ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Sept. 2, 2005) -- On crutches and his left foot in a protective boot, backup quarterback Jeff Garcia watched the final seconds of Detroit's only preseason victory tick away while hoping his season isn't already over.
"It is frustrating and disappointing," Garcia said. "But I will be back."
The veteran backup broke his left leg and hurt his ankle while sliding at the end of a run in the first quarter, his injury overshadowing the Lions' 21-7 victory against Buffalo.
Expected to miss at least six weeks, Garcia's absence leaves the Lions with no experienced backup behind Joey Harrington. And it leaves the team suddenly considering whether it needs to sign another quarterback a week before the start of the season.
"We have to talk about it," Lions president Matt Millen said.
"We'll just keep our fingers crossed," coach Steve Mariucci added.
Shawn Bryson and Artose Pinner rushed for touchdowns and safety Terrence Holt, with an assist from Dre' Bly, returned an interception for a score for Detroit (1-3). Not bad for a team playing on only three days rest after an embarrassing 37-13 loss to St. Louis on Aug. 29, and resting six starters.
"Their effort was outstanding," Mariucci said. "It's as good a fourth preseason game as I've been around."
The Bills (2-2) came up flat, particularly first-year starter J.P. Losman. Buffalo's 2004 first-round draft pick, Losman finished 11-for-19 for 123 yards passing, but was intercepted and sacked twice each while playing the entire first half.
So much for the rhythm coach Mike Mularkey wanted Losman to find in his final tune-up before opening the season hosting Houston on Sept. 11.
Mularkey defended his quarterback, saying the mistakes weren't entirely Losman's fault.
"My initial reaction is I thought he made some good throws," Mularkey said. "There's a lot more positives in his play than there were negatives."
But the mistakes were costly. Both interceptions led to Detroit touchdowns.
The first came on Buffalo's second possession when Losman was late getting off a pass to Sam Aiken in the left flat. Bly jumped the route at the Bills 35. Cutting across the field, he pitched the ball to Holt, who ran it in from the 11.
In the second quarter, Losman attempted to thread a pass to Aiken, but reserve cornerback Andre' Goodman got a hand in, tipping the ball to Bracy Walker. Walker's 37-yard return set up Bryson's score.
Losman shrugged when asked about his outing, insisting he's ready.
"Things never go as planned. You always have to roll with it," Losman said. "I'm about as ready as I'm going to get. However ready that is, we'll find out. I don't have the answers for you. Nobody does."
Buffalo rookie running back
Garcia got the start in place of Harrington, who is nursing a groin injury. Garcia was hurt at the end of a 23-yard run when, beginning to slide, he caught his left foot on the turf as he was hit across the neck by Terrence McGee.
Garcia, the seven-year NFL veteran who signed with Detroit last March,
was carted off and tests revealed he broke his fibula and possibly
sprained his ankle. Fifth-round draft pick
Garcia was 4-for-8 for 33 yards and had two rushes for 29 yards before he was hurt. Orlovsky finished 6-for-14 for 98 yards passing.
Pinner, subbing for starter Kevin Jones, led Detroit with 52 yards rushing.
Garcia's injury meant receiver Roy Williams couldn't get too excited about the victory.
"I think everybody's nervous now because we need healthy quarterbacks," Williams said. "Both of them are down, but I think Joe will be there on (Sept. 11)."
Mariucci expects Harrington to begin practice Sept. 5.
- Bills cornerback Nate Clements hurt his shoulder in the second quarter and did not return. Coach Mularkey said the injury is not serious.
- The Lions avoided their first winless preseason since going 0-4 in 1989.
- The Lions' first-string offense finished the preseason without scoring a touchdown.
- Bills PK Rian Lindell finished went 5-for-8 in field-goal attempts this preseason after his 32-yard attempt appeared to be tipped at the line and sailed wide left.
The Associated Press News Service
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