FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (WROC)— With the top spot in the AFC East on the line, the Bills stepped up and won their rematch with the Patriots 33-21
The offensive line played brilliantly and Josh Allen took advantage. Allen completed 30 of his 47 attempts for 314 yards and three touchdowns. Allen was also the team’s top rusher, racking up 65 yards on the ground.
“Josh makes a quarter of a billion dollars. Josh is worth every penny of what he is,” said offensive tackle Dion Dawkins. “I say that jokingly, but Josh is just one of those guys that he cares about his teammates. He’s an over-competitor.”
“We all trust the ball in his hands any time the game is on the line,” said defensive tackle Harrison Phillips. “Whether we are up or down, in Number 17 we trust. I love that guy. Very happy with his success.”
With Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis out on the COVID list, Isaiah McKenzie stepped up big with the biggest performance of his career. The slot receiver caught eleven passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Stefon Diggs had a quality day as well, catching seven balls for 85 yards and another score.
Devin Singletary had a solid game on the ground, with 39 yards on twelve carries and a score.
The Patriots did most of their work on the ground, with Damien Harris rushing for three touchdowns and 103 yards on 18 carries. Mac Jones was held to just 145 yards and no touchdowns and was intercepted twice.
The Bills got on the board in the first quarter on a McKenzie touchdown reception. The Bills went for it on fourth and two at the three yard-line. Allen had all day to pass and was able to find McKenzie late in his progression.
The Patriots answered Buffalo’s 13-play drive with a 13-play touchdown drive of their own as Damien Harris took a pitch 16 yards to the end zone to make it 7-7. New England ran for two first downs on fourth and one on the drive.
On the Bills’ next drive, the team stalled in the red zone and had to settle for a Tyler Bass field goal for a 10-7 lead.
New England turned the ball over on the ensuing drive as Mac Jones had his pass tipped twice, initially by AJ Klein, which was eventually intercepted by Micah Hyde.
The Bills made it to the one yard-line and had second and goal, but could not punch it in. The drive ended as a pass went off of Emmanuel Sanders’ hands on fourth and goal.
However, the Patriots went three-and-out and gave the ball right back to the Bills. Allen finally found the end zone once again as he hit Diggs for a 12-yard touchdown on a laser throw. The score would remain 17-7 at halftime.
On Buffalo’s first drive of the third quarter, they missed out twice on touchdowns. Allen had an open Jake Kumerow in the end zone from 23 yards out and the two were unable to connect on the pass. Later in the drive, Allen hit Dawson Knox for a touchdown but it was called back on a Daryl Williams ineligible man downfield penalty. Bass would kick a 34-yard field goal for a 20-7 lead.
New England would get back in the game as they drove 75 yards down the field on 14 plays, capping off the drive with a one-yard run by Harris. The Patriots converted two fourth downs on the drive. The touchdown made the game 20-14.
The Bills answered with a great drive with McKenzie making two clutch catches, leading to a two-yard run by Singletary to push the lead back to 26-14.
However, the Patriots wouldn’t go away easily, as Harris scored his third touchdown of the game from 8 yards out to cut it to a one-score game, 26-21.
But the Bills would not be denied, as they marched right down the field for another touchdown. The key play was a fourth and one conversion by Allen at New England’s 34 yard-line. The drive was capped off by an Allen flip to Dawson Knox for a 33-21 lead.
“I’m super proud. Again, adversity,” said Allen. “Just guys being pulled out. Ryan Bates stepping up. He played fantastically. Ike goes down. Dion comes back in after being at home with COVID and not really knowing much of the game plan and not actually practicing the game plan. That’s really tough to do. I’m so happy for our guys, how they responded.”
“Going back to phase one of our OTA’s starting in April when we virtual and figuring out what OTA’s were going to be. This was the position that we talked about from then,” said Phillips. “We’re nine months later and that’s come full to fruition for us.”
The Bills now control their own destiny to win the AFC East for the second straight year. If Buffalo can defeat the Falcons and Jets, both at home, they will retain their division title and host a playoff game.