Bills survive upstart Lions with late-game heroics. Buffalo’s return to Detroit wasn’t pretty, but Josh Allen rifled a laser to Stefon Diggs for 36 yards to set up Tyler Bass’ 45-yard game-winning field goal to eke out a victory. Allen looked off much of the day due to his hampering elbow injury, missing short throws he usually makes routinely. Until the final two drives, the Bills’ best plays were Allen runs as the passing game couldn’t get on track for stretches. Given Buffalo was facing the NFL’s worst pass defense, it was stunning to see the Bills unable to move the ball consistently. Allen struggled under pressure, going 5-of-11 for 36 yards versus the blitz. Following Allen’s fourth red zone interception in his last five games, the Bills offense hit Strugglesville, punting on three consecutive possessions to allow the pesky Lions to hang around. But when he needed to, Allen made plays to win. The Bills marched 90 yards on 14 plays to take the lead late. After a Lions field goal looked to force overtime, it took just one dart from Allen to wipe out an extra frame. Good teams find a way to win when they’re banged up and not playing well. Sean McDermott’s team did so on Thanksgiving Day.
Lions battle, but too many errors inevitably sink Dan Campbell’s squad. Entering on a three-game winning streak, Detroit hung tough with the AFC-power Bills. Amon-Ra St. Brown (nine receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown) continues to see his star shine, as he repeatedly spun Bills defensive backs into the turf with fantastic routes. Jamaal Williams is a red-zone hammer, scoring his 13th TD of the season. And the defense played well for stretches, holding Buffalo to just two third-quarter points. Playing with a razor-thin margin for error, however, Campbell’s team will be kicking itself for not closing the deal. The Lions moved the ball at will for stretches, but a Williams fumble in plus-territory killed a promising first-half drive. Jared Goff took a dumb sack in the end zone for a safety. Mike Badgley missed a chip-shot 29-yard field goal. Austin Bryant committed a boneheaded roughing call. And Campbell struggled with clock management down the stretch. Couple those errors with a defense that couldn’t get stops on third down and a QB who missed makeable throws, and it was another Thanksgiving disappointment in Detroit. The Lions are on the rise, but Thursday showed they’re still too talent-deprived to hang with the big boys consistently.
Ed Oliver eats on Thanksgiving. Boy, did the Bills get a big game from the monster defensive tackle. Oliver essentially pitched a tent in the Lions’ backfield, smothering plays and destroying the entire operation. Facing Lions backup guards, Oliver was too much to handle. The defensive tackle gobbled up a sack – which went for a safety – six tackles, two tackles for loss, four QB pressures, two QB hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Already missing key edge rushers and watching Von Miller leave with a serious knee injury, the Bills needed Oliver to make plays. He came through. Oliver has generated 19 pressures over his last three games, seven more than any other player in the NFL since Week 10, per Next Gen Stats. **The 24-year-old’s play doubly stings Lions fans on Turkey Day, as Detroit passed over drafting Oliver in 2019 in favor of tight end T.J. Hockenson**.