The Detroit Lions had a great chance to beat the Buffalo Bills. They were up 22-19 in the fourth quarter. They stopped Buffalo’s offense on the drive immediately following that go-ahead touchdown. All they had to do was run some clock and score again. They did neither, as the Bills scored on their penultimate drive to make it a 25-22 game.
Detroit didn’t roll over, though, and they went down the field and kicked a field goal of their own to tie the game with just 23 seconds left. Had quarterback Jared Goff thrown a better ball on a 3rd & 1 play that immediately preceded that field goal, Detroit could have easily scored a touchdown to set up a wild victory. Had kicker Michael Badgley not hooked a 29-yard field goal earlier in the second half, he’d have given Detroit a lead with 23 seconds left.
Alas, those things didn’t happen, but what did happen was the Bills eked out a 28-25 win on the road on Thanksgiving Day. They did so in spite of some great performances from our five Lions to watch on Thursday.
RB Jamaal Williams
The former Green Bay Packers reserve is on a torrid touchdown pace this year, and the Bills were his latest victim. Williams opened the day’s scoring by plunging into the end zone from two yards out to cap a 12-play, 61-yard scoring drive for Detroit. Williams totaled 66 yards on 18 carries, and he wasn’t targeted in the passing game. In total, Buffalo held the three-headed monster of Williams, D’Andre Swift, and Justin Jackson to just 89 yards on 27 carries.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
The latest in a line of No. 1 wideouts to torch the Bills’ secondary is St. Brown, who saw 10 targets come his way on the afternoon. He caught nine of those targets for a total of 122 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball once for a seven-yard gain, converting a big fourth down for Detroit that set up their game-tying field goal late in the fourth quarter. Whether St. Brown was guarded by Dane Jackson or Christian Benford, he found ways to make the Bills pay.
DE Aidan Hutchinson
This is wild: even with all the issues Buffalo had on their offensive line, with their left tackle Dion Dawkins out in the second half, with their right guard Ryan Bates playing center, and Greg Van Roten filling in at right guard, Hutchinson did not register a single statistic this week. Nothing. He played on 79% of Detroit’s defensive snaps and wasn’t credited with so much as a quarterback hit, a tackle, nothing. That’s not to say that Buffalo’s offensive line had a banner day, as they allowed three sacks and eight quarterback hits overall, but they did do a nice job neutralizing Hutchinson.
LB Alex Anzalone
The latest recipient of a Josh Allen red zone interception was Anzalone, who caught a deflected pass to thwart a potential Bills touchdown drive in the third quarter. Teammate Malcolm Rodriguez made a great play to deflect the pass, as he easily read the RPO that Buffalo called on 1st & Goal. He baited Allen into thinking he’d bitten on the run fake, and once Allen pulled it, he dropped into the zone and nearly made the pick himself. Anzalone was there to reap the reward, though, and he ended the drive. Anzalone was also Detroit’s leading tackler with nine stops on the day.
CB Amani Oruwariye
This was a dart throw, admittedly, as I am in no way qualified to make an assumption as to who would start at corner in Jeff Okudah’s absence for Detroit. It wasn’t Oruwariye, as the Lions went with Mike Hughes, Jerry Jacobs, and Will Harris as the three main corners. When Jacobs left with a concussion, Oruwariye did play some defensive snaps, appearing on 19 in the second half of the game. He made two tackles on the day and did not break up a pass.