With the 2018 NFL season in the books, we look back at the year and our beloved Buffalo Bills. Every week is a story, and we bring this to you through the lens of key plays that defined each game. Your Week 15 match-up:
Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills had lost two heart-breakers to division rivals. Next up, the Detroit Lions who were also in the midst of a disappointing season. The Lions were first on the board thanks to Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay. Though the Bills responded, a 115-yard first half for Golladay wasn’t comforting and the Bills were down by six when halftime rolled around. A lack of running backs put the game on Josh Allen’s shoulders and key drops from receivers seemed destined to doom the Bills. In the end, the defense tightened like a noose and the offense did just enough to pull out the win.
Lorenzo Alexander quarterback hit (Q1, 6:39)
Looking at the usual stats, this game would appear to have been a disaster for the Buffalo pass rush given their lack of (zero) sacks. The reality is that good decision-making from Matthew Stafford kept him from being tackled, but he was harassed all day. In the first half he was largely able to overcome this by finding Kenny Golladay. Lorenzo Alexander had a great day, disrupting a number of plays including this one.
Josh Allen incomplete pass (Q2, 8:57)
Josh Allen’s 50% completion rate stands out for the wrong reasons, but Allen was on target against the Lions. Two pass-interference calls didn’t count against Allen’s rate but potentially took more than 60 yards off the stat sheet, including over 40 on this play. Miscues from the depleted receiving group haunted the Bills all day. Allen finished with just over 200 yards but could have surpassed 300 with just a couple breaks going his way. This penalty helped the drive continue and led to the Bills’ first touchdown. While the Lions had scored first, a failed two-point attempt meant the Bills had taken the lead.
Patrick DiMarco runs the ball (Q3, 9:55)
Another notch in Allen’s cap is that he was playing without a strong running game to support the team. LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory didn’t suit up due to injury. Marcus Murphy was injured during the second quarter, which left Keith Ford as the only healthy running back. The Bills were so desperate they even let Patrick DiMarco carry the ball once (when it looked like Ford was shaken up too). This play represents DiMarco’s entire catalog of rushing attempts for the 2018 season.
Shaq Lawson pass deflection (Q3, 7:14)
Shaq Lawson was integral in the defense pitching a shutout in the second half. A major factor in pressuring Matthew Stafford, Lawson and company slammed the door on nearly every drive. The closest the Lions got to a score in the second half was a missed field goal from 48 yards away. The Lions elected to only chip Lawson here and it didn’t pay off.
Robert Foster touchdown (Q4, 10:35)
With the Lions only ahead by six, the Bills just needed one drive. It came at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Josh Allen connected with Robert Foster for this 42-yard touchdown. Another on-target pass from Allen was pulled in when they needed it. The defense continued to deny the Lions and the Bills offense ground down the clock to secure the narrow victory.
Which play best defines the Bills’ narrow victory over the Lions?
This poll is closed
Lorenzo Alexander QB hit
Josh Allen incomplete pass
Patrick DiMarco’s 2018 rushing highlight reel
Shaq Lawson knocks down a pass
Robert Foster touchdown