Thanksgiving is a time loved by all with plenty of delicious food, spending time with family and friends, and a whole day of watching football. There were three games on the Turkey Day slate, so let’s recap.
Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
For the 82nd straight season, the Detroit Lions hosted the first Thanksgiving game, and for the fifth straight season, they lost. This game looked to be a laugher, but there was a lot at stake for both teams. There were many reports of Bears head coach, Matt Nagy, potentially being fired if they lost this game and Lions head coach, Dan Campbell, was still looking for that elusive first win as a head coach. The Lions started off hot, with Jared Goff tossing a 39 yard pass to Josh Reynolds for six, but the Bears answered with 13 straight points and Detroit didn’t score again until late in the third quarter when TJ Hockenson caught a 17 yard touchdown. Chicago needed a score to retake the lead and Andy Dalton was able to facilitate an 8 ½ minute drive, aided by a crucial Detroit penalty on 3rd and 9 deep in Lions’ territory, to set up Cairo Santos’ game winning field goal. Once again, the Lions lost in a heartbreaker and they now sit at 0-10-1, which is on pace for their second winless season in franchise history and only the fourth in NFL history. As for the Bears, the scoreboard says they won, but did they really win? They are now 4-7 and Matt Nagy is still the head coach for at least one more week, which means more torture for Bears fans. Overall, this game was meaningless in the standings, but it was more about Nagy’s job security than a win for the Bears.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Las Vegas Raiders
This was a massive game for the Raiders, as they were losers of three straight and sat at last place in the AFC West. As for the Cowboys, they were looking to make a statement without their top two receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Las Vegas started the game with a bang, as Derek Carr hit DeSean Jackson in stride for a 56 yard score. Dallas quickly answered with a Sean McKeon touchdown, but Vegas was able to jump out to a 17-6 lead and held that lead deep into the first half. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott then punched it in from a yard out to cut the lead to four going into halftime. After a three yard score by Raiders backup quarterback Marcus Mariota, Cowboys backup running back Tony Pollard turned on the jets for a 100 yard kick return to cut the Raiders’ lead to five. Late into the fourth quarter with Las Vegas holding an eight point lead, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott fired a 32 yard laser to tight end Dalton Schultz to cut the lead to two, and then Schultz came through for Dallas again on the two point conversion. The teams traded field goals to end the fourth quarter and they went to overtime where Dallas started with the ball. Prescott had a chance to extend the drive, but he missed receiver Noah Brown on a short pass. Now back on defense, the Cowboys got the Raiders to a 3rd and 18, but cornerback Anthony Brown committed his fourth pass interference of the game, which set up Las Vegas at the Dallas 24 yard line. Dallas committed two offsides penalties as the Raiders set up for the field goal and Daniel Carlson drilled it from 29 yards out, snapping their three game losing streak. The story of this game was the amount of penalties on both teams; 14 for each team to be exact. Dallas is still in control of the NFC East even with the loss and Las Vegas is right back in the playoff hunt with this victory.
Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints
The first two games on Turkey Day were nail biters, but this game was over the moment the Bills took the field. This was a must win game for both teams as New Orleans was looking to snap a three game losing streak to stay in the playoff hunt and Buffalo was looking to take the AFC East back from the surging New England Patriots. Buffalo took a 24 point lead and never looked back as they held New Orleans to just six points. Bills quarterback Josh Allen had his fingerprints all over this game, throwing for four touchdowns, including two to tight end Dawson Knox. The Saints have now lost four games in a row after a 5-2 start, and their potent offense from last year looks like a distant memory with Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas turning into Trevor Siemian, Tony Jones, and Tre’Quan Smith. They are now on the outside looking in for the playoffs and it is only going to get tougher with a Thursday night date with the 7-4 Dallas Cowboys coming up. As for the Bills, they are a half game behind the New England Patriots for first place in the AFC East and they play New England twice in the next four weeks. It is going to be an interesting end to the season as these two teams could potentially be fighting for the No. 1 in the AFC by Week 18.