Thanksgiving and the Detroit Lions. They go together like mashed potatoes and gravy. And no matter how bad people’s stomach ache is on Twitter, it’s going nowhere.
And this year, people might even be thankful that the Lions are on their TV screens. Dan Campbell has this team despite a 1-6 start to the year amid a three-game winning streak and somehow chasing the playoffs. The Buffalo Bills are an extremely tough opponent and a real litmus test of whether Detroit’s sudden turnaround is real or foolproof.
This won’t be the first contender the Lions play this season. They have competed against the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles. Also, the Buffalo Bills aren’t playing their best football right now. They’ve lost two of their last three games and quarterback Josh Allen has turned the ball over early and often. For a Lions defense that has forced seven turnovers in their last three games, this could be kismet for the Lions.
Ford Field will bounce Thursday afternoon with a crowd expected to approach an all-time record for a Lions game at that field.
Throughout the game we will be updating this post live with the result updates, drive-by-drive analysis, highlights and any injury news happening during the game. All you have to do is hang out here, update occasionally and enjoy the content.
Kick-off is at 12:30 p.m. ET. I’ll see you then.
The Detroit Lions got the ball first, but they would give it up quickly after two incomplete passes from Jared Goff, including a deep shot at DJ Chark, who didn’t have much of a chance to complete it. But the Lions defense quickly got a three-and-out after a drop from Stefon Diggs and pressure forced Josh Allen out of the pocket on the third and long.
The Lions had a punt-return scare when Calif Raymond fumbled the ball, but James Houston — playing in his first NFL game — made it big on the recovery, holding the ball with Detroit at their own 39-yard streak. Line.
Detroit would pick up the game’s first conversion with a Jamaal Williams at center on a third and 1. A 16-yard quick pass to DJ Chark put the Lions inside the Buffalo 30-yard line. Detroit converted a third and ninth clutch with a tilt to Amon-Ra St. Brown to the Bills 14-yard line. The Lions then faced a fourth and a 1 at the 5-yard line and while they picked it up the Bills were flagged for offside and the Lions took the penalty. On the next play, Jamaal Williams hit from the 2-yard line to give Detroit an A 7-0 Lions to lead.
The Bills offensive started to get things moving. Josh Allen found Gabe Davis for a 16-yard putt, and then Devin Singletary picked up a third and one. Allen caught the Lions in undisciplined rush lanes and charged up the middle for a 21-yard gain to the Lions’ 23-yard line. Then, in third and sixth place, Allen threw a perfect pass over Will Harris’ head into the waiting arms of Isaiah McKenzie for the game-winning touchdown. 7-7
The Lions could still win another third and long after Goff found St. Brown, who absorbed a big hit to gain 13 to end the first quarter.
After a trick play gone wrong, the Lions grabbed another first down with a nice screen pass to Justin Jackson, putting Detroit on the Bills side of the field. But Williams fumbled with football a few games later, and Ed Oliver recovered to hand the ball to Buffalo at their own 42-yard line.
After a few first downs, the Bills made a big play on the floor when Singletary broke through a tackle for a 19-yard gain to the 11-yard line. Allen then crawled to 7 and the Bills took the lead after Allen fumbled the snap and worked his way into the end zone. 14-7 bills.
The Lions took a bit of a risk on the next possession, starting from their own 33-yard line in fourth and 1st place. However, Williams picked it up. Detroit then picked up 22 yards on a sneak throw at rookie tight end James Mitchell, putting the Lions in the red zone for the second time that day. Detroit led a tie against D’Andre Swift in third and third and appeared to have scored, but Replay officials ordered him at the 2.5-yard line and fielded the Lions from there. That almost turned out to be a major upset, but the Lions upped the aggression again in fourth and goal, and a play-action pass fooled the Bills, leaving a wide-open St. Brown to tie the score 14-14
On that drive, Bill’s pass rusher Von Miller suffered a serious knee injury and was ruled out for the rest of the game.
The Bills had 1:52 and two timeouts to regain the lead before halftime, starting at their own 25-yard line. Allen made a tremendous start with a 27-yard pass to McKenzie. A third down conversion to Diggs put them on the edge of field goal position. Another 16-yard gain from McKenzie pushed the Bills to the 20-yard line with 20 seconds remaining. But the Lions would remain strong thanks to a sack from rookie James Houston. Buffalo would end the half with a 47-yard field goal to take one 17-14 bills lead to the dressing room.
The Bills got out of some early trouble on the opening drive. Allen faced a third and 13 and found Davis in midfield for a 16-yard gain. Then Allen hit the hole in Detroit’s zone coverage on a second and 21, connecting with McKenzie for 30 yards. During the game, Julian Okwara appeared to suffer a serious injury to his elbow. He didn’t come back.
The Lions appeared to get a stop to pin the Bills on a long field goal attempt, but Jerry Jacobs was called out for pass interference on a ball thrown behind Diggs. That gave the Bills a first-and-goal from the 10-yard line. But the ball didn’t lie when Malcolm Rodriguez tipped over the next Allen pass and he fell into the arms of fellow linebacker Alex Anzalone for an interception.
Detroit started the next drive at their own 8-yard line with an opportunity to retake the lead. Unfortunately for the Lions, after a big 5-yard loss to open the drive, Goff took a sack in the end zone to give the Bills an A 19-14 lead.
Buffalo quickly got into midfield on the drive that followed thanks to a 15-yard run from Singletary. But Detroit’s defense would be off the field thanks to another sack from Houston after Aidan Hutchinson and John Cominsky helped flush Allen from the pocket.