Allen throws for 4 TDs as the Bills beat the Stumbling Saints, 31-6
New Orleans Josh Allen and the mercurial Buffalo Bills are back in a better version of themselves against reeling New Orleans Saints.
Allen passed for 260 yards and four touchdowns, and the Bills stifled New Orleans’ brief attack in a 31-6 win Thursday night that sent the injury-ravaged Saints to their fourth straight loss.
Allen said, “The coach always talks about playoff caliber, and that’s the team we want to be. We want to be the best versions of ourselves…every time we step on the pitch.”
Dawson Knox had two touchdown passes, giving him the franchise’s best seven TDs in a season with a tight finish. The second result gave Bills (7-4) a 24-0 lead.
Stefon Diggs had seven receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown, and Matt Breda on the run converted a short pass for 23 yards in a dominant win that came just four days after a 26-point home loss to Indianapolis.
“To cut the way we did (last weekend), sometimes it can be frustrating,” said defensive end Mario Addison, who owns one of two Buffalo bags from Trevor Simian. “You just have to clear that and do it again. Everyone had a great mindset to go into this game and we were just ready.”
The Saints (5-6), who played without dynamic Alvin Camara for the third game in a row, were eliminated for three quarters. They finally scored on Simian’s pass from 11 yards to finish off a tight end Nick Vanette on the first play of the fourth.
Buffalo outscored New Orleans 361-190 and the Bills held the ball for 34:38 to 25:22 for the Saints.
The game showed how limited the Saints’ attack was, in part due to injuries to Camara and star Michael Thomas, who has not played all season, and also due to major changes to the quarterback.
New Orleans won 5-2 in games started by QB Jameis Winston, who this season took charge of retired Drew Brees. But Winston was knocked out of the season with a knee injury during New Orleans’ last win on October 31 and the Saints lost every game Simian started.
Saints coach Sean Payton’s urgency to continue to drive against the high-powered Bills was evident in his decision to call up play for fourth and second near midfield and later run a mock kick. Both failed, losing the race yards and passing Blake Gilliken sailing high and wide from intended receiver Lil’ Jordan Humphrey.
“On entry, we felt we had to be a little more aggressive,” Payton said, given how well the Bills can attack. “We couldn’t win a game that scored 14 points or 17 points against a team like this.”
Simian finished 17 of 29 passing for 163 yards, one TD and one interception. Taysom Hill, who was coming off a foot injury, was an active New Orleans reserve quarterback but did not play.
Incidentally, Bryce was working on the game as an announcer and the raucous reception he received from the crowd when he was honored on the field at the end of the first half contrasted sharply with the collective groans of frustration as drive-by-car stopped in New Orleans after another.
Most of the fans were out of the dome early in the fourth quarter, leaving a solid group of buffalo blue-clad fans to end Thanksgiving on a festive note.
The result left Payton foreshadowing changes as the Saints try to figure out how to end their worst single-season streak since 2015.
“We’ll look at everything now,” Payton said. “We have to look closely at everything we do and with whom we do it.”
The outcome would have been even more lopsided had Saints Allen not intercepted twice — once deep in the New Orleans area when Cameron Jordan hit Allen’s defensive end when he bowled and linebacker Kwon Alexander grabbed the flapping ball.
This was Allen’s third match in four games in which he made multiple transformations. The previous two losers were losses, but this time it prevented Bills from winning more than that.
Saints Cornerback Bradley Roby intercepted New Orleans near midfield in the first half.
Allen threw seven interceptions and lost a bump in his past four games.
Billing: CB Tre’Davious White, a former LSU star playing in his home state for the first time as a pro, appears to have injured his left knee in the second quarter. He was able to walk off the field on his own, but slammed his helmet near the bench and then walked into the locker room with a towel over his head and never came back.
Saints: LB Kaden Ellis left the match with a hamstring injury. …helped rookie corner player Paulson Adepo back down after his heavy collision in the fourth quarter.
The Billings: Host the New England Patriots for a Monday night showdown for the top spot in the East Asia region on December 6.
The Saints: Host the Dallas Cowboys next Thursday night.
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