Patriots out-run Bills in 14-10 win in blustery conditions

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) passes over New England Patriots nose tackle Davon Godchaux (92) who is blocked by Bills’ Ike Boettger (65) during the first half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Damien Harris scored on a 64-yard run in blustery conditions in which Mac Jones attempted just three passes, and the New England Patriots shored up their familiar place atop the AFC with a 14-10 win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday night.

Defensive back Miles Bryant sealed the victory by batting down Josh Allen’s pass at the goal line with Buffalo facing fourth-and-14 at New England’s 18 with 1:55 remaining.

The Patriots leaned heavily on their ground game out-gaining the Bills 229 to 99 in yards rushing, with the cold, windy snowy night negating Allen’s strong-armed passing attack.

New England (9-4) won its seventh consecutive game, improved to 6-0 on the road this season and now has a two-win edge over the Bills (7-5) in the AFC East standings.

Harris finished with a season-best 111 yards rushing and opened the scoring on New England’s ninth play from scrimmage. Facing third-and-5, Harris burst though a gaping hole up the middle and was untouched on his way to the end zone.

With the Patriots facing the wind gusting up to 40 mph, coach Bill Belichick succeeded on a 2-point conversion, with Brandon Bolden scoring just inside the left pylon.

The Patriots never trailed with Nick Folk hitting two field goals — both with the wind at his back — from 34 and 41 yards.

The Bills continued their inconsistencies by losing four of their past seven, and have not won consecutive games since capping a 4-0 run spanning Sept. 19 to Oct. 10.

Gameday blog

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y (WROC) — It’s a playoff-like atmosphere in Orchard Park with the Bills trying to take down the first-place Patriots and regain the top spot in the AFC East.

The weather is adding to the fun, with heavy winds and a chance for snow in the forecast.

Pregame, Jon Feliciano remained on injured reserve and will not play. AJ Klein was added to the COVID list with a reported positive test. Both returners, Isaiah McKenzie and Marquez Stevenson, are inactive. Micah Hyde and Matt Breida should handle the majority of the return duties.

Follow along to live updates from tonight’s game.

First Quarter

The Bills won the toss and deferred, the Patriots got the ball to start the game. Neither team could get anything going on their opening drives, alternating three and outs.

The Patriots went three and out on their next drive and only mustered up a 15-yard punt into the wind. Buffalo will get the ball at New England’s 40-yard line.

The Bills were finally able to get a first down on the ensuing drive, but a Matt Breida fumble gave the ball back to the Patriots.

On third down, Damien Harris went 64 yards on the ground untouched for a long touchdown. The Patriots went for two and got it on a Brandon Bolden run to make it 8-0 with 5:18 left in the first quarter.

The Bills couldn’t get anything going and had to punt the ball away. However, the punt bounced and hit N’Keal Harry in the facemask and the Bills recovered it. Josh Allen cashed in with a 14-yard score to Gabriel Davis. The Bills kicked the extra point and trailed 8-7.

The Patriots ran for two first downs before the first quarter ended.

Second Quarter

The Pats continued to run over the Bills, but Buffalo’s defense finally got a stop. Nick Folk kicked a 41-yard field goal for an 11-7 lead.

Each team traded punts on their next possession. The Bills got into New England territory, but went backward with a delay of game penalty and a sack.

The Bills and the Patriots once again traded punts into halftime and the Patriots take an 11-7 lead at the half.

Third Quarter

The Bills start with the ball and get a first down on a pass to Cole Beasley, but come up short on their next set of downs. The Bills punted.

A key holding penalty negated a long New England run and the Patriots had to punt.

The Bills got some positive momentum and almost had a long touchdown to Diggs that bounced off his hands as he could not track the ball in the wind. The Bills settled for a 35-yard field goal, kicking on fourth and seven. The Bills trailed 11-10.

New England got the ball with 6:35 left in the third and ran the ball right down the Bills’ throats. They made it to the Buffalo 15-yard line before the third quarter ended.

Fourth Quarter

Matt Milano came up with two tackles for losses to start the quarter, which held the Patriots to a field goal. Folk kicked a 34-yard field goal to take a 14-10 lead.

The Bills marched into New England territory and had a first and goal at the seven. The Bills got no yards on a Zack Moss run, Allen was sacked, and Allen essentially threw the ball away thinking he had an offsides penalty. Sean McDermott elected to kick a 33-yard field goal into the wind, which Bass sailed wide right.

Buffalo came up with a big stop on defense and forced a New England punt.

With 5:47 left in the game, Allen hit Diggs for a beautiful 26-yard gain on the sideline into the wind.

The 11 play 62-yard drive came to a halt when the Bills couldn’t convert a fourth and 14 with the game on the line. Patriots took over and took care of the clock en route to victory.

Final score

Patriots 14, Bills 10

New England has now won seven in a row on their way to the top seed in the division and conference while Buffalo’s midseason struggles continue.

Given the weather, an ugly game was expected. The Bills had more first downs (16-11), less total yards (241-230), and a lot more passing yards (222-99). The Patriots attempted just three passing plays in the whole game.

Josh Allen finished 15-30 for 145 yards, a touchdown, and zero interceptions. He also led the Bills in rushing on 39 yards with six carries. Stefon Diggs led the receiving effort for Buffalo with four catches and 51 yards on seven targets.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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