Instant analysis: Bills stuff Saints in Thanksgiving win




 

The Buffalo Bills put together a much more palatable performance Thanksgiving, easily handling the New Orleans Saints, 31-6, in late-night action.

Buffalo's play washed away the bad taste from a poor performance last Sunday and currently places the Bills in a tie at the top of the AFC East standings.

The Bills (7-4) offense picked apart the New Orleans defense. Buffalo faced some challenges the past few weeks against defenses who played two high safeties, forcing the Bills to take more short-to-intermediary options in the passing game.

In past weeks, quarterback Josh Allen and company were inconsistent with moving the ball down the field in this manner. Thursday, they were much more comfortable taking what the Saints defense game them.

From the first possession of the game, it was apparent that the Bills were emphasizing a quick passing attack. Buffalo's offense put on a clinic, moving the ball down the field easily to open the game's scoring.

Allen was decisive with his passes, getting the ball out of his hands quickly. Buffalo's offense moved the ball 65 in 10 plays, culminating with a seven-yard touchdown reception by tight end Dawson Knox:

Allen added touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs and another scoring connection with Knox in the third quarter.

Allen's numbers might not be gaudy, but he was efficient, throwing 260 passing yards on a 23-for-28 night. Allen's only major mistake was an interception by Bradley Roby. He tossed a second interception late in the first half, but this followed a deflected pass.

The Bills' decision to start running back Matt Breida paid off in the Big Easy, as Brieda added some energy to a lethargic run attack. The numbers weren't astounding, but the fear of Breida's speed added a new element to Buffalo's attack. Breida ran nine times for 26 yards. He added a receiving touchdown on a screen pass in the fourth quarter, cementing Buffalo's dominance in this game.

With tonight's performance, Breida may have pushed his way into even more playing time moving forward:

It was easy pickings for Buffalo's defense as well. The Saints were missing several important players, including RB Alvin Kamara, RB Mark Ingram, TE Adam Trautman, and OL Ryan Ramczak.

New Orleans quarterback Trevor Siemian was overwhelmed all night.

The Saints produced only 64 yards of offense in the first half. Even with garbage time progress from the Saints offense, the unit could only total 190 yards.

The Bills defense feasted on Siemian all night. New Orleans did not have a weapon on offense who could challenge the Bills defense.

Buffalo was helped by the return of linebacker Tremaine Edmunds from injury. He tied for the team lead with eight total tackles.

Pass rusher Mario Addison recorded a sack, while DE Efe Obada and DT Ed Oliver split another sack. Safety Jordan Poyer intercepted Siemian midway through the fourth quarter, adding to the Saints' misery.

As a unit, the defense shut down any hope that New Orleans may have had to make this a competitive game. The Saints managed only 44 rushing yards, averaging 1.8 yards per carry.

The Bills are at the top of the AFC East, tied with New England at 7-4. The Patriots play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

The outcome of that game will determine if the Bills stay ahead of the Patriots or if they slide back to second in the division. No matter what, this is setting up an interesting December for Buffalo, as they play New England twice during the month.

The rivals face off Dec. 6, a Monday night clash in Orchard Park.

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