What happened: All but just a handful of starters for both the Lions and Bills sat out Thursday's preseason finale, which gave ample opportunity for backups and young players fighting for roster spots a chance to make their mark.
A trio of Detroit rookies did exactly that on the way to a 31-0 Lions' win.
Running back Dwayne Washington scored on a 58-yard run on Detroit's opening possession, all but securing a spot on the team's initial 53-man roster. It was his third touchdown of the preseason. He also had a couple impressive shorter runs in the game that showed off his vision and shiftiness.
"Aw man, Dwayne, the sky's the limit for him man," running back Ameer Abdullah told Fox 2 at halftime of Washington.
"I feel like he can bring a lot to this running game. He's a bigger guy with speed, so that's exactly what we need on this team to help this running game improve every day, and I'm excited to hopefully add him to the team and get going next week."
Rookie receiver Jay Lee caught six passes for 78 yards that included a 2-yard touchdown grab from quarterback Jake Rudock at the end of the first half.
Fellow rookie receiver Jace Billingsley hauled in seven passes, including a 10-yard, one-handed touchdown in the third quarter, for a total of 80 yards.
Give the Lions' reserve big men credit for dominating both lines of scrimmage.
The Lions out-gained Buffalo 357-170 for the game, and finished with four sacks, six quarterback hits and nine tackles for loss.
Quotable: "This is like the last interview for a lot of the guys out there," Ziggy Ansah told Fox 2 at halftime. "I'll tell you one thing, they came out to play today. I love the energy they're bringing out here."
QB Comparison: Dan Orlovsky started the game and played the first quarter – three possessions total. He completed 5-of-10 passes for 42 yards and led the offense on two scoring drives.
Rudock played the final three quarters and had a very nice night. He certainly made a case for the Lions to keep three quarterbacks on the initial 53-man roster. He finished 14-of-23 passing for 171 yards and tossed three touchdowns. He also scrambled twice for 33 yards.
Three-peat: Defensive end Kerry Hyder was one of the stars of the Lions' fourth preseason game last year when he recovered three fumbles in Detroit's 17-10 win over the Bills.
Hyder was at it again one year later against the Bills in the fourth preseason game again as he recorded three sacks, three tackles for loss and three quarterback hits. It seemed like every time Buffalo dropped back to pass, Hyder was there to pressure the quarterback.
He even forced an offensive pass interference call in the third quarter. Hyder was all over the field.
4 others that helped themselves:
Jay Lee – Lee is competing with Andre Roberts, Jace Billingsley and Quinshad Davis for the final spot(s) at receiver. He was targeted 12 times and ended up with six receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Dwayne Washington – Earning one of the final running back spots seemed like a sure bet for Washington after his performance in the first three preseason games, but he slammed the door on the conversation with a 58-yard touchdown on the team's opening possession. He finished with 68 yards on seven carries.
Antwione Williams – The fifth-round draft pick played the MIKE linebacker spot in place of starter Tahir Whitehead, who got the night off. Williams was all over the field and finished with a couple big hits on the way to seven total tackles, including a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.
Jace Billingsley – The undrafted rookie made his own case for inclusion into the conversation for a roster spot. He was targeted eight times and caught seven of those for 80 yards and a one-handed 10-yard touchdown.
Preseason pick: Who had defensive end Brandon Copeland securing the Lions' first interception of the preseason? Sure you did.
Detroit got their first interception of the preseason in the final quarter of the last game when Copeland snatched a ball batted in the air by A'Shawn Robinson. He returned it 23 yards to the Buffalo 40-yard line and the play led to the Lions' fourth and final touchdown of the evening.
Surprise performance: Tight end Eric Ebron ran routes and caught balls with the rest of the tight ends in the pre-game warmups. He didn't play in the game, but it's the first time he ran routes or took part in any team activity in front of the media since injuring his leg in the mock game Aug. 6.
He looked smooth, and that's certainly a good sign for his availability for next weekend's regular-season opener in Indianapolis.