He told his star receiver to be ready for a certain play call on third down if they saw the right coverage from the Bills.
Of course the Bills showed the coverage on a third-down-and-10 play early in the first quarter, and Stafford got to make the call. The resulting play was a 24-yard touchdown to finish their one and only series in an eventual 38-32 Lions victory.
“He ran a good route,” Stafford said of Johnson on the play. “(It was) kind of a quarters bracket coverage and the safety had his back to me and the corner was behind him by a couple yards so there was a little window in there.”
A little window?
Not many quarterbacks could have fit the ball into that window. Not many receivers could have made that catch in traffic.
But Stafford and Johnson have shown they're no ordinary combination.
The Lions got everything they wanted out of Stafford and Johnson this preseason as the pair continued right where they left of last year’s record-setting season.
Stafford finished the preseason completing 26-of-37 passes for 360 yards. He completed 70.3-percent of his passes, threw for three touchdowns and had one pass intercepted. His final passer rating was 116.9. In his only drive of the game vs. the Bills, he was 2-of-3 for 57 yards with a touchdown and had a passer rating of 149.3.
Stafford looks regular season ready.
Johnson put an exclamation mark on his 2012 preseason with a 24-yard catch from Stafford, his only catch of the game. In four preseason games, Johnson caught nine passes for 178 yards (19.8 average) and scored two touchdowns.
Johnson, too, looks ready for the regular season opener against the Rams Sept. 9.
As far as Thursday night in and of itself, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz bore witness to nearly an entire game's worth of big plays from his Lions in the first 15 minutes.
- • Schwartz saw Stafford to Johnson for the Lions’ first touchdown of the game on the pair’s one and only possession of the game
- • He saw second-year running back
Mikel Leshourescore his first NFL touchdown
- • He watched his kickoff coverage team force a fumble, recover it and capitalize with a 1-yard quarterback sneak by
- • He witnessed rookie cornerback
Jonte Greenread a Tyler Thigpen pass perfectly for his first-career interception and touchdown return
And that was just the first quarter.
Unfortunately, he also witnessed his reserves nearly blow a 28-7 lead, but hold on in the end to finish the preseason with a 2-2 record.
Moore, who’s fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster as the third quarterback, finished 17-of-30 passing for 211 yards.
With the preseason now behind them, the focus for Schwartz and the Lions shifts to tomorrow’s roster trim down from 75 to 53, and then the preparation for the regular season opener against the Rams Sept. 9 at Ford Field.
“You know, I think we’re a team that did exactly what we’re supposed to do in the preseason,” center
“Work on something every single day, just stack those days up and finally we’re ready to go during the regular season now. I think we did everything we wanted to do.”