Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs the ball during the first half of an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Thursday 24, 2022 (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Bills 28, Lions 25
The Buffalo Bills have become plenty familiar with the trek between Buffalo and Detroit over the last week, having just beaten the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field on Sunday. That game saw Buffalo get off to a slow offensive start before running away as the game went along, something they came into Week 12 hoping to change. Detroit, meanwhile, entered the game running hot off three straight wins – two of which came away from Ford Field.
The Bills’ early game woes continued on their first drive, punting after going three-and-out. Detroit did as well, but the Lions would get on the board first midway through the first quarter on Jamaal Williams’ NFL-leading 13th touchdown run of the year. The Bills responded on the next drive, as a long run by Josh Allen set up a 19-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie. After the Lions fumbled on their next drive, Buffalo marched downfield quickly again – and this time, Josh Allen finished the drive himself with a 4-yard touchdown scramble. The Lions continued the back-and-forth affair with Amon-Ra St. Brown’s 1-yard touchdown catch on the next drive to tie it 14-14 but left Buffalo almost two full minutes before the half. Bills’ kicker Tyler Bass added a field goal on the half’s final play to break the tie at 17-14.
Buffalo’s first drive of the second half showed promise to extend the lead, but Alex Anzalone picked off Josh Allen deep in Lions’ territory to thwart the threat. Buffalo scored first in the second half anyway, sacking Jared Goff in his own end zone on third-and-15 to make it 19-14. The Lions continued to fight as the game reached the fourth quarter, eventually taking back a 22-19 lead with 13:47 to play on D.J. Chark’s touchdown catch and D’Andre Swift’s two-point conversion run. The Bills eventually answered back with 2:40 to go, taking a 25-22 lead on Stefon Diggs’ touchdown reception and after Tyler Bass’ missed extra point. Detroit drove into Buffalo territory but sputtered before reaching the 30-yard line with 28 seconds to play. Michael Badgley barely sneaked the game-tying kick inside the right upright, leaving Buffalo with 23 seconds to set up their own potential game-winner. Josh Allen immediately fired an accurate 36-yard pass to Stefon Diggs, and two plays later, Tyler Bass drilled a 45-yarder to win the game for the Bills.
Buffalo leaves Detroit at long last, having picked up two straight wins, moving them to 8-3 on the year and ensuring they’ll continue to hold first place in the AFC East alone. Detroit, now 4-7 after a valiant effort, can hardly afford another loss if they hope to sneak into the NFC Playoffs. The win was bittersweet for the Bills on the injury front, though, as Von Miller’s status is unknown moving forward after leaving in the first half with an injured knee.
Next Week: Buffalo: at New England, Detroit: vs. Jacksonville
Vikings 33, Patriots 26
The Minnesota Vikings’ seven-game win streak came to an end last Sunday at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, calling into question for many fans the legitimacy of their 8-2 record without a single win by more than one score. Minnesota welcomed the New England Patriots to U.S. Bank Stadium for Thursday’s Thanksgiving nightcap, a team nursing a three game win streak of their own. Both teams had plenty to play for in terms of playoff implications to start the night, but it was Minnesota who jumped on the board first.
The Vikings’ first drive went 80 yards over just eight plays, concluding with Kirk Cousins’ six-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jefferson. Not to be outdone, quarterback Mac Jones and the Patriots made even quicker work of the Vikings’ defense on their first drive. Jones’ 34-yard strike to Nelson Agholor completed a touchdown drive of just five plays, tying the game at seven less than seven minutes into the proceedings. An interception of Kirk Cousins by Patriots’ cornerback Jonathan Jones set up the New England deep in Vikings territory late in the first quarter, and moments later kicker Nick Folk drilled a field goal for a 10-7 Pats lead. Each team kicked an additional field goal as the second quarter went on, making it 13-10 with five minutes before half. Minnesota took back the lead shortly after the two minute warning on T.J. Hockenson’s 1-yard touchdown catch, but Greg Joseph’s missed extra point left New England within a field goal at 16-13. With limited time to spare before the half, Mac Jones repeatedly connected with his receivers to set up Nick Folk’s third field goal of the night to tie the game at 16 heading into halftime.
New England jumped back into the driver’s seat coming out of halftime, pushing 75 yards downfield in eight plays en route to Hunter Henry’s 37-yard touchdown and a 23-16 lead. It wouldn’t last long though, as Minnesota’s Kene Nwangwu ran back the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a tying touchdown. New England and Minnesota exchanged field goals on their next two drives, tying the game at 26 and setting the stage for a heart-stopping fourth quarter.
Minnesota finally stopped the Patriots’ offense on their first possession of the fourth quarter, and worked their way into plus territory on the following drive after a New England penalty nullified what should have been a third down stop. Kirk Cousins made the opportunity count, finding Adan Thielen in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown and a 33-26 lead with 9:34 to go. The Vikings’ defense came up with the stops they needed from there, sacking Mac Jones repeatedly in key situations to preserve the win.
Minnesota now moves to 9-2, maintaining a stranglehold on the NFC North and staying at most a game behind Philadelphia atop the NFC Playoff picture. The loss moves New England to 6-5, increasing chances that they’ll be relying on a Wild Card berth to make the AFC Playoffs.
Next Week: New England: vs. Buffalo, Minnesota: vs. NY Jets