Saints vs. Bills score: Josh Allen throws four touchdowns as Buffalo dominates New Orleans on Thanksgiving

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Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

The Bills may have stumbled badly in a Week 11 blowout loss to the Colts, but they returned to form in short order for the finale of the NFL's Thanksgiving Day slate. With the Saints playing host on Thursday night and desperate to stay alive in the NFC wild-card race after three straight losses, Buffalo instead stole the show behind big performances from its marquee stars. Josh Allen finished with four touchdowns, Stefon Diggs showed off his All-Pro route-running, and the Bills' defense had no trouble bottling up New Orleans' injury-riddled lineup from start to finish en route to a smooth-sailing 31-6 victory to improve to 7-4.

Here are some takeaways from the Bills' formidable Thanksgiving victory:

Why the Bills won

They know how to play offense. Josh Allen got himself into trouble a few times in the first half, forcing some short passes and getting picked twice as a result, but otherwise, he slung it with both authority and accuracy, taking everything the Saints gave him and, thus, feeding Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox in crucial spots. The ground game was forgettable once again, but Allen helped out a lot, and the truth is they never really needed a rushing attack to stay ahead. Defensively, they were just as impressive. Tre'Davious White's early exit with a knee injury doesn't bode well beyond Week 12, but Ed Oliver and Co. winning in the trenches never allowed the depth-tested Saints to establish momentum, rendering their run game nonexistent and forcing Sean Payton to rely on things like fake punts to generate movement.

Why the Saints lost

They couldn't move the ball, plain and simple. Sure, Trevor Siemian got them on the board early in the fourth with a nice touchdown pass to Nick Vannett, but only after averaging 2.5 yards per play and getting shut out for 45 minutes. Injuries severely limited their lineup to begin with; Siemian handing and throwing to Tony Jones, Ty Montgomery and Lil'Jordan Humphrey was never gonna scare anyone. But the execution was just as bad, with Siemian misfiring most of the night. It's a wonder Sean Payton didn't turn the keys over to Taysom Hill at some point, let alone involve the newly paid reserve on a regular basis. How differently this game might've looked had guys like Jameis Winston and Alvin Kamara actually been on the field. The "D," of course, wasn't perfect, either, letting Diggs and Knox get the best of them in the red zone, but Bradley Roby, Kwon Alexander and Cameron Jordan all had their hands in potentially game-changing plays that went to waste.

Turning point

With 3:19 left in the first half, the Saints trailed 10-0 but threatened to jump right back into contention, with Bradley Roby jumping a Josh Allen pass to Stefon Diggs, picking it off and giving New Orleans the ball right near midfield. They proceeded to gain two yards in the next four plays, with Siemian absorbing a sack on second down and then punter Blake Gillikin overthrowing his covered man on a fourth-down fake. The turnover on downs didn't give the Bills anymore points before halftime, but it erased what little momentum New Orleans seemed to have and allowed the visitors to enter the break with a comfortable lead.

Play of the game

Kwon Alexander deserves a ton of credit for the way he laid out to intercept Allen in the first half, but Stefon Diggs' footwork on his scoring catch against Marshon Lattimore? Heavenly. Who in the world could defend this?

What's next

The Bills (7-4) are squarely back in the mix for the AFC East thanks to their win, and they'll get a real chance to prove that again in Week 13, when they're set to host the rival Patriots (7-4) on "Monday Night Football" after a long break. The Saints (5-6), meanwhile, are tumbling in the NFC wild card picture thanks to their fourth straight loss. They'll face another tall task in exactly a week, when they're set to host the NFC East-leading Cowboys (7-4), who fell to the Raiders earlier on Thanksgiving.

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NO 7, O/U 45

Season Leaders

passing
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J. Allen 4407 YD, 36 TDS, 15 INTS
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J. Allen 4407 YD, 36 TDS, 15 INTS
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J. Winston 1170 YD, 14 TDS, 3 INTS
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J. Winston 1170 YD, 14 TDS, 3 INTS
rushing
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D. Singletary 188 ATT, 870 YD, 7 TDS
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D. Singletary 188 ATT, 870 YD, 7 TDS
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A. Kamara 240 ATT, 898 YD, 4 TDS
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A. Kamara 240 ATT, 898 YD, 4 TDS
receiving
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S. Diggs 103 REC, 1225 YD, 10 TDS
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S. Diggs 103 REC, 1225 YD, 10 TDS
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M. Callaway 46 REC, 698 YD, 6 TDS
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M. Callaway 46 REC, 698 YD, 6 TDS
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