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Buffalo Bills 26, Dallas Cowboys 15: Rapid recap and notes

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Hello America. Meet the Bills.

The Buffalo Bills, who “hadn’t beaten anybody” all season, emphatically settled the score by crushing the Dallas Cowboys 26-15 in front of the entire nation on Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys opened the game with a nine play, 75-yard touchdown drive, but everything came up Bills from that point forward. Buffalo scored 26 unanswered points against a desperate Dallas squad to silence their critics with a “signature win.” The Cowboys scored a late eight points, but the Bills spent most of the fourth quarter running clock.

The opening narrative for this game was that Josh Allen could struggle with nerves in the spotlight, against “America’s Team” in their zillion-dollar stadium. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Allen dealt with pressure early, but confidently dissected the Cowboys’ defense. He completed 19-of-24 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown. He also carried the ball eight times for 43 yards and another touchdown. John Brown added a 28-yard touchdown pass on a trick play.

Allen wasn’t the only one with a great day. The entire defense set the table for Buffalo’s victory. After the opening touchdown, the Bills forced two punts, then two turnovers. Star Lotulelei caught an interception, and Ed Oliver forced a fumble, recovered by Trent Murphy. Those turnovers netted seven points, but they also killed Dallas’ momentum as the Bills steadily built a lead.

The Bills special teams, hoping for a big day against Dallas, didn’t quite deliver. Stephen Hauschka missed an extra point and a 50-yard field goal, and Andre Roberts never had an opportunity for a big gain. But Lotulelei blocked a Dallas field goal, and Cowboys kicker Brett Maher missed another one.

Injury report

  • Micah Hyde made a brief exit in the first quarter, but came back and played out the entire game.

Miscellaneous

  • Have a day, Star Lotulelei! An interception, the first of his career. A blocked field-goal kick. He earned a healthy helping of turkey after stuffing the Cowboys’ offense.
  • Ed Oliver also had a huge day. He landed two sacks, and forced a fumble on one. It was his first forced fumble (and first created turnover) in his career.
  • Great day for Cole Beasley, in his “revenge” trip to Dallas. He led Buffalo’s offense with six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. He was two yards off his career single-game high, set in 2015.
  • Just about everything clicked for the Bills today, even the trick plays. Brian Daboll dialed up a double-reverse pass from John Brown to Devin Singletary, and all it did was earn Buffalo six points.
  • Sean McDermott tried, but didn’t quite manage his third consecutive week with a successful challenge. On a third-and-one spot, the referees let the call stand.
  • With nine wins, the Bills have clinched a winning season—before December.
  • This is also the team’s best season open since the 1996 season.
  • What November collapse? The Bills finished the month with a 3-1 record.
  • This game now sets up possibly the biggest regular-season match-up in 30 years of Bills football. The 9-3 Bills will host the red-hot 9-2 Baltimore Ravens, who may hit 10-2 if they can beat the San Francisco 49ers.
  • That game will also be the latest meeting between 2018 NFL Draft quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen are the best performers from this season.