Image Credit: © Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
The Buffalo Bills feasted on the New Orleans Saints to cap off the NFL’s own feast of Thanksgiving Day football. Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw four touchdown passes as Buffalo left no doubt who was in charge on Thursday night. A fourth-quarter Saints touchdown was the only points allowed by the Bills defense in a 31-6 victory.
The win moves Buffalo to 7-4 overall and into first place – for the moment – due to the division tiebreaker, ahead of the New England Patriots atop the AFC East. The Patriots will host Tennessee on Sunday in a crucial AFC matchup. Buffalo gets to watch Sunday’s game in preparation for their showdown with New England next Monday night.
Thursday’s game was just what the Bills ordered. The defense started it off with a three-and-out, and then Allen, who went 23-for-28 for 260 yards, guided Buffalo to its first touchdown. The 10-play, 65-yard drive was capped by Allen’s seven-yard touchdown pass to TE Dawson Knox. It was Knox’s seventh scoring catch of the season, a franchise record for Bills tight ends.
© Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
A Tyler Bass field goal was the only other points scored in the first half. New Orleans would have trouble getting anything going on offense. The Saints have been plagued by injury all season. WR Michael Thomas, who led the league in receiving last year, hasn’t played a down in 2021. Quarterback Jameis Winston was lost to a knee injury for the season, and RB Alvin Kamara hasn’t played in three weeks. As a result, Buffalo held New Orleans to just 190 yards of total offense.
Allen would throw two more touchdown passes in the third quarter. The first went to Stefon Diggs, who finished Thursday with seven catches for 74 yards. The other touchdown pass in the quarter went to Knox. This time it was a 24-yard scoring play that added to Knox’s franchise record.
Buffalo’s final touchdown came midway through the fourth quarter when Allen hit RB Matt Breida with a short completion. Breida then turned it into a 23-yard scoring play. That score came after New Orleans only trip to the Bills end zone. Saints QB Trevor Siemian hit Nick Vannett with an 11-yard touchdown pass for New Orleans only points of the game.
© Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
The victory was costly for the Bills though, as CB Tre-Davious White was injured in the second quarter. It was later revealed that White had torn an ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will have his hands full getting the defense ready for the rest of the season.
While Allen’s four touchdowns led the offense to victory, the Bills quarterback did throw two more interceptions. They didn’t make a difference in this game, but it was the third time that Allen threw multiple picks in the last four games. In the Bills past four games, Allen has thrown seven interceptions and lost a fumble. That will need to be cleaned up as the Bills head into the remaining part of their schedule.
The Bills now enter a stretch of four games that could make or break the 2021 season. First, there is the Monday night game at home against the Patriots. Then, Buffalo will be at Tampa Bay, play Carolina at home, and travel to Foxborough for the second game against New England.
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