A Thanksgiving Day tradition unlike any other with the Detroit Lions playing saw them welcome the Buffalo Bills to Ford Field. It was an extremely close game that the Lions hung in right until the very end. The Bills won 28-25 on a last second field goal, from the game Tayyib Abu has the Detroit Lions takeaways, and Marissa Myers has the Buffalo Bills takeaways.
Detroit Lions Takeaways:
-Amon Ra St. Brown Is The Man
Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes said Amon-Ra St. Brown reminded him of Hines Ward. St. Brown plays with nastiness and aggression, but he also has the deft ability of a surgeon. The second-year wideout shone in this game as he tallied 122 yards on nine receptions and one touchdown. The former USC star caused problems all game long for the Bills’ secondary. St. Brown has it all; he makes tough catches, gets open, and is a Yards After Catch threat. And he is built for big moments; on a big fourth down, the Lions pulled a play from the Los Angeles Rams’ playbook and used St. Brown on an end-around. The stubborn, skillful receiver is becoming a superstar.
-Lack of Depth Causes Problems
The Lions had starters Jeff Okudah, Josh Paschal, Evan Brown, Jonah Jackson and Josh Reynolds injured for this game. Add those injuries to Romeo Okwara, Jameson Williams, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Tracy Walker, and Tommy Kraemer, and the Lions are short-handed. The lack of depth really hurt the Lions. Fifth and sixth string guards Dan Skipper and Kayode Awosika struggled in pass protection and run-blocking. Converted corner Will Harris was picked on all game and was beaten by Stefon Diggs on Josh Allen’s laser beam throw on the final drive. The Lions’ lack of depth impacted them and arguably cost them the win.
-The Lions Are Starting to Prowl
While it is understandable that fans are disappointed with this defeat, there are positives. Lions fans must not embrace the fatalistic ‘everything is wrong’ mentality. The Lions already have more wins than last season, and with games against the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, and divisional rivals, Detroit should have chances to win games. They are a well-coached, committed, and tough team—young players like Aidan Hutchinson, Jeff Okudah, St. Brown, Penei Sewell, Jonah Jackson, and Malcolm Rodriguez are young building blocks. The Lions have demonstrated so much progression from last year that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The fact that they pushed the pre-season Super Bowl favorite underlines that progression. There is plenty to be optimistic about, even if it hurts now. The Lions are emerging from their three-decade hibernation, they are beginning to prowl. It will take time, but as Tony Romo said, ‘the Lions are coming.’
Buffalo Bills Takeaways:
-Third Down Defensive Struggles Continues
The first defensive drive for the Bills went well as they forced a three-and-out. After that though, the third down issues they have been having started to come back. On the Lions’ second offensive drive of the day, they converted a third-and-one, third-and-eight, and a third-and-four. On the next drive for the Lions, the Bills forced them into a third-and-nine after DaQuan Jones sacked Jared Goff, but with the Bills playing soft zone, the Lions converted a third down again. In total the Lions converted six third downs, and even completed three fourth downs due to some not sound tackling from the Bills.
-Ed Oliver and Thanksgiving Games
There just seems to be something about Ed Oliver and playing on Thanksgiving Day games. In 2019 against the Dallas Cowboys, he had four tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass defended. Against the New Orleans Saints last year, he had four tackles, a half sack, two quarterback hits, and a pass defended. His dominance continued today. Against the Lions, Oliver recovered a fumble, recorded a safety, a sack, and six tackles. Oliver took advantage of the backup guards the Lions had in to get pressure on Goff and make big stops to help a defensive unit that struggled today.
-Josh Allen Is Getting Healthier
Ever since the UCL injury that Josh Allen suffered against the New York Jets, his play had taken a bit of a hit. Against the Minnesota Vikings, he did pass for 330 yards but threw two interceptions, and last week he threw for a season-low 197 yards and rushed for a season-low seven yards. Allen returned to form against the Lions. With running for a touchdown he tied Michael Vick’s record of the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 36, and with two passing touchdowns as well he now has 162 total touchdowns to have the second most in a player’s first five seasons, trailing only Dan Marino. Towards the middle of the game Allen faced some adversity missing some throws and throwing an interception. He bounced back though to throw for 253 yards while leading them down the field for the game winning field goal with 23 seconds left. Allen also ran for 78 yards, with 32 being over expected according to Next Gen Stats.