NEW ORLEANS (WIVB) — When I asked Josh Allen earlier in the week if he considered this game a “must-win” game, of course he didn’t take the bait and just said the whole “every game is a must-win” and all of that. But in a lot of ways, this really was a must-win given they lost two out of three before this game and the Patriots took over first place in the division. And they showed up with a big bounce back performance, beating the Saints 31-6 in prime time, on Thanksgiving night.
Coming into last week’s game against Philadelphia, the Saints had the best run defense in the NFL but the Eagles ran all over New Orleans with 242 rushing yards. Quarterback Jalen Hurts ran for three touchdowns as well and early on the Bills did a nice job of establishing the run.
After Buffalo’s defense forced a three and out on New Orleans’ opening drive, Josh Allen and the Bills offense marched down the field thanks to a combination of Matt Breida runs, a couple catches from Stefon Diggs and a few designed runs by Allen, all capped off by a seven-yard touchdown to Dawson Knox.
Bills defensive end Mario Addison ended the Saints’ next drive as he sacked Siemian for a loss of nine on third and two. That’s Addison’s team-leading fourth sack on the season. Jordan Poyer with a big tackle on the play before it to keep Ty Montgomery behind the sticks after gaining 13 yards on 2nd and 15.
The Bills second drive wasn’t so great.Knox misses a block that leads to a tackle for loss on Breida. Then the next play Carl Granderson blows past Dion Dawkins to sack Allen on 3rd and 13.
Addison came up big once again to start the second quarter. The Bills stop the Saints on 4th and 2 as Addison comes up with a five-yard tackle for loss on Tony Jones. New Orleans was without its top two running backs in this game as Alvin Kamara missed his third game in a row with a knee injury. Mark Ingram was ruled out for this game with a knee injury as well. So the Bills certainly caught a break not having to face the explosive running game we’re used to seeing from the Saints.
The Bills’ next drive stalled as Allen was sacked once again on third down. The good news is, Tyler Bass bounce back after missing two field goal attempts last week against the Colts. He made a 34-yarder to make it 10-0.
Once again the defense kept it scoreless as the Saints tried to get something, anything going. Siemian with the quarterback sneak to convert on fourth and inches. The next play he goes deep down the sideline but Tre’Davious White is there with great coverage to break up the pass. On the next play, White gets hurt. He walks off the field under his own power but looks like he limped as he did. White went straight to the blue, sideline medical tent. Dane Jackson came in the game for White. And the news didn’t get any better. After being looked at for a while, White walked off the field to the locker room. At first he was listed as “doubtful” to return but then downgraded to out.
Speaking of things not getting better, that’s exactly what happened to Allen and the offense on their next two possessions. Allen was intercepted trying to force it to Diggs. Then on their next drive, Allen’s arm was hit and picked off right before halftime, deep in Saints territory. The Bills took a 10-0 lead at halftime.
After throwing interceptions on back-to-back drives to end the first half, Allen did the opposite and threw touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to start the second half. The first one was a five-yard touchdown to Diggs on their opening drive in the third quarter. The second one, Allen found Knox for a 24-yard touchdown on 4th and 2 for his second score of the game.
The Saints finally got on the board on the following drive ,Siemian connected with Nick Vannett for an 11-yard touchdown but the two-point conversion was no good. And those were the only points this injury bitten, Saints offense would score the rest of the way.
While the Saints were done scoring the rest of the game, the Bills were not. With 8:25 left in the game, Allen connects with Breida on a short pass and he does the rest taking it to the end zone for a 23-yard play. Breida finished with nine carries for 26 yards, plus two catches for 29 yards including that touchdown.
To round out the action, Poyer came up with his fifth interception of the season. He is now tied for
Allen finished the night with 260 yards and four touchdowns as he bounced back nicely after throwing those two interceptions in the first half.