DETROIT – Matthew Stafford threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate, and rookie running back Ameer Abdullah ran for 67 yards — 45 on one play — to lift the Detroit Lions to a 23-3 preseason victory over the New York Jets on Thursday night.
Stafford played only one possession in Detroit’s exhibition opener. He threw for 57 yards, completing his only two pass attempts — both to Tate. The touchdown came on a throw over the middle, and Tate slipped between three defenders after the catch and ran to the end zone.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jets’ new starting quarterback, played one drive, going 2 of 3 for 16 yards and guiding New York to a field goal. It’s been a tumultuous week for the Jets, who lost Geno Smith to a broken jaw when he was punched by teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali in the locker room Tuesday. Enemkpali was cut shortly after, and picked up on waivers by Buffalo, coached by Rex Ryan, who drafted the linebacker in the sixth round last year while with the Jets.
Smith, who was having a solid camp, had surgery on his jaw Thursday and is expected to miss 6-10 weeks.
Although Stafford’s appearance was brief, Abdullah played a bit longer and impressed the Ford Field crowd with his seven carries. The highlight was his 45-yard run up the middle in the first quarter.
Abdullah, a second-round draft pick from Nebraska, could be a real asset to the Lions, who cut Reggie Bush in the offseason and were without injured running back Joique Bell on Thursday. Abdullah got a nice cheer on his first carry of the game, and Lions fans had to like what they saw from him.
Brandon Marshall, acquired by the Jets this offseason in a trade, caught one pass for 12 yards. Bilal Powell had 35 yards on eight carries, and Chris Ivory had 25 yards on six attempts.