ORCHARD PARK – Despite their running back depth disintegrating, the Buffalo Bills were able to pull off a 14-13 victory against the Detroit Lions at New Era Field on Sunday afternoon.
Bills running backs LeSean McCoy (hamstring), and Chris Ivory (shoulder) were inactive for the game.
With the game a scoreless tie after one quarter, Detroit (5-9), drew first blood on a nine-play, 75 yard drive when Matthew Stafford found Andy Jones in the endzone for a four-yard touchdown pass with 12:45 left in the first half, the first touchdown of Jones’s career.
Sam Martin botched the snap on the PAT attempt, leaving the score at 6-0.
Buffalo (5-9) answered back on their first drive of the second quarter. After Josh Allen completed passes to Isaiah McKenzie and Robert Foster, a 43-yard pass interference penalty on Lions cornerback Darius Slay put the ball inside the Detroit five-yard line.
Allen would run for his sixth touchdown of the season two plays later. Stephen Hauschka converted on the extra-point to give Buffalo a 7-6 lead.
Detroit’s offense would counter Buffalo’s touchdown with another one of their own. After two long receptions by Kenny Golladay, Zach Zenner would score a one-yard rushing touchdown with 3:46 left in the half to cap off a nine-play, 77 yard drive. With Matt Prater’s extra-point, Detroit re-claimed the lead, 13-7.
After getting a first down on their next drive, Buffalo netted only three yards on their next three plays and were forced to punt.
Marcus Murphy, the third-string running back for the Bills who made his first career start today, exited the game late in the first-half with an arm injury, and did not return. Murphy finished with 35 yards on 11 carries prior to his injury.
The Lions had an opportunity to extend their lead, but were unable to take advantage, going three-and-out with 1:06 left in the half.
Buffalo ran out the clock and went into halftime trailing Detroit, 13-7.
Detroit got off to a good start on their first drive in the second-half, picking up a first down and reaching Buffalo territory. The Lions, however, failed to get into scoring range and Martin had to punt the ball away.
On the Bills first drive of the second-half, they gained two first downs, but stalled when they approached midfield, having to punt the ball again.
Buffalo’s defense would make the Lions go three-and-out on their next drive. During the return of Detroit’s punt, McKenzie injured his ankle and had to be carted off the field. McKenzie, however, would return to the game in the fourth-quarter. McKenzie would finish with six receptions for 53 yards.
After Allen found Foster on another long-ball, Buffalo put the ball into the Detroit red-zone. Their offense stalled and turned the ball over on downs inside the 15 yard-line.
During the drive, Keith Ford, a rookie running-back who was promoted to the active roster earlier in the week, suffered an ankle injury, but he would return to the game on Buffalo’s second fourth-quarter series.
The score remained 13-7 at the end of the third-quarter.
Buffalo’s defense stiffened at the start of the final quarter, stopping the Lions offense just as they were about to approach midfield. Martin punted the ball out of the end-zone for a touchback.
On their first fourth-quarter drive, Deonte Thompson and Zay Jones dropped sure first-down passes on back-to-back plays. Allen would throw another incomplete pass and the offense went three-and-out.
Detroit’s offense would once again be forced to punt after three plays.
Buffalo caught a break on their next series after when Slay committed his second pass-interference penalty of the game. One play after ineligible man downfield penalty, Allen would find Foster on a 42 yard touchdown pass. Hauschka’s extra-point gave Buffalo a 14-13 lead with 10:26 left in regulation.
Foster’s touchdown reception capped off a four catch, 108 yard and one touchdown receiving day, his third 100-yard game of the season.
Detroit did drive the ball to the Buffalo 30 and had the opportunity to re-claim the lead. However, Lions kicker Matt Prater’s 48-yard field-goal attempt hooked wide-left, and the score remained 14-13 with 5:50 left in regulation. The miss snapped Prater’s streak of 14 straight made field-goals.
Buffalo and Detroit would exchange three-and-outs on their next offensive drives.
Buffalo would run out the clock on their final series to end the game.
Josh Allen finished 13-26 passing for 204 yards, and a touchdown.
Ford would finish with 46 yards on 14 carries in his career debut.
Jordan Poyer would finish with a game-high 11 tackles for Buffalo.
Tremaine Edmunds chipped in with eight tackles.
Matthew Stafford, went 22-29 passing, for 208 yards, and a touchdown for Detroit.
Theo Riddick rushed for a game-high 47 yards.
Kenny Golladay led Detroit’s receiving corps with a game-high 146 yards on seven receptions.
Linebackers, Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones, led the Lions defense with nine tackles each.
Buffalo’s next game will be on the road next Sunday, as they will take on their division rival New England Patriots.
Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. on CBS.