The Buffalo Bills marched into Arlington, Texas on Thanksgiving Day and resoundingly defeated the Dallas Cowboys, scoring a 26-15 victory that was actually far more of a blowout than the final score would suggest. After giving up a touchdown on the game’s first possession, Buffalo rattled off 26 unanswered points. They held a 26-7 lead late into the fourth quarter, when the Cowboys were able to tack on a garbage-time touchdown.
The Bills needed big performances from their big-time players, and that’s exactly what those players gave them in this matchup. Here’s how our five players to watch performed this week.
QB Josh Allen
On his first drop-back of the game, Allen was sacked. Everything pointed upward from there, however, as Buffalo’s second-year quarterback showed why he was a top-ten choice in the 2018 NFL Draft. Allen was masterful all day, dissecting the Dallas defense with his arm and his legs en route to another multi-touchdown performance. He completed a career-high 79% of his passes, hitting on 19-of-24 attempts for 231 yards and a touchdown pass. He also gained 43 yards rushing on ten attempts, adding another touchdown on the ground. There were a slew of the “wow” plays that Allen makes in this one—a third-down completion from the shadow of his own goal posts to Cole Beasley, a touchdown pass to the same receiver while on the run where he threaded the needle against zone coverage, a fumbled-snap-turned-four-yard gain on fourth down—and none of the head-scratchers that plagued him through even the early portion of this year. Allen’s exponential growth has been the best part of what has been a fantastic season for the Bills in 2019. There is still plenty of work to do, but a big-time win on a big-time stage was exactly what the Bills needed, and Allen is a major reason why they were successful.
RB Devin Singletary
Buffalo’s top running back was efficient on the afternoon, touching the ball 17 times and gaining 101 yards. Buffalo’s rushing attack was strong enough to keep the team on schedule offensively, as Singletary ran 14 times for 63 yards, easily outpacing veteran Frank Gore (9 carries for 11 yards). Singletary also added three receptions on four targets for 38 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown reception on a beautiful double-reverse pass thrown by wide receiver John Brown. Thursday’s contest marked the fifth consecutive game where Singletary outpaced Gore in touches out of the backfield, and while he still trails the veteran on the season overall (Gore has 156 touches to Singletary’s 118), the gap is closing. His Thanksgiving Day performance was another positive in a strong rookie year.
WR Cole Beasley
In the Revenge of the Smurfs, Beasley proved to be the star, beating his old team repeatedly for big plays on a national stage. Beasley nearly set a career-high in receiving yardage, missing by only two yards in a six-catch, 110-yard performance. He was on the receiving end of two of the best plays of the day, as he found open space for Allen’s only passing touchdown of the day on a great route against zone coverage in the second quarter. He also kept his route going when Allen extended a play on third and long from Buffalo’s own two yard line, making a catch on an absolutely phenomenal throw. Beasley has quietly been among the most efficient receivers in the league over the last month, as he has hauled in 20 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns over his last four games. He’s only been targeted 26 times in that span, so clearly the connection between Beasley and Allen is blossoming into what general manager Brandon Beane thought it would when they signed him this offseason. Expect Beasley to continue his effectiveness as the season progresses, especially if teams double-team John Brown in December and beyond.
G Jon Feliciano
With center Mitch Morse back in the lineup, Feliciano was back to his regular spot at right guard, and he continued to be a strong force along Buffalo’s front line. Feliciano has been a great find for Beane and company, as the former Oakland Raiders lineman landed with Buffalo on a modest contract (two years, $7.25 million) that looks even better in hindsight. If Buffalo wanted to release Feliciano, they could at the end of the year and only owe $750,000 against the cap in dead money. They’d also be insane, as he has been among their best free-agent signings of a great offseason signing period. Feliciano was once again solid against Dallas.
LB Matt Milano
Ezekiel Elliott is a tough mark for anyone, and the All-Pro rusher was able to put up his fantasy football numbers in the blowout loss (12 carries, 71 yards, seven receptions, 66 yards). However, Milano did a nice job limiting Elliott once the sledding toughened, as he was held out of the end zone. Milano only had four tackles on the day, but he added two pass breakups and a quarterback hit to his ledger. His 2019 season has been a strong one, and his performance on Thursday continued that trend.