ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford closed the preseason much like he opened it: by showing plenty of promise but little finish.
The same goes for the Buffalo Bills offense, which could certainly use a healthy Terrell Owens to help it find the end zone following a 17-6 loss to Detroit in each team's preseason finale last night.
Fullback Jerome Felton scored on a one-yard plunge late in the first half to open the scoring for the Lions (3-1). Tristan Davis then sealed the win with a 79-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, in a game in which the Lions had 249 yards rushing and 422 yards total offense.
With NFL teams prepared to make their final cuts this weekend, Lions reserve cornerback Chris Roberson made a case to make the team with an interception and a fumble recovery.
Otherwise, there was not much to a forgettable, sloppy game between two teams intent on resting many of their starters. The Bills went so far as to rest their entire first-string defense in the first half.
Buffalo's sputtering offense looked much the same even without Owens, Trent Edwards, and Lee Evans by being shut out the first half. Owens missed his fourth game recovering from a sprained toe, although he did return to practice this week.
Buffalo (1-4) finished the preseason outscored 75-12 in the first half and failed to score a touchdown against Detroit.
Stafford, the No. 1 draft pick out of Georgia, was making his second start this preseason and finished 5-of-9 for 81 yards with two drive-killing turnovers — a fumble and interception. So much for Stafford strengthening his case to be the Lions starter ahead of veteran Daunte Culpepper, who was held out after cutting his foot last weekend.
Stafford got off to a sharp start, hitting Calvin Johnson for 37 and 19-yard completions on the opening drive. He also hit Johnson on the fly in the end zone for what would have been a 34-yard touchdown, but the play was nullified by offsetting penalties.
And that's when the trouble began. Three plays later, Stafford lost a fumble after being stripped by defensive end Aaron Maybin.