in the end zone after the receiver created space with a move to the inside and an outside route to give Buffalo a 7-0 lead.
Stafford got the ball early and often to Mikel Leshoure. The running back, who will be suspended for the first two games this season, made the most of the opportunity with a 33-yard reception from Stafford and 2-yard TD run — one of his 15 carries for 43 yards — that put Detroit ahead 14-7 after Brad Smith fumbled a kickoff return.
Detroit backup Shaun Hill converted a fourth down with a 1-yard run and Green broke in front of a poorly thrown pass from Thigpen to give the Lions a 28-7 lead late in the first quarter.
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