Thanksgiving and the Detroit Lions. They go together just like the mashed potatoes and gravy. And no matter how much people bellyache on Twitter, that’s not going anywhere.
And this year, people may actually be thankful the Lions are on their television screens. Dan Campbell has this team in the midst of a three-game winning streak and somehow in the hunt of the playoffs despite a 1-6 start to the year. the Buffalo Bills are an extremely tough opponent and a true litmus test for whether Detroit’s sudden turnaround is for real or fool’s gold.
This won’t be the first contender the Lions have played this season. they’ve gone toe-to-toe with the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks other Philly Eagles. Plus, the Buffalo Bills aren’t exactly 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 the past three games, this could be kismet for the Lions.
Ford Field will be hopping on Thursday afternoon, with a crowd expected to approach an all-time record for a Lions game on this field.
Throughout the entire game, we will be live updating this post with the score updates, drive-by-drive analysis, highlights and any injury news that happens during the game. All you have to do is hang out here, refresh occasionally, and enjoy the content.
Kickoff is at 12:30pm ET. We’ll see you then.
The Detroit Lions got the ball first, but they would give it up quickly after two incomplete passes by Jared Goff, including a deep shot to DJ Chark that didn’t have much of a shot at completing. But the Lions defense quickly got a three-and-out themselves, after a drop from Stefon Diggs and pressure forced Josh Allen out of the pocket on third-and-long.
The Lions had a scare on the punt return, as Caliph Raymond fumbled the ball, but James Houston—playing in his first NFL game—came up huge with the recovery, keeping the ball with Detroit at their own 39-yard line.
Detroit would pick up the first conversion of the game with a Jamaal Williams run up the middle on a third-and-1. A 16-yard quick pass to DJ Chark got the Lions inside Buffalo’s 30-yard line. Detroit converted a clutch third-and-9 with a slant to Amon-Ra St. Brown down to the Bills 14-yard line. The Lions then faced a fourth-and-1 at the 5-yard line, and while they picked it up, the Bills were offsides and the Lions took the penalty. On the next play, Jamaal Williams punched it in from the 2-yard line to give Detroit a 7-0 Lions lead.
The Bills offense started to get things moving. Josh Allen found Gabe Davis for a 16-yard strike, and then Devin Singletary picked up a third-and-1. Allen caught the Lions in undisciplined rush lanes and rushed up the middle for a 21-yard gain down to the Lions’ 23-yard line. Then on third-and-6, Allen lobbed a perfect pass over Will Harris’ head into the waiting arms of Isaiah McKenzie for the game-tying touchdown. 7-7
The Lions were able to pick up yet another third-and-long, after Goff found St. Brown, who absorbed a big hit to pick up 13 to finish off the first quarter.
After a failed trick play, the Lions picked up another first down on a nice screen pass to Justin Jackson, moving Detroit onto the Bills side of the field. But Williams fumbled the football a few plays later, and Ed Oliver recovered to give Buffalo the ball at their own 42-yard line.
After a couple of first downs, the Bills hit a big play on the ground, as Singletary broke a tackle for a 19-yard gain down to the 11-yard line. Allen then scrambled for 7, and the Bills took the lead after Allen fumbled the snap and juked his way into the end zone. 14-7 bills.
The Lions got a little risky on the next possession, going for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 33-yard line. Williams, though, picked it up. Detroit then picked up 22 yards on a sneaky throwback to rookie tight end James Mitchell, setting up the Lions in the red zone for the second time on the day. Detroit ran a draw play to D’Andre Swift on third-and-3 and appeared to have scored, but replay officials ruled him down at the 2.5-yard line, setting the Lions up first-and-goal from there. That almost turned out to be a huge overturn, but the Lions dialed up the aggression again on fourth-and-goal, and a play action pass fooled the Bills and left a wide-open St. Brown to tie the score up at 14-14
The Bills had 1:52 and two timeouts to re-take the lead before the half, starting at their own 25-yard line. Allen got the drive off to a huge start with a 27-yard pass to McKenzie. A third-down conversion to Diggs got 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 left. But the Lions would hold strong thanks to a sack from rookie James Houston. Buffalo would finish the half with a 47-yard field goal to take a 17-14 bills lead into the locker room.