For most of Sunday’s game in Detroit, the Lions appeared to be in control. In the end, the difference was that the Bills had a kicker who could make a field goal, and the Lions did not.
On a day when Lions kicker Alex Henery went 0-for-3 on field goals, Bills kicker Dan Carpenter hit a 58-yarder with four seconds to play to win the game for Buffalo, 17-14.
The Lions’ kicking this season has been nothing short of pathetic. Henery is their second kicker this season after rookie seventh-round draft pick Nate Freese was cut, and both kickers have been terrible. On the season, the Lions are now 1-for-9 on field goals longer than 30 yards.
Bills quarterback Kyle Orton, who was handed the starting job after the benching of EJ Manuel, started badly with a first-quarter pick-six but came on strong. Orton hit rookie Sammy Watkins on a pass over the middle to set up Carpenter’s game winner. Orton completed 30 of 43 passes for 308 yards and one touchdown.
For the Lions, Matthew Stafford was a disappointment, with several inaccurate passes including one interception. But Stafford was hobbled by an injury that knocked Calvin Johnson out of the game after he caught just one pass, and Stafford also gets some credit for the Lions getting into field goal range three times, even if they missed them all.
Detroit’s top priority this week will be finding a kicker, with Matt Prater, released last week by the Broncos, the most likely option. Buffalo is feeling good about itself with a road win — the first of what the Bills hope will be many this year with Orton at the helm.