Roster cuts are tough.
The fourth preseason game is the final audition for many players as they fight for a spot on the coveted final 53, and after a 35-13 win at Buffalo Thursday night, it appeared the Lions walked away the much better team.
But the preseason isn't always about squad-to-squad matchups. It's about individual performances, which can thwart the perception of talent regarding an overall roster.
Take into account that the Bills were fielding two quarterbacks that hadn't been with the team just one week prior and it should have been expected that the Lions would come away on top.
The defense that competed during the first half Thursday night didn't allow a touchdown and surrendered just one field goal with eight minutes remaining.
Bentley made a play on a pass in which he was simply in the right place. While that can sometimes be overlooked as "making a good play", being in the right place is certainly what Lions' coaches are looking for.
“I just concentrated on my assignment and it put me in a position to make a play and I made the play,” Bentley said. “I just try to go out and do my best at what I do. Just try to execute my plays at the best of my ability and the coaches put me in position to make plays.”
"Now I'm ready for the real season," Slay said.
"(My confidence level) is always going to stay high. It'll never go down. I'm a real confident guy about what I do and how I prepare for games and I'm ready."
- The first-team offense did not come away with a touchdown at Buffalo, but QB
Matthew Staffordisn't concerned. Neither is detroitlions.com columnist Mike O'Hara.
- In his "Burning Questions" feature following the game, O'Hara addressed any worries the Lions should have about Stafford's preseason performance with, "Zero. Absolutely none. He didn’t connect on two long sideline throws to
Patrick Edwards, and he had two drops – one by Edwards on a pass that hit him in the shoulder pads, and another that deflected off Nate Burleson’s hands for an interception."
Willie Youngfinished the game with two sacks, but that's not what stood out to head coach Jim Schwartz about his performance.
- "I think the most impressive thing that Willie did was he walked away from a shot he took," Schwartz said, referencing the previous week's taunting penalty Young received that cost the Lions' 15 yards. "I thought that showed major improvement for him."
Joique Bellclosed out the preseason with another strong performance. He finished the preseason with 103 rushing yards on 15 carries (6.9 avg) with one touchdown and 91 receiving yards on seven catches (13.0 avg).
- Veteran WR Nate Burleson had a key drop on a third down play that would have moved the chains for the first-team offense. After the game, Burleson sent out via his Twitter account, "4 yrs as a Lion...droppin the ball isn't me!" he wrote. "Won't happen again & if it does, I'll donate 100 for each drop to a different elementary school."