Report card: Buffalo Bills top Detroit Lions, 28-25

Check out Bills Wire’s Week 12 report card for the Buffalo Bills (8-3) following the team’s 28-25 win over the Detroit Lions (4-7) on Thanksgiving:

Quarterback: A-

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Josh Allen’s grade was buoyed by his late-game heroics. It’s apparent that Allen’s elbow injury is hindering his play.

Despite that, when needed the most, Allen performed. Coaches Sean McDermott and Ken Dorsey are walking a fine line, as they are putting Allen in alarming situations to further injure their franchise quarterback.

To get the victory, Buffalo put the game on Allen’s back. At some point, it may come back to haunt them. Allen finished 24-of-42 for 253 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Allen added 10 rushes for 78 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Running back: B

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Devin Singletary was solid on the afternoon, rushing 14 times for 72 yards.

Still, the focus went to Allen when the Bills needed big yards on the ground late in the game. James Cook and Nyheim Hines were non-factors, rushing a combined three times for seven yards.

Receivers/ Tight ends: A-

(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Isaiah McKenzie had his biggest game of the year, catching six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown reception. Stefon Diggs had a rough start, as he and Allen struggled to get in sync for the first portion of the afternoon.

But when it mattered most, Allen looked to Diggs.

Diggs caught the touchdown to give the Bills a late lead, and then he caught the 36-yard rope from Allen to put the Bills in field goal position late in the fourth quarter.

Gabe Davis had a nice start as well but largely was invisible late in the game.

Offensive line: D+

(AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Understandably, Buffalo’s offensive line was battling injuries. Mitch Morse was inactive, and Dion Dawkins (ankle) did not play in the second half.

Even so, this is a unit that is getting their franchise quarterback clobbered on a regular basis. Spencer Brown was far from stellar. Greg Van Roten took some time to settle in.

Even when Dawkins was playing, he was not having the greatest outing. There was some success in creating holes on the ground at times, but their pass-blocking was abhorrent.

Defensive line: B+

Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports’

Ed Oliver was awesome. Oliver had a field day with the reserve guards on the Lions offensive line, including a safety and forced fumble that he recovered.

DaQuan Jones also found his way into the backfield quite a few times. Tim Settle and Shaq Lawson also contributed tackles for loss. Jordan Phillips added two quarterback hits as well.

The major story centers on Von Miller.

Miller left the game with a knee injury. The unit will look quite different if Miller is out for any extended time. With Greg Rousseau and AJ Epenesa already nursing injuries, the unit that relies on a strong rotation to keep players fresh will need to see other players step up and take a larger role.

Linebackers: B

Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) runs by Buffalo Bills linebacker A.J. Klein (52) during the second half at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022.

AJ Klein filled in admirably for Tremaine Edmunds. Klein’s veteran presence helped stabilize the middle of the defense, as he was a stronger option than Terrel Bernard in Edmunds’ place.

Matt Milano played another strong game. While it wasn’t perfect, Milano was still everywhere on the field. Klein was second on the Bills with nine tackles. Milano had seven.

Secondary: D+

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (USAT photo)

It was another week where the Bills secondary made a middle-of-the-road quarterback look like a Pro Bowler. Amon-Ra St. Brown had a field day against the Buffalo unit, catching nine passes for 122 yards and one touchdown.

It’s clear that this unit is outmatched by the opponent’s receivers. The unit has struggled to make tackles, which was a major problem on Thursday. It was nice to see Tre’Davious White in the game. However, White played sparingly.

Hopefully, it’s the start of something positive, as this unit needs to be better against stronger competition.

Special teams: B-

Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12’s special teams All-Star was Sam Martin, who averaged over 49 yards per punt. The special teams unit had an inconsistent day, as they allowed a big 41-yard punt return that feature several whiffs on tackles by the coverage unit.

Tyler bass missed a PAT, but fortunately was given a reprieve through this game-winning field goal.

Coaching: C+

(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

There has to be a better option for Buffalo than constantly putting the game on Allen’s back. The quick-strike passing attack on the closing drives of the game should have been part of the entire game plan. The Bills defense had far too many missed tackles. More needs to be done to cover up the deficiencies on the field due to injuries.

Story originally appeared on Bills Wire