Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said after Thursday's 38-32 victory over the Bills that his secondary was "severely challenged."
It wasn't anything quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick or the Bills offense was doing … it was injuries.
It’s a familiar scenario for the Lions. Schwartz saw plenty of that last season, having to put receiver Rashied Davis in at cornerback on two separate occasions because their numbers in the secondary were so decimated by injury.
It was same scenario playing out again Thursday at safety. With
“You guys saw: we had corners playing safety including one that just got here a day ago,” Schwartz said, referring to cornerback Kevin Barnes, who the Lions traded for on Monday.
“We were trying just to get him up to speed as quickly as we could. Alphonso (Smith) did a good job, he’s a smart guy and was able to get us out. Other than putting guys back in the game that hadn’t played for two hours, that was our only real option.”
For Barnes, it was a chance to show his new coaches that they invested in a versatile player who can play both corner positions and safety.
“It’s all football to me,” Barnes said. “It’s a way for me to show coaches I’m more valuable and can play more positions, including safety.”
Barnes had just one practice with the Lions this week.
“I feel like I made some strides tonight,” he said.
Barnes had a particularly stellar play when he appeared to stuff Bills receiver Marcus Easley at the goal line of a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter. Barnes stood Easley up and appeared to keep him out of the end zone even though it was ruled a two-point conversion.
Broyles getting acclimated
It was never a question of whether second-round pick
Less than 10 months removed from ACL surgery in his left knee, Broyles has just been waiting for his body to catch up with his mind.
Broyles' performance Thursday indicated he is getting closer and closer to that point after watching his route running and his ability to find open spaces within the Bills defense.
Broyles entered the game with four catches for 42 yards in two preseason games (he did not play in the opener against the Browns). Thursday, he had three catches for 54 yards and looked stronger and faster than he has all preseason.
The competition between
Against the Bills, Graham had the much better night and it could be enough to earn him the job.
His most impressive punt of the night came with less than two minutes remaining in the game and the Lions backed up in their own end with a slim 38-32 lead. Graham booted a 49-yarder down the right sideline pinning the Bills offense back at their 33-yard line.
“It was a great punt,” Schwartz said. “Ben bailed us out. Ben had a great punt. We were gassed on special teams. Those guys played a lot of football in the second half. We lost a lot of guys in the second half and a lot of guys were playing every snap on defense or every snap on offense and covering every kick and we needed him to paint the sideline on a ball and he did a great job of it.”
Graham averaged 45.3 yards on three punts on the night. Donahue averaged 33.5 and pinned the Bills inside the 20-yard line once.