Updated: Apr 29
Matthew Silka, Staff Writer
QB Josh Allen runs into the endzone for a Bills touchdown. Photo//Paul Sancya/AP
Coming off of a three game win streak, the Detroit Lions welcomed the Buffalo Bills into Ford Field for a Thanksgiving showdown.
Not much was expected from Detroit in this game. The Bills were and still are the favorites to win the Super Bowl as they have been one of the most electric teams in the NFL over the past three seasons.
Despite this, the Lions hung around for the entire game and managed to create big play after big play. They came up just short in the end.
Let’s recap how it all went down…
Detroit started the game off with the ball, but quickly went three-and-out. However, their defense did the same to quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills. Allen was under pressure for the first drive and made a few errant throws to give the Lions possession.
The Lions marched down the field after a few nice completions from quarterback Jared Goff. RB Jamaal Williams converted two third-and-short conversions.
Detroit got all the way down to the Bills’ five-yard line but had a decision to make on fourth-and-one. Luckily, the Bills jumped offsides, giving Detroit the automatic first down. Williams punched it in for the score on the next play making it 7-0 Lions. It was Williams’ 13th rushing TD of the season, which leads the NFL.
Buffalo was able to respond rather quickly. Allen connected with receivers Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie to get deep into Detroit territory. Allen found McKenzie again for a 21-yard touchdown to tie the score 7-7.
On the Lions ensuing drive, the usually reliable Williams fumbled the ball, giving Buffalo great field position at the Detroit 40-yard line. The Bills picked up a couple of first downs, and then Allen scrambled for the touchdown. 14-7 Buffalo.
Dan Campbell was faced with the dreaded fourth-and-short on the next drive deep in their own territory. Campbell rolled the dice and went for it, getting the first down. The Lions continued to march down the field, but the Bills put up a goal line stand, making it fourth down once again. A nice play-action pass fooled the Bills on the fourth-and-goal, allowing receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to get open for the touchdown, tying the game 14-14.
With two minutes left before the half, Buffalo looked to add to their total. They were able to do so after a few quick passes from Allen got them into field goal territory. Kicker Tyler Bass knocked in the 47-yarder to give Buffalo the 17-14 lead going into halftime.
The Bills received the ball to start the second half and marched into Lions territory with some help from a defensive pass interference call on Jerry Jacobs. However, rookie LB Malcolm Rodriguez tipped an Allen pass into the arms of Alex Anzalone, who came down with the interception.
Detroit was backed up against their own goal line after the turnover. However, Goff was not able to escape oncoming tacklers on third down, tripping up in the endzone for a safety. 19-14 Bills.
The Lions did well to force Buffalo off the field on the ensuing possession. Detroit had a decent drive of their own going all the way to Buffalo’s 11-yard line. The drive stalled out, and kicker Michael Badgely missed a 29-yard attempt to keep the score stagnant.
Another great defensive stop got Detroit the ball back quickly. Goff threw a great tight ball to WR DJ Chark for a touchdown and, to cap off the drive, D’Andre Swift converted the two-point conversion to make the score 22-19 Lions.
Eventually, the Bills put together a great drive, finally breaking down the Detroit defense. Deep into the red zone, Allen connected with star receiver Stefon Diggs for a five-yard score. However, Bass missed the extra point, keeping the Lions within a field goal, 25-22.
The Lions were given around three minutes to at least tie the game, and they did just that. Badgley redeemed himself by sneaking in a 51-yard field goal to tie the game 25-25 with only 23 seconds to go.
Apparently, 23 seconds was too many to give Allen and the Bills, who are one of the best teams in the league at scoring quickly in crunch time. Allen immediately found Diggs again for 40 yards, nearly getting into field goal range already. Allen ran the ball a few times and gained pretty good yardage, allowing Bass to drill a 43-yarder to put the game away.
Buffalo: 28, Detroit: 25
This was a devastating loss for the Lions, as they had played very well to the end. Poor clock management and allowing big plays cost them the win.
The Lions (4-7) will likely need to win the rest of the games on their schedule to make the playoffs. They will look to start that streak against the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) next Sunday at home.