The Associated PressDETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford got on the field for the first time in the preseason and left the game unscathed.
Some teammates and opponents were not as fortunate.
Stafford threw a go-ahead touchdown pass, but the Buffalo Bills came back to beat the Detroit Lions 24-20 Friday night in a preseason game that became significant because key players on both teams were hurt.
“It’s an interesting feeling, going out there,” Stafford said. “You prepare as hard as you can to play and you’re hoping nothing too bad happens.”
Detroit 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.
Bills guard Quinton Spain limped off the field with an ankle injury in the first quarter and cornerback Tre’Davious White left the game with a bruised quadriceps in the second quarter.
Lions coach Matt Patricia and Buffalo coach Sean McDermott both said they didn’t have updates on their injured players.
Stafford was 12 of 19 for 137 yards with an 11-yard touchdown pass 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.
“He got a step on his defender and I was able to fit it in there,” Stafford said. “Wasn’t an easy catch.”
Buffalo’s Josh Allen was 3 of 6 for 49 yards in the first half and had an interception negated by a penalty. Allen played against starters and carried out the game plan that called for a heavy dose of runs with LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore. Against reserves, Matt Barkley completed 12 of 14 passes for 142 yards and a 16-yard touchdown pass to Duke Williams late in the third quarter to give Buffalo an 11-point lead.