ThePatriotsremain perfect on the season after an imperfect 16-10 win over theBuffalo Bills (3-1) at New Era Field. Defense was the main storyline for both clubs in this game as each unit was able to really slow down the opposing offense.
Tom Bradywas held to just 18 completions on 39 attempts for 150 yards and one interception. Meanwhile,Josh Allenwas 13-for-28 passing for 153 yards and three interceptions before he left the game due to injury. A blocked punt returned for a touchdown by New England early in the first quarter ultimately proved to be the main scoring output and the difference as this game went final.
Check out below for our main takeaways from the game.
Why the Patriots won
New England was able to secure the win on Sunday thanks large in part to their defense and special teams unit. With Tom Brady and the offense stalled for most of the afternoon, it was up to the defense to keep Buffalo out of the end zone. They did so flawlessly in the first half, only allowing three points.
Josh Allen was able to come out of the locker room with a touchdown drive in the third quarter, but overall New England’s defense was stout. They created four turnovers as a team and were particularly strong on third down only allowing Buffalo to convert on two of their 13 attempts. As for the special teams unit, that blocked punt turned touchdown was a key moment in the game for the Patriots to establish a lead. With the Bills defensive front giving New England’s offense fits, that special teams touchdown scored byMatthew Slaterproved to be the difference.
Why the Bills lost
Josh Allen going down with a head injury in the fourth quarter didn’t help things for Buffalo. But, outside of his opening third quarter touchdown drive, the second year quarterback wasn’t particularly strong in this game. He was erratic with his throws and was constantly looking for chunk plays down the field instead of taking the easy throws over the middle, particularly in the first half. When he did try to force it down field, he was picked off.
As we mentioned above, their third down efficiency was poor, but I wonder if Allen could have sprung another touchdown drive had he not bee knocked out of the game byJonathan Jones. Of course, their special teams unit didn’t do their job to the best of their ability allowing the blocked punt for the touchdown. Outside of some struggles on offense and that blocked punt, Buffalo’s defense and running game were strong enough to win them the game.
While you can simply look to Josh Allen’s injury as a critical moment for the Bills,Matt Barkleydid drive the Bills all the way to the New England 2-yard line upon coming into the game. While they were knocking on the door of a touchdown, Barkley’s pass intended forZay Jonesin the right of the end zone was broken up by safetyPatrick Chungto give New England possession. Had Buffalo scored there, they would have likely been up by one. Another Barkley interception at the New England 39 was also the dagger to ice the game with 1:27 remaining.
Play of the game
This blocked punt by J.C. Jackson was ultimately what gave the Patriots the win. Jackson was able to crash through the Bills line, get after punterCorey Bojorquezand Matthew Slater scooped up the ball to score the first touchdown of hisNFLcareer. That play put the Patriots up by 13, which was all they needed to secure the win.
Tom Brady was looking into the mirror postgame. This was hardly New England’s best day offensively. Brady was inconsistent with his throws, which included a brutal interception in the end zone. Not only that, but the offensive line allowed constant pressure on Brady, which blew up a handful of plays. Overall, the Pats were a little undisciplined in this contest too, totaling eight penalties for 58 yards, which extended a handful of Buffalo drives.
The Patriots will once again take their undefeated record on the road as they’ll travel to Washington to take on theRedskinsin what could be rookieDwayne Haskins‘ first career start afterCase Keenumwas benched in Week 4. As for the Bills, they’re heading down to Nashville to take on theTennessee Titans, who just beat theFalconsin Atlanta.
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