The Bills’ win over the Lions was another reminder of Josh Allen’s chaotic brilliance

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen misfired against Steven Diggs on both short and deep passes. Linebacker Matt Milano missed crucial tackles in the fourth quarter.

All was not well for the Thanksgiving Bills.

Not until the final few seconds of Buffalo’s 28-25 win over the Detroit Lions.

Until the last minute, the Lions looked ready to pull off an upset. And then everything that seemed to go wrong for Buffalo suddenly went right. As the final minute of the game approached, the Lions’ coaching staff mismanaged the clock. Jared Goff made a bad decision and a worse throw on third down with a botched throw to an open receiver. So the Bills defense held Detroit to a field goal on the last drive. And Buffalo’s offense had just 23 seconds to score in a tied game.

Alan wasted no time.

On the first play of the scrimmage, the quarterback fired downfield to Diggs for 36 yards. That ended the fourth quarter when Allen was 5-of-6 for 65 yards and a touchdown. After that 36-yard gain, the Bills were in field goal range. All they have to do is hold the ball, bleed the clock and – if they want to – move the ball forward to make life easier for kicker Tyler Bass. So the Bills made Allen run the ball several times to pick up yards and run out the clock. He had a hand in all of the team’s offensive yardage along the way. Bass scored a field goal with two seconds left. And the game is practically over.

What a final sequence.

It was chaos. It was brilliant. It was Josh Allen at his best.

And now, the rest of the game looks like a comedy of errors for the Bills, who – as usual – played at a competitive level.

The Bills are one of the most talented teams in the NFL, but sometimes they struggle to play like him. Their offense has looked stepped up over the past few weeks and as a result. That seems to be the biggest reason why the Bills have struggled to shut down teams in recent weeks. The Lions took advantage of that.

There wasn’t one particular mistake that kept the Lions in the game. There was a general sense of exhaustion with the Lions controlling the tempo of the game. Detroit wasn’t even stellar on third down (6/15), but they were terrific on fourth down, where they converted on all four opportunities (including a fourth down penalty by Buffalo in the red zone).

Outside of that final minute, the Bills’ performance was defined by misses and missed opportunities. Allen threw a pass in the red zone to wipe out a scoring chance. Allen and Diggs struggled to connect through the first three quarters. They just weren’t in sync. Before the fourth quarter, Diggs and Allen had connected on just 3 of 9 passes for 12 yards

And then there were the rare defensive blunders. Cornerback Dane Jackson looked unbeatable all game, allowing a touchdown and a handful of plays. Most defensively, linebacker Joshua Klein gave up a pass on Goff, a more glaring error than anything Allen did Thursday. Goff spun 360 degrees before throwing the ball directly at Klein. But the defender dropped the ball – and missed an opportunity to make Goff viral for all the wrong reasons.

But none of these mistakes, flaws, and misunderstandings mattered in the end. Because however Alan started, he finished strong. And that’s how the Bills have been able to get out of those types of games this year. Of course they lost them because Allen threw interceptions. But a result like this — a last-second win — is proof why the Bills should continue to trust Allen even when he goes on a cold streak, as he has the previous three weeks, when he threw two interceptions in all three games.

Alan is a bringer of chaos, for better or for worse. And the Bills are justified in letting him do what makes him special. Games like this are a reminder of that.

Before joining FOX Sports as an AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.


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