Bills clinch winning season as defence dominates Cowboys in Dallas
Bears find extra gear late to get past Lions; Saints feast on Falcons to win division
Cole Beasley savoured a little extra time on the field with his former teammates after what had to be one of the most satisfying days of the Buffalo receiver's career.
And to think he didn't even have the most noteworthy play for the Bills' pass-catchers.
John Brown became the first Buffalo receiver to throw a touchdown pass, Josh Allen set a franchise record by producing at least two touchdowns in an eighth consecutive game and the surging Bills beat the fading Dallas Cowboys 26-15 on Thursday.
Allen's TD pass was to Beasley, who had 110 yards receiving in the stadium where he spent his first seven seasons as the Bills (9-3) got their first Thanksgiving win since 1975 in their first appearance on the holiday in 25 years.
Buffalo is 5-1 on the road for the first time since 1966, and the nine wins through 12 games are the most since the Bills finished 10-6 in Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly's final season in 1996.
"It'll be the most satisfying day when we win a Super Bowl," said Beasley, who was critical of the Cowboys after leaving, then had six catches and finished 2 yards shy of his career high against them. "It's just another win, another step in the right direction."
The Cowboys (6-6) stumbled after scoring a touchdown on their opening drive, giving Philadelphia a chance to rejoin them atop the NFC East after their fourth double-digit loss in the past six Thanksgiving games.
Allen was 19 of 24 for 231 yards and a career-best 120.7 passer rating as Bills won their third straight game and solidified their hold on an AFC wild-card spot.
The second-year quarterback found the ball at the bottom of a pile after fumbling a snap on fourth-and-1 in the second quarter, quickly reached the ball over the first down spot and then stumbled forward 3 yards to the Dallas 28, pumping his arms emphatically afterward.
THANKSGIVING TRICKERY!<br><br>John Brown's first NFL pass goes for SIX to <a href="https://twitter.com/motorsingletary?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@motorsingletary</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBills?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBills</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsDAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsDAL</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app<br>Watch free on mobile: <a href="https://t.co/EutPg1XriR">https://t.co/EutPg1XriR</a> <a href="https://t.co/J9b1YzilUQ">pic.twitter.com/J9b1YzilUQ</a>—@NFL
"On fourth down, fourth and short, fumbling the snap, I got to do a better job with that," Allen said. "And get the ball to our running back and let him do the job there. But I wanted it. I wanted it really bad."
On the next play, Brown took a pitch on a double reverse and lofted the ball to wide-open running back Devin Singletary for Buffalo's first lead at 13-7 in the second quarter.
"I played a little backup quarterback in Pop Warner, but I wasn't all that," Brown said becoming the first non-QB with a touchdown pass for the Bills since Fred Jackson 10 years ago.
"Dropped a dime," Beasley said. "We had two great quarterbacks today."
Saints clinch NFC south with win over Falcons
Taysom Hill blocked a punt to set up his 3-yard touchdown catch, later scored on a 30-yard run and the New Orleans Saints clinched their third straight NFC South title by beating the Atlanta Falcons 26-18 on Thursday night.
With Julio Jones inactive due to a shoulder injury, the Falcons had too little offence to keep pace with Drew Brees and the Saints. Atlanta recovered two onside kicks in the closing minutes, including one with 1:54 remaining, to make things interesting.
Matt Ryan was sacked by Cameron Jordan on a fourth-down play from the New Orleans 44 with 38 seconds remaining. Ryan was sacked nine times, including four by Jordan.
The Saints (10-2) atoned for their 26-9 home loss to the Falcons on Nov. 10. It was the Saints' only loss in their last 10 games.
The versatile Hill blocked Ryan Allen's punt to end Atlanta's first possession. The Saints took over at the Falcons 30, and four plays later Hill scored his first touchdown on the short pass from Brees.
Hill took a direct snap and ran 30 yards for his first rushing touchdown of the season to give New Orleans a 17-6 lead late in the first half.
The disappointing Falcons (3-9) solidified their hold on last place in the division with their second straight home loss.
Lions' Blough makes 1st start in loss to Bears
Mitchell Trubisky threw a go-ahead, 3-yard touchdown pass to David Montgomery with 2:17 left, lifting the Chicago Bears to a 24-20 win over the slumping Detroit Lions on Thursday.
The Bears took the lead on the nine-play, 90-yard drive and sealed the victory on the ensuing possession with Eddie Jackson's interception.
Rookie quarterback David Blough led Detroit's last drive to the Chicago 26 in the final minute before losing 13 yards on a sack to leave a desperation pass as the only option and Jackson picked off his heave.
Chicago (6-6) has won three of four games after losing four in a row to stay in the NFC playoff picture.
The Lions (3-8-1) have lost five straight for the first time under second-year coach Matt Patricia.
"It's one of the toughest teams I've probably ever been around," said Patricia, a former assistant coach with the New England Patriots. "This team fights like probably no other team I've ever seen.
"We've got to find a way to win."
Detroit led for much of the game despite starting a third-string quarterback, who it acquired from Cleveland for a swap of seventh-round picks. Matthew Stafford was out for a fourth straight game with back and hip injuries and his backup, Jeff Driskel, was limited by a hamstring injury.
Blough, an undrafted player from Purdue, threw a 75-yard TD on his first completion to Kenny Golladay to pull the Lions into a 7-all tie. Blough threw an 8-yard TD pass to Marvin Jones late in the first quarter to put Detroit ahead 14-7.
Trubisky had an 18-yard TD pass to rookie tight end Jesper Horsted to make it 17-all late in the third quarter.
Trubisky finished 29 of 38 with three TDs, matching a season high he also equaled in a win over Detroit earlier this month, for 338 yards and an interception. He got off to a strong start with a 10-yard pass to Allen Robinson and closed the game well enough for Chicago to score more than 20 points for the first time in more than a month.
Blough was 22 of 38 for 280 yards with two TDs and an interception.
"This is what you dream about as a kid," Blough said. "I'm thankful for it all, all the ups and downs."