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Quarter by quarter: Bills close out a good win that might have been a rout

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Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis (13) makes a catch while covered by Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Tevaughn Campbell (37) in the fourth quarter at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. 

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Here's a quarter by quarter look at the Buffalo Bills' 27-17 win against the Los Angeles Chargers at Bills Stadium on Sunday.

First quarter

Theme: A flurry of defense.

Punt contest: The two high-scoring offenses each were forced to punt twice.

Key play: Stefon Diggs used his speed to get behind safety Rayshawn Jenkins and drew a 47-yard pass interference penalty. It was a good throw by Josh Allen, because it likely would have been a touchdown if Jenkins hadn’t pushed Diggs. That set up a 2-yard TD pass to Dawson Knox.

Lineup notes: Charger Casey Hayward saw his 106-game start streak snapped. It was longest in the NFL by a cornerback. First-year NFLer Teavaughn Campbell took his spot. The Chargers were without quality right tackle Bryan Bulaga due to illness. Trey Pipkins took his spot.

Wide left: Charger Michael Badgley missed his first extra-point try, his third missed PAT of the season.

Catch machines: Diggs and Keenan Allen entered the game with a combined 154 catches, fourth most by any two foes entering a Week 12 game since 1970. Allen caught a 5-yard TD pass on the second drive.

Good starting: The Bills entered the week the second-highest scoring team in the NFL in the first quarter. They have outscored foes 80-36. The Chargers have been outscored 49-60 in the first quarter.

Second quarter

Theme: Cole Beasley does it all.

Key play: Beasley threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis on a lateral from Josh Allen. Beasley went in motion, caught the backward pass and fired an easy strike as the Chargers were fooled.

Scare: Allen’s right ankle was rolled up on as he threw an incomplete pass. But he missed only one play.

Big dog: The Chargers were on the move at their own 45 late in the quarter when A.J. Klein joined a four-man rush and beat a pickup-block attempt by Troymaine Pope. Klein and Jerry Hughes combined on the sack that derailed the Chargers’ drive.

Stalled: It was not a shock the Bills’ offense had some stalls, with two three-and-out drives in the half. Los Angeles' D is fourth in three-and-outs.

Second guess: With 21 seconds left and facing a fourth-and-3 at the Buffalo 48, the Chargers lined up to go for it. Then they called time out and punted. Down 11 and with the NFL’s No. 6 third-down offense, Charger coach Anthony Lynn should have been more aggressive.

Good D: The Chargers had outscored teams 106-56 in the second quarter, but were outscored by the Bills, 10-0.

Third quarter

Theme: Trading TDs.

Speed to the pylon: Josh Allen outraced cornerback Mike Davis to the pylon on the goal line for a Bills’ touchdown. Allen rushed three times for 18 yards on the drive.

Key play: The Chargers got a 33-yard run by Joshua Kelley on a 67-yard touchdown drive.

All-star: Taron Johnson had decent coverage on Keenan Allen on a two-point conversion fade route to the corner of the end zone. Allen was too tall.

Matchup watch: Chargers star edge rusher Joey Bosa was a handful for Bills right tackle Daryl Williams. Bosa was unblocked on a mixup between Williams and Jon Feliciano to get a sack in the second quarter. Josh Allen held the ball on a third down and Bosa got around Williams for a third-quarter sack, Bosa’s third of the game.

Mr. Consistent: Andre Roberts set up the Bills on their opening scoring drive of the half with a 38-yard kickoff return to the 43. The Chargers rank 29th in the NFL in kickoff coverage.

No lull: The Bills’ third-quarter struggles didn’t continue, as each team managed one touchdown drive. The Bills entered the game with the fourth fewest points in the league in the third quarter. Now, they’ve been outscored 84-37.

Fourth quarter

Theme: A good win that could have been a blowout. The Bills won despite two fumbles and an interception on three straight drives in the fourth quarter.

Key play: Clinging to a 24-17 lead, Tre’Davious White intercepted a Justin Herbert pass for tight end Hunter Henry with 5:17 left.

Zebra report: The worst call of the quarter was an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Zack Moss, after he flipped the ball behind his back at the end of a 31-yard run. It was obvious he wasn’t looking at or taunting the defender.

Second guesses: Chargers coach Anthony Lynn made a good call to go for it on fourth and 1 early in the quarter, even though it didn’t work. But then he burned a critical time out before a field goal to pull within 24-17. And they ran the ball with 25 seconds left from the Bills’ 2, which wasted about 12 seconds.

Moving chains: With 23 first downs, the Bills posted their 11th straight game with 20-plus first downs, surpassing the team record of 10 set in 1992.

Trending: Sean McDermott is 4-0 coming out of a bye.

Cole Beasley’s trick-play throw to Gabriel Davis went for a 20-yard touchdown in the Buffalo Bills’ 27-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

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Bills/NFL writer

Gaughan's insight is featured in the "PlayAction" video series, providing analysis to get Bills fans ready for the next game. He is past president of the Pro Football Writers of America and served as a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector for 12 years.

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