The New Orleans Saints were within reach.
The final score, a 31-6 loss to Buffalo on Thanksgiving night in the Caesars Superdome, suggests the opposite. The Saints didn't manage to score until the first play of the fourth quarter, after falling behind 24-0, and by then the game was well in hand for the Bills.
But before New Orleans (5-6) lost its fourth straight game, there was a point in the second quarter when Buffalo's 10-0 lead wasn't nearly as ominous as the margin later would become.
The Bills, in fact, had possession and opened their drive at their 26-yard line with 6:08 left in the first half. Buffalo went backward on its first play, a holding penalty, but after completions of 12 and seven yards on second and third down, it gained a first down at the 37. And from there, a 4-yard run put the Bills at second-and-6 from the 41 with 3:19 left in the half.
But just as it appeared Buffalo was driving for another scoring opportunity, New Orleans' defense stepped up. Quarterback Josh Allen looked for Stephon Diggs on a pass to his right, but Saints cornerback Bradley Roby read the play perfectly and sliced into position for his first interception as a Saint. After a 2-yard return to his own 49-yard line, New Orleans was first-and-10 from there with 3:13 left in the half.
That was as good as it got for the offense on the drive.
A run on first down was stopped for no gain. A would-be pass on second down instead became an 8-yard loss when quarterback Trevor Siemian was sacked. And on third-and-18, a screen pass was stopped eight yards short of a first down.
New Orleans, in need of a jolt, opted to fake the punt, but punter Blake Gillikin's pass intended for Lil'Jordan Humphrey was incomplete. And with that, the inability to take advantage of the turnover, favorable field position and momentum shift was complete.
New Orleans crossed midfield once in its final five drives.
The New Orleans Saints take on the Buffalo Bills at the Caesars Superdome in Week 12 of the 2021 NFL season.