DETROIT — The final score tells a story of a successful night for the Buffalo Bills in their third game of the preseason.
It says they beat the Detroit Lions, 24-20, pushing the Bills' summer record to a perfect 3-0.
Perfection, however, is not the word to describe this performance, which for the starters was supposed to have served as a tune-up for the regular season.
How ready do the "real" Bills look for their Sept. 8 season-opener against the New York Jets?
One could argue they are still in need of some work, although that's not going to come for them in next week's preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings at New Era Field.
In the minimal passing Josh Allen was allowed to do, he had some ugly misfires that foiled a pair of third-down conversion attempts. He also should have been intercepted on a bone-headed throw while under pressure, but the turnover was wiped out when he was hit late after releasing the ball.
Cole Beasley fumbled after taking a hit while turning up field after a catch. Victor Bolden Jr., also fumbled on a kickoff return, a mistake that merely reiterated why the Bills are fortunate to have acquired Pro Bowl returner Andre Roberts in free agency. On the bright side, with the Lions taking over in Bills territory each time, the defense only allowed a field goal.
And there were penalties. So many penalties. The Bills had 12 accepted flags for 106 yards (compared with nine on the Lions for 81 yards), something that no doubt had Sean McDermott fuming on the sideline.
Special teams drew the majority of the infractions, which isn't exactly a good look for first-year special-teams coordinator Heath Farwell. There also were holding calls on center Jon Feliciano, rookie tackle Cody Ford, and receiver Zay Jones.
And did we mention the injuries? A potentially serious one was suffered by guard Quinton Spain, who was carted off with what was announced as an ankle injury. Cornerback Tre'Davious White had his right leg wrapped in ice after he sustained a quadriceps contusion.
Despite what the scoreboard said, it was, for the most part, a forgettable night for the Bills.