Winners and losers from NFL’s Thanksgiving tripleheader: Micah Parsons’ legend grows, Bills back on road

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What a day of football the NFL presented with Thursday’s Thanksgiving tripleheader — and hopefully you overcame your tryptophan coma to fully enjoy all three games.

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The Buffalo Bills defeated the Detroit Lions, 28–25, on a last-second field goal, the Dallas Cowboys completed a season sweep of the New York Giants with a 28–20 decision, which was not as close to the final score, and The Minnesota Vikings – four days after being embarrassed 40–3 at home by Dallas – bounced back with a 33–26 win over the New England Patriots. It marked the first time since 1926 that Turkey Day featured a trio of games that all ended with one-score margins.

Yet beyond the quality of the contest and the result on the scoreboard, Thursday offered as many winners and losers as so many Thanksgiving sides.


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Let’s dig in:


Micah Parsons: The legend keeps on growing. The Cowboys pass rusher standout picked up another pair of sacks on Thursday, his ninth career multi-sack game to tie him with Eldon Smith for the most of any player’s first two seasons. Parsons also joined Smith and Hall of Famer Reggie White The only player to get at least a dozen QB takedowns in each of his first two seasons since the stat became official in 1982. Parsons would seem to be on the very short list for 2022 Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Josh Allen: Buffalo’s quarterback is barely 100% as he continues to recover from a UCL injury from this throwing elbow – and it was evident on the day when he only completed 24 of 42 passes (253 yards, 2 TDs, INT passing plus a rush) td). But Allen was at his best in the final 30 seconds, exactly when the Bills needed him. With the game tied 25–25 after a Lions field goal, he threw a ball 36 yards over the middle to WR Stefon Diggs. Allen ran the ball himself on the next two plays for 12 yards, giving K Tyler Bass enough room to kick a decisive 45-yard field goal with two seconds left. By the end of the day, Buffalo was back in the AFC East thanks in large part to their leader’s effort.

New York Jets: Despite all the adversity they’ve been navigating after getting swept by the Patriots and subsequently grounding second-year QB Zach Wilson, New England’s loss to Minnesota cost New York their third wild card in the AFC’s projected playoff field. Withdraws as. The Pats – for now – drop out.

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Odell Beckham Jr.: As he continues to recover from the torn ACL suffered in the first half of Super Bowl 56, speculation is rife about where Obj will land this season. On Thursday, he got a chance to see five teams with whom he’s a potentially good fit, including Buffalo and friend Von Miller, with whom he played last year for the Los Angeles Rams. But it looks like the Cowboys and Giants could become finalists for Beckham’s services — and if their game really does work out as the “Beckham Bowl”… welcome, we’ve got our answer.

Justin Jefferson: Like OBJ, a game-changing wideout with LSU pedigree, Jefferson’s star continues his ascent to prime time. He caught nine passes for 139 yards and a score on Thursday as he defeated Obj and Hall of Famer Randy Moss With the most receiving yards (4,248) in a player’s first three NFL seasons – and Jefferson’s total – half a dozen games. His league-high 1,232 receiving yards this season makes him a threat to become the first NFL player to crack 2,000 in a single campaign.

Kirk Cousins ​​and Kevin O’Connell: The veteran Minnesota quarterback and rookie head coach are closing in on a shared experience — their first NFC North crown as the Vikings, who haven’t won the division since 2017. It is possible that a win over the Jets in Week 13 will clinch it for Minnesota. Cousins ​​had a big game on Thursday, throwing three TD passes, and O’Connell could collect Coach of the Year votes with Minnesota, one of just two teams currently in possession of nine wins (along with Philadelphia ).

Dallas tight ends: Dalton Schultz (2 receiving TDs) and Peyton Hendershot (2-yard TD run) were responsible for three of the Cowboys’ four scores … and a rousing celebration with a Salvation Army kettlebell.

Jim Nantz: The CBS play-by-play man proved the announcer’s pique was alive and well, as the Lions’ Michael Badgley nailed a 29-yard field-goal attempt in the game. Badgley, who hadn’t missed a kick all year entering the game (10 FGs and 12 PATs to be exact in the 2022 season split between Chicago and Detroit) naturally missed the left side, much to Nantz’s chagrin. Nantz also noted Bass’ extra-point streak … which was broken at 104 when he failed a fourth-quarter PAT.

Tre’Davies White: The Bills’ Pro Bowl corner started Thursday, playing for the first time in 364 days since he tore his ACL on Thanksgiving night last year.

John Madden: NFL plays its Thanksgiving slate for first time since Giants Hall of Fame Coach/Analyst Died last December. But Madden’s presence was palpable Thursday, with players wearing commemorative stickers in the shape of NFL shields on their helmets while Madden devoured his beloved haldi during breaks in the action.

Bills at Ford Field: They won their second game in the Lions building in five days, defeating the Cleveland Browns 31–23 in Week 11 after a blizzard in western New York forced the game to be moved.

Bill on Thanksgiving: They’ve played on the off day in three of the last four seasons, improving to 3-0 in that stretch.


Bill on Thanksgiving: They’ve played on the holidays three of the last four seasons, none of those games back home in Orchard Park, NY. As if being on the road wasn’t bad enough, the Buffalo players won’t even get the benefit of the mini-bye this week. , as the Bills are back in Week 13 on Thursday night — and on the road again, in Foxboro, Mass., against some sure-to-be-salty Patriots.

Lions at Ford Field: They fell to 2-4 at home this season as their three-game winning streak – Detroit’s longest since 2017 – was snapped.

Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones: For the second straight week – with a pair of losses to the Giants – New York’s most important offensive players both failed to head for post-season free agency. Barkley scored a TD on Thursday, but 52 yards from scrimmage isn’t going to cut it against Dallas. On the deciding play of the game late in the third quarter, with the Cowboys leading 14–13, Jones threw Barkley behind on fourth and 1 from the Giants’ 45-yard line, and the talented back could not recover it. Six plays later, Dallas scored another touchdown, and the game was never in doubt again.

From Miller: The Buffalo pass rusher, who signed a six-year, $120 million deal – apparently as the final piece of a championship puzzle for the title-hungry Bills – suffered a knee injury in the first half and was quickly dropped out of the game. , Although Miller’s injury is not yet known NFL Network reported The initial diagnosis was a sprain with further tests due. But if it turns out to be serious, Thursday’s win could prove to be a very good win for the AFC East leaders.

Jonas Brothers: No thanks, NFL. Never again. Please. (Admittedly, a “Get Off My Lawn” / “Get Off The Field” / “Get Off My TV” moment, but I’m thankful I appreciate quality music after being subjected to the “JoBros” halftime, uh, show.) Grew up. By AT&T Stadium… that wasn’t going crazy with applause at halftime.)

Sam Martin: Bills punter kicked a season-high four times on Thursday, which was the first time Buffalo was forced to punt on three consecutive drives this season. Ice up, son.

Patriot Special Forces: A big reason New England fell from the projected wild-card spot to the basement of the AFC East. The Pats gave up a 97-yard kickoff return to Minnesota’s Kene Nwangwu for a TD. Worse, rookie RB Pierre Strong Jr. collided with Minnesota P Ryan Wright in the fourth quarter, leading to a 5-yard holding penalty and what turned out to be the Vikings’ game-winning touchdown drive.


Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis,


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