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Lions lose preseason opener to Bills, 16-15 off late field goal

Outside of Ford Field, the Detroit Lions had multiple opponents. They competed against legendary comedian Dave Chappelle and their neighbor, the Detroit Tigers, for fan attendance. Inside of Ford Field, however, it was the Buffalo Bills. And showing some promise, the Dan Campbell era kicked off with a preseason loss, 16-15.

The Lions started the game shaky with a quick three-and-out on the first drive. In two of those plays, Jared Goff did not look his best. His first pass as a Lion to Tyrell Williams was close to an interception. And shortly after, Greg Rousseau sacked him to force the turnover on downs. 

Fortunately for Goff, his second drive was much better. 

He went 7-for-8 for 56 yards, with several beautifully throw passes. During training camp, it appeared he developed some chemistry throwing to Kalif Raymond and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown. He found the USC rookie and Tyrell Williams two times apiece during the 18-play drive. Goff’s throw to Williams was the pass of the night. 

Related: What Should Fans expect to see in the Detroit Lions preseason opener?

Speaking of Williams, there was another Williams contributor during that drive. And his name is Jamaal Williams. He finished with nine carries for 15 yards, but he showcased his reliability. Twice on the 18-play drive, the Lions faced a third-down situation. And he powered them to a first down each time they called his number. 

Detroit Lions
Lions fullback Jason Cabinda makes a catch behind Bills linebacker Andre Smith during the first half of the preseason game at Ford Field on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021.

The drive resulted in a Lions field goal. It also signaled the end of the day for Jared Goff, as Dan Campbell stated that starters would see 12-15 plays of action or mostly first quarter action. 

While the offense had signs of a work in progress, the Lions’ rush defense appears to need some work. The Bills ran the ball five straight plays on their opening drive. And although the Lions held them to a field goal, the Bills’ scheme appeared to fluster them. Devin Singletary and Matt Breida combined for 18 carries and 69 yards.

Singletary helped get the Bills on the board, though, catching a touchdown from Davis Webb on what appeared to be blown coverage from Jahlani Tavai. 

The game’s biggest highlight came from the Lions’ newly signed running back, Craig Reynolds. The Lions inked Reynolds to a deal on Thursday afternoon after the shocking release of Quinton Dunbar. Reynolds, who’s now on his fourth team in two years, wasted no time making himself at home. He pulled the Lions within one with a 24-yard run for a touchdown with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter. The Lions attempted to take the lead following Reynold’s score with a two-point conversion. Unfortunately, backup quarterback David Blough’s pass to Sage Surratt fell incomplete.

Despite that, on the Lions’ next drive, Blough led them on an eight-play, 75-yard drive. And that set up kicker Randy Bullock for the game-clinching field goal. 

At least, so everyone thought.

On the following drive, Jake Fromm led the Bills on an 11-play, 55 yard drive. That set up Tyler Bass for a 44-yard field goal give the Bills the win.

Next week, the Lions will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. The kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.

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