ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Running back Jerome Harrison helped the Detroit Lions cap a perfect preseason with a 16-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.
Don't start celebrating yet. The last time the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason, they became the NFL's first team to lose all 16 regular-season games in 2008.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz remained cautious.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Schwartz said at halftime. "It's all about being ready for the regular season. Let's leave accomplishments until we get to that."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Tri-City Herald
Harrison had a solid showing in a bid to secure a roster spot once final cuts are made by Saturday. The six-year NFL veteran out of Washington State ran for 72 yards and set up the Lions' two first-half scoring drives.
His 47-yard run led to Maurice Stovall's 16-yard touchdown catch from Shaun Hill to open the scoring. Harrison's 17-yard run off right tackle set up Jason Hanson's 44-yard field goal that put the Lions up 10-0 with 3:15 left in the half.
Signed Aug. 9 after rookie second-round pick Mikel Leshoure tore his left Achilles' tendon, Harrison is competing with Aaron Brown to make the roster behind Jahvid Best and Maurice Morris. Hanson added 46- and 35-yard field goals in the second half.
The Bills (1-3) got a solid outing from linebacker Shawne Merriman, who had three tackles in two series. It was Merriman's first game since missing the past two with a groin injury.
Merriman didn't want to waste time, knowing he would not be on the field long in a final tuneup before Buffalo opens the regular season Sept. 11 at Kansas City.
"It felt good," Merriman said. "I'm glad I got the chance to get out there and play a little bit just to get into the routine of getting ready again. Now, the next time I line up, it'll be the real thing."
Merriman burst into the backfield to pull down Best from behind for a 1-yard loss on the Lions first series. On the next series, Merriman ran down Brown from behind to trip him up and limit him to a 10-yard gain on third-and-12.
With his team down 16-0, the Bills' Bruce Hall scored on a 1-yard plunge with 4:05 left, but Buffalo failed on 2-point conversion when Craig Davis bobbled Levi Brown's pass in the end zone.
The new-look Lions are seeking to turn around the woeful fortunes of a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs in 11 years -- tied with Buffalo as the NFL's longest current drought.
They're coming off a 6-10 finish, in which they won their final four games. It's a run Detroit is attempting to carry over into this year once it opens the regular season at Tampa Bay on Sept. 11.