Josh Allen leads 21-second game-winning drive, Bills move ahead in AFC East race

Josh Allen leads 21-second game-winning drive, Bills move ahead in AFC East race

DETROIT — The Buffalo Bills might want to play on Thanksgiving every season. They improved to 3-0 in Thanksgiving games over the past four seasons, the latest a 28-25 thriller over the Detroit Lions.

After the Lions tied the game late, the Bills took over with 23 seconds left. Quarterback Josh Allen lead a four-play, 48-yard drive to set up kicker Tyler Bass for a 45-yard game-winning field goal with just seconds left.

They Lions haven’t won on Thanksgiving since 2016 and have just six victories on the holiday since 2000.

The Bills’ win was overshadowed by a knee injury to pass-rusher Von Miller, who did not return after getting injured in the first half.

Josh Allen leads 21-second game-winning drive, Bills move ahead in AFC East race

Buffalo Bills

After Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs struggled to connect for much of the game, the pair got on the same page when the team needed them most.

For the first eight drives of the game, Diggs caught three of nine targets for just 12 yards. Allen’s lone interception in the game also came when targeting Diggs. But on the final two drives, Allen and Diggs connected on all five targets for 65 yards and a score. Allen finished the game 24-of-42 for 253 yards with two passing touchdowns and another one rushing.

With the win, the Bills went against their own recent history. The team was 1-9 when trailing in the fourth quarter over the last two seasons.

Describe the game in two words: Injury impact. The Bills came into the game without center Mitch Morse and lost left tackle Dion Dawkins (ankle) and allowed 15 pressures on Allen, while Miller left the game, and the defense gave up a first half lead with the losses of those key linemen playing a huge role for the Bills.

Buy on a breakout performance: Yes, defensive tackle Ed Oliver broke out a long time ago, but this was his best performance of the season by far when the Bills needed it due to injuries on the defensive line. Oliver forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, sacked quarterback Jared Goff for a safety and had two tackles for loss. His fifth-year option for next year was already picked up, and Oliver continues to show why he’s a key part of this defense.

Troubling trend: Allen is throwing too many red zone interceptions. He has now thrown a red zone interception in four of the last five games and leads the league with four red zone picks. Prior to this stretch, he had thrown two in his career (first 67 games). No quarterback has thrown that many in an entire season since 2019 (Mitch Trubisky and Sam Darnold each had four. The trend started before Allen’s right elbow injury, but either way, he has to find a way to be more careful with the football. — Alaina Getzenberg

Underrated statistic to know: Josh Allen now has 23 career games with a passing touchdown and a rushing TD, tied for the fifth most in NFL history.

Next game: at Patriots (8:15 p.m. ET, Dec. 1)


Josh Allen leads 21-second game-winning drive, Bills move ahead in AFC East race

Detroit Lions

Detroit entered as 9.5-point underdogs.The Lions were on the verge of snapping their five-game losing streak on Thanksgiving, but despite going toe-to-toe with Buffalo — one of the league’s best teams — they couldn’t get a critical stop at the end of the game.

Buy on a breakout performance: Have the Detroit Lions found another hidden gem in James Houston? The rookie linebacker was elevated from the practice squad the day ahead of the game and certainly made the most of his opportunity with two sacks and a fumble recovery. He became the first player in team history to record a multi-sack game in their NFL debut. Ahead of the game, linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard said there would “be a place for James Houston here in the future,” once he was able to grasp the team’s schematic concept, due to his work ethic, so I’m buying this breakout performance and they’ll find a place for him on the active list..

Bold prediction for next week: The Lions will activate rookie receiver Jameson Williams ahead of next home game against Jacksonville. Williams, the 12th overall pick of the 2022 draft, was running routes at Ford Field ahead of the game and if everything goes as planned throughout this week at practice, he could be ready to make his NFL debut next week. Williams reported to practice for the first time ahead of the Buffalo game, but the team didn’t do much during a short week. The Alabama product told reporters that he’s “real, real, real excited to put my cleats on and be able to put a jersey on” and I’m predicting he plays. — Eric Woodyard

Underrated statistic to know: Since the start of last season (since getting Jared Goff) the Lions are 4-10 when scoring first — as they did on Thursday — that’s the worst mark in the NFL over that span..

Next game: vs. Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Dec. 4)

This article was originally published here post

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