NEW ORLEANS — Josh Allen passed for 260 yards and four touchdowns, Buffalo’s defence stifled New Orleans’ short-handed offence and the Bills rolled to a 31-6 victory Thursday night that sent the injury-ravaged Saints to their fourth straight loss.
Tight end Dawson Knox caught two TD passes, giving him a franchise-best seven TDs in a single season by a tight end. His second score gave the Bills (7-4) a 24-0 lead.
Stefon Diggs caught seven passes for 74 yards and a touchdown, and running back Matt Breida turned a short pass into a 23-yard score.
The Saints (5-6), playing without dynamic running back Alvin Kamara for a third straight game, were shut out for three quarters. They finally scored on Trevor Siemian’s 11-yard pass to tight end Nick Vannett on the first play of the fourth.
Buffalo outgained New Orleans 361-190 and the Bills possessed the ball for 34:38 to the Saints’ 25:01.
The game illustrated how limited the Saints’ offence has become, in part because of injuries to Kamara and star receiver Michael Thomas, who has not played all season, and due to significant changes at quarterback.
New Orleans went 5-2 in games started by QB Jameis Winston, who took over this season for the retired Drew Brees. But Winston went out for the season with a knee injury during New Orleans’ most recent victory on Oct. 31 and the Saints have lost every game that Siemian has started.
Siemian was 17-of-29 passing for 163 yards, one TD and one interception. Taysom Hill, who is coming off a foot injury, was active as New Orleans’ backup but did not play.
Incidentally, Brees was working the game as a broadcaster and the raucous reception he received from the crowd when he was honoured on the field at halftime contrasted sharply from the collective groans of frustration when one New Orleans drive after another stalled.
Most fans had filed out of the dome by early in the fourth quarter, leaving a solid traveling contingent of fans wearing Buffalo blue to close out Thanksgiving on a celebratory note.
The result could have been more lopsided had the Saints not intercepted Allen twice — once deep in New Orleans territory when defensive end Cameron Jordan hit Allen as he threw and linebacker Kwon Alexander made a diving catch of the fluttering ball.
It was Allen’s third game in four in which he had multiple turnovers. The previous two were losses, but this time it only prevented the Bills from winning by even more.
Saints cornerback Bradley Roby had New Orleans’ first interception near midfield in the first half.
Allen has thrown seven interceptions and lost a fumble in his past four games.
Bills: CB Tre’Davious White, a former LSU star playing in his home state for the first time as a pro, appeared to hurt his left knee in the second quarter. He was able to limp off the field on his own, but slammed his helmet down near the bench and then walked to the locker room with a towel over his head and did not return.
Saints: LB Kaden Ellis left the game with a hamstring injury. … Rookie cornerback Paulson Adebo was helped to the sideline after a heavy collision in the fourth quarter.
Bills: Host the New England Patriots in a Monday night showdown for first place in the AFC East on Dec. 6.
Saints: Host the Dallas Cowboys next Thursday night.