Josh Allen leads last second drive, Bills leads race for AFC East

Josh Allen leads last second drive, Bills leads race for AFC East

  • Sports
  • November 24, 2022
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4:07 p.m. ET

Alain Getzenberg

Eric Holzhof

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

After the Lions leveled the game late, 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 45-yard field goal with just seconds left.

The Lions have not won on Thanksgiving since 2016 and just six wins on the holiday since 2000.

The Bills’ win was marred by a knee injury to pass rusher Von Miller, who did not return from a first-half injury.

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

In the game’s first eight drives, Diggs caught three of nine targets from just 12 yards. Allen’s only catch in the game also came when he took aim at Diggs. But on the last two drives, Allen and Diggs hit 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 the win, the Bills went against their own recent history. The team has trailed 1-9 in the fourth quarter for the past two seasons.

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Describe the game in two words: impact injuries. The Bills came into play without center Mitch Morse and lost left tackle Dion Dawkins (ankle) while allowing 15 pressure on Allen. When Miller left the game, the defense gave up a first-half lead.

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

Worrying trend: Allen throws too many interceptions in the red zone. He has now thrown red-zone interceptions in four of his last five games and leads the league with four red-zone picks. Prior to this stretch, he had thrown twice in his career (first 67 games). No quarterback has thrown as 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 cautious about football. – Alaina Getzenberg

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

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

Quarterback Jared Goff and the Lions kept up with the Bills but came up just short in the end. Rey Del Rio/Getty Imagesdet News For Everyone Zoohouse News

Detroit Lions

Detroit came on as a 9.5-point underdog and the Lions were close to ending their five-game losing streak on Thanksgiving, but despite going head-to-head with Buffalo — one of the league’s best teams — they failed to hit a critical stop at the end of the game.

Buy a breakout performance: Have the Detroit Lions found another hidden gem in James Houston? The rookie linebacker was lifted off the practice team the day before the game and capitalized on his opportunity with two sacks and a fumbled recovery. He became the first player in team history to record a multi-sack game 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 his work ethic enabled him to understand the team’s schematic concept.

Bold prediction for next week: The Lions will activate rookie receiver Jameson Williams ahead of their next home game against Jacksonville. Williams, the 12th overall pick of the 2022 draft, ran pregame stretches at Ford Field and if all goes according to plan in practice this week, he could make his NFL debut next week. Williams first reported to practice before the Buffalo game, but the team didn’t do much in a short week. The Alabama product told reporters that he’s “really, really, really excited to put on my cleats and be able to put on a jersey.” -Eric Woodyard

Underestimated stat to know: Since the start of last season with Goff, the Lions are 4-10 on the first goal — as of Thursday — the worst mark in the NFL that span.

Next Game: vs. Jaguars (1pm ET, Dec 4)

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