Instant analysis: Bills rally to roast Lions in Thanksgiving Day win

The Buffalo Bills (8-3)  pulled off a thrilling late fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the Detroit Lions (4-7) 28-25 on Thanksgiving Day. The game was full of anxious moments for the Bills, but they ultimately took control late in the game to earn the victory.

Buffalo’s offense had quite a wild afternoon, mixing drives of proficiency with ones where the team struggled to get in sync. In the end, Buffalo did just enough to squeak out a field goal victory.

Quarterback Josh Allen battled through an injured elbow, ultimately taking control of the game. With the Bills down by four, Buffalo’s brass put the ball in Allen’s hands.  Allen moved the team down the field efficiently both with his arm and his legs. Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey leaned on the quick-fire attack to get down the field quickly and alleviate some of the offensive line issues.

Allen led Buffalo on a 14-play, 90-yard drive to give the Bills a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter. Allen found Stefon Diggs for a five-yard touchdown pass.

On the ensuing drive, Detroit tied the game with a field goal. That left Buffalo with 23 seconds remaining on the clock. Buffalo moved the ball down the field briskly on three plays. Allen found Diggs on a 36-yard pass. Allen then completed two quarterback rushes to put the Bills in field goal range. Tyler Bass nailed the 45-yard field goal, which put Buffalo on top for good.

Allen went 24-of-42 for 253 yards, two touchdown passes, and an interception. Allen added 78 rushing yards on 10 carries. Isaiah McKenzie broke out with six receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown reception. Diggs ended up with 77 receiving yards on eight receptions and touchdown. Most of his significant damage came late in the game.

Buffalo’s defense flashed at times as well. Ed Oliver recorded a safety. AJ Klein registered nine tackles in his first start back with the Bills, while Jordan Poyer led the way with 10 tackles. Da’Quan Jones also recorded a sack.

The Bills gutted out the victory with several injury issues. Mitch Morse, Tremaine Edmunds, and Greg Rousseau were inactive. Von Miller and Dion Dawkins left the game as well.

Buffalo had to overcome the injuries and several self-inflicted wounds to make it to the finish line of this game. Buffalo’s defense allowed Jared Goff to look like an All-Pro at times. Amon-Ra St. Brown carved up the Bills depleted secondary, catching nine passes for 122 yards. Buffalo’s secondary was the victim of several missed tackles as well.

Tyler Bass missed a point after touchdown. It was his first missed PAT on the season. Bass redeemed himself with the last-second game-winning field goal.

Buffalo’s offense was a bit inconsistent as well. For a large chunk of the game, it appeared that Allen was pressing through his injury. Allen had struggles with finding his favorite target, Stefon Diggs. At one point, Allen connected with Diggs on only 3-of-10 targets entering the final drives.

The Bills offensive line struggled to give Allen time to pass as well. The pocket was collapsing on virtually each of Allen’s dropbacks. The return of Mitch Morse could help stabilize the unit once again.

Still, a win is a win, and this one is sweeter with the holiday as a backdrop. Buffalo has a week to recover ahead of three divisional games. Buffalo takes on New England in Foxboro next Thursday.


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Story originally appeared on Bills Wire