DETROIT — The Buffalo Bills may want to play Thanksgiving every season. They’ve improved to 3-0 in Thanksgiving games the past four seasons, the latest being a 28-25 thriller against the Detroit Lions.
After the Lions tied the late game, the Bills took over with 23 seconds left. Quarterback Josh Allen led a four-play, 48-yard drive to set up kicker Tyler Bass for a game-winning 45-yard field goal with just seconds left.
The Lions haven’t won on Thanksgiving since 2016 and have had just six holiday wins since 2000.
The Bills’ victory was overshadowed by a knee injury to setter Von Miller, who failed to return after being injured in the first half.
After Allen and receiver Stefon Diggs struggled to connect for much of the game, the pair found themselves on the same page when the team needed them most.
For the game’s first eight drives, Diggs caught three of nine targets for just 12 yards. Allen’s only interception in the game also came while targeting Diggs. But on the last two drives, Allen and Diggs have 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 rushing.
With this win, the Bills went against their own recent history. The team was 1-9 when trailing in the fourth quarter the past two seasons.
Describe the game in two words: Impact injuries. The Bills entered the game without center Mitch Morse and lost left tackle Dion Dawkins (ankle) while allowing 15 pressures on Allen. When Miller left the game, the defense gave up a first-half lead.
Buy a performance in small groups: Yes, defensive tackle Ed Oliver broke a long time ago, but it was by far his best performance of the season when the Bills needed him with defensive line injuries. Oliver forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, sacked Lions quarterback Jared Goff for a safety and had two tackles for the loss. His fifth-year option has already been taken and Oliver continues to show he’s a key part of that defense.
Disturbing trend: Allen is throwing too many interceptions in the red zone. He’s now thrown a red-zone interception in four of the last five games and leads the league with four red-zone picks. Before this streak, he had launched 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 he needs to find a way to be more careful with football. –Alaina Getzenberg
Underestimated stat you need to know: Josh Allen now has 23 career games with a passing touchdown and rushing TD, tied for fifth most in NFL history.
next game: at Patriots (8:15 p.m. ET, December 1)
Detroit entered as a 9.5-point underdog and the Lions were close to snapping their five-game Thanksgiving losing streak, but despite facing off with Buffalo – one of the top teams of the league – they couldn’t get a critical stoppage late in the game.
Buy a performance in small groups: Have the Detroit Lions found another hidden gem in James Houston? The rookie linebacker was lifted from the practice squad the day before the game and capitalized on his opportunity with two sacks and a fumble recovery. He became the first player in team history to record a game with multiple sacks in his NFL debut. Before the game, linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard said there would be “a place for James Houston here in the future” once he could grasp the schematic concept of the team, due to his work ethic.
Bold prediction for next week: The Lions will activate rookie receiver Jameson Williams before the next home game against Jacksonville. Williams, the 12th overall pick in the 2022 draft, was making runs at Ford Field before the game and if all goes according to plan throughout this week in practice, he could make his NFL debut next week. . Williams reported practicing for the first time before the game against Buffalo, but the team didn’t do much for a short week. The Alabama product told reporters he was “really, really, really excited to put my cleats on and be able to put on a jersey.” –Eric Woodyard
Underestimated stat you need to know: Since the start of last season with Goff, the Lions are 4-10 when they score first – as they did on Thursday – it’s the worst mark in the NFL in this span.
next game: vs. Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Dec. 4)