Josh Allen has found his number one receiver.
Allen threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Robert Foster in the fourth quarter and the Bills' defense held strong in a 14-13 win over the Detroit Lions Sunday.
Foster, who had a 100-yard performance last week, finished with four catches for 108 yards. He made a juggling 31-yard reception earlier in the game as his rapport with Allen continues to grow.
Allen accounted for the Bills' other touchdown. He scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter.
Despite some big plays by the Lions' offense, the Bills held strong. Jordan Poyer made a couple of big tackles late in the game to force a punt. On the ensuing drive, the Bills picked up a couple of first downs and ran out the clock to secure their fifth win of the season.
The Bills improve to 5-9 this season. The Lions fall to 5-9.
Here is the Buffalo Bills Week 15 report card:
Josh Allen won this one for the Bills. He ran for a 3-yard touchdown, threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Robert Foster and executed a perfect quarterback sneak to seal the victory. His completion percentage was what you expect from him (50 percent) and he had 204 passing yards. The stat sheet doesn't tell the whole story. He made plenty of plays with his arm and legs. After three games of 99 rushing yards or more, it was good to see him stick to throwing the ball and only running when he had no choice. The Bills found a gem with Allen. His big arm and playmaking ability provide a huge boost.
The Bills didn't have LeSean McCoy or Chris Ivory, but the remaining running backs picked up the slack. Marcus Murphy had a few good runs and finished with 35 yards before he left with an injury. Keith Ford took the reins and carried the ball 14 times for 46 yards. Fullback Patrick DiMarco chipped in with a 9-yard carry. The Bills had 117 rushing yards in the win.
This was the Robert Foster and Isaiah McKenzie show. McKenzie was busy early and finished with six catches for 53 yards. He left the game with an apparent ankle injury, but returned to field punts. His speed is an asset, and he's become one of Allen's most trusted receivers. Meanwhile, Foster posted another 100-yard outing. He had four catches for 108 yards, including the 42-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Zay Jones was targeted six times, but finished with only one catch for 11 yards. Tight end Jason Croom had a key 25-yard catch on the game's final drive.
The Bills' pass blocking was solid and the run blocking, which has been dismal this season, improved against the Lions. As a team, the Bills topped 100 yards on the ground without McCoy and Ivory in the lineup. The offensive line has been weak all season, but had one of its better games on Sunday.
Offensive MVP: Josh Allen. Allen had 204 passing yards and two total touchdowns (one passing, one rushing). He scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter and threw a 42-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. The latter touchdown was the difference. He still makes some rookie mistakes, but he's showing great promise. He's progressed a lot over the last few weeks. He showcased his arm on several plays against the Lions. The touchdown pass to Foster was the best example.
A good showing by the defensive line. There wasn't much on the stat sheet for the front four, but they helped contain the Lions offense. That's all they needed to do, especially down the stretch.
Another stinker for Tre'Davious White. The good news: His teammates picked him up. Jordan Poyer was a stud. He led the Bills with 11 tackles (10 solo) and a tackle for a loss. Micah Hyde had five tackles (five solo) in the win. The secondary did get burned on a few Matthew Stafford throws. Lions receiver Kenny Golladay caught seven passes for 146 yards. The Bills held the rest of the Lions' receiving corps in check, though.
Defensive MVP: Jordan Poyer. Poyer led the Bills with 11 tackles (10 solo) and a tackle for a loss. He made back-to-back tackles on a Lions' drive late in the game to force a punt. He's been one of the Bills' top defensive players over the past two seasons. While others struggled Sunday, he shined.
Kicking and punting
Kick coverage and returns
The Bills didn't have a lot of opportunities to return kicks. Isaiah McKenzie had two kickoff returns for 29 yards, including a 21-yarder, and two punt returns for 11 yards.
Kick coverage has been an issue this season, but it wasn't on Sunday. The Lions had three kick or punt returns for 32 yards.
Special teams MVP: Matt Darr. Darr averaged 40.8 yards per punt on six punts against the Lions. He pinned the Lions twice inside the 20. He's not going to be a long-term answer for the Bills, but he's been a steady leg as the team's punter.
OTHER GRADES AND FACTS
Overall team performance
Josh Allen did enough to win the game, and the Bills defense came up big when it counted. It's not the most impressive showing, but a win is a win.
Stats of the game
3.2. The Bills averaged 3.2 yards per rush against the Lions. They entered the game without their top two running backs and another running back, Marcus Murphy, was injured during the game. The Bills wanted to establish the run against the Lions. While the yards-per-carry average isn't impressive, the team finished with 117 rushing yards.
108. Robert Foster had his third game with at least 100 receiving yards, and the first against a team other than the New York Jets. He finished with four catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. He caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to help the Bills win the game. Foster is Allen's top receiving threat at the moment.
3-12. The Bills only converted three of their 12 third down opportunities. That's not a strong showing by the Bills' offense, and it explains why they had so many punts against the Lions. It was a defensive struggle, but you want to see the offense get more third down conversions.
It has been a rough couple of weeks for Tre'Davious White. He was beat on multiple plays by the Lions offense. He established himself as a top-notch cornerback in this league after a strong rookie season, and he's had a good sophomore campaign. But White's struggles are problematic for a Bills defense that has been strong against the pass this season. He needs to get back to doing what he does best: Shut down the opposing team's receivers.
The Bills (5-9) will play at 1 p.m. Sunday against the New England Patriots. The game will be televised on CBS.