The Buffalo Bills rested all three of their top quarterbacks and all of their starters in Thursday's preseason finale, giving younger players an opportunity to win roster spots. Here are some quick thoughts on the Bills' 17-10 loss to the Detroit Lions:
Bryce Brown gets extensive action: After missing the past two games with a hamstring injury, Brown carried the load for the Bills at running back into the third quarter. He was effective, gaining 37 yards on nine carries. The Bills' decision to give Brown the extended playing time could have backfired -- Brown could be the most healthy running back the Bills have for Week 1 -- but if Brown is going to have a role in the opener, he needed to knock some rust off Thursday night.
Matt Simms makes critical mistakes: Playing the entire game, the fourth-string quarterback went 22-for-38 passing for 223 yards. His 74.8 quarterback rating wasn't terrible, but he made what coach Rex Ryan called a "boneheaded" play when he took a timeout -- instead of letting the clock run down before a field goal -- after being sacked on third down with 45 seconds left in the first half. If that play was "boneheaded," then words couldn't describe what Simms did late in the third quarter, when he was being sacked but inexplicably threw the ball backward for an easy Lions fumble recovery. There had been some talk of Simms possibly earning a job as the third quarterback on the 53-man roster but that seems like a long shot after Thursday night.
Dan Carpenter misses another field goal: Ryan said this week that he was "concerned" about Carpenter after the veteran kicker missed two field goals and an extra point in his first preseason games. Carpenter didn't help his cause Thursday night, missing a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter. Ryan looked unhappy on the sideline after the miss.
Backup offensive line struggles: The Bills' backup offensive line played extensively Thursday night and had their issues. Veteran center Kraig Urbik had two botched snap exchanges with Simms in the first half, while Cyril Richardson allowed an easy sack of Simms at one point. The problems on the interior, in particular, raise questions about what the Bills do on their 53-man roster. Urbik's job might not be completely safe after the Bills claimed former New York Jets center Dalton Freeman off waivers this week.
Rookie watch: The Bills' star of the game was receiver Dez Lewis, who led the team with 81 yards on six catches. It might be too little, too late for the seventh-round pick who had an underwhelming training camp, but Lewis is an ideal practice squad candidate if he clears waivers.