Extreme wind gusts up to 40 mph coming off of Lake Erie with temperatures in the mid-twenties contributed to both teams primarily running the football; the New England Patriots edged out the Buffalo Bills in these conditions 14–10 to take the lead in the AFC East Division on Monday Night Football in Orchard Park, New York.
The victory gives the Patriots a winning streak of seven games as head coach Bill Belichick holds the record for most seven-game win streaks in NFL history with 11. Belichick has now won 19 out of 22 games at Buffalo—tying George Alice, who coached for 40 years, as the only coaches with 19 road wins against a single opponent.
The Patriots accumulated 222 rushing yards while passing for a mere 19 yards. QB Mac Jones threw the ball just three times, completing two.
“For the offensive line to do what they did was incredible and they deserve all the credit in the world,” said Patriots QB Mac Jones. “It was just a crazy game to be a part of, but we knew if we didn’t turn the ball over, we’d be good,” he added. “The running backs ran hard.”
Bills QB Josh Allen threw for 145 yards and one touchdown. Allen also led the team in rushing for 39 yards out of the team total of 99 yards from four different backs. Devin Singletary had the next highest total of 36 yards on 10 carries.
Both teams went three and out on the first three drives. On Buffalo’s second possession, following a Patriots punt against the wind that carried only 15 yards, they were able to get a first down.
But Allen and RB Matt Breida fumbled the hand-off exchange at the New England 35 yard line.
New England was able to take advantage of their third possession on a 3rd & 5. The defense was stacked on the line to stop the run and end the drive, leaving one safety in the back of the formation. RB Damien Harris took a pitch to the left from Jones and cut up a gap through the middle untouched for a 64-yard touchdown scamper.
Conditions for kicking against the blustering side-wind were extremely difficult, so they were able to score a two-point conversion with a run around the left end by Brandon Bolden.
“The biggest one was the big 64-yard run,” said Bills coach Sean McDermott. “We’re in the red zone four times, [successful] one for four.”
“Starting field position was basically the 40-yard line for us compared to the 23-yard line for them,” he added. “Then you turn the ball over, so [we played] sloppy football.”
Buffalo was forced to punt on their next drive, but got a huge break as Patriots N’Keal Harry dropped the punt on his 14-yard line to give the Bills a short field. Allen threw a touchdown on the first play to Gabriel Davis—for a score of 7–8—who caught two passes for 30 yards. Stefon Diggs led the Bills with 51 yards on four receptions.
New England would come right back kicking the first of two field goals by Nick Folk: a 41-yard FG with 11:28 in the 2nd, and the final score with a 34-yarder 13:01 in the 4th.
Buffalo was successful in making their only field goal for the game: 35 yards by Tyler Bass at 6:35 in the 3rd to get within a point 10–11.
With the score of 10–14, the Bills missed on a 33-yard field goal that was pushed just right of the goal post by the gusting winds.
That miss forced Buffalo to have to score a touchdown on their final drive. With 5:47 left, they marched 62 yards on 11 plays to get to the 13-yard line before being pushed back to the 18 from a penalty.
On 4th & 14, Allen dropped back on a double-post pattern and threw a pass to the end-zone to the outside receiver, Davis, who cut toward the center.
Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant, following Allen’s eyes, broke off of his receiver that was also running a post to knock down the intended pass several yards before reaching its target in the endzone.
“We got to win the close ones, we got to find a way and we were one four in the red zone tonight; didn’t play good enough,” said Allen. “I take that very personally and you know, I got to play better, be better for this team.”
“So good to get the win,” said Belichick. “You got to give the players a lot of credit for just being tough, being disciplined, being resilient, and dealing with a really good football team.”
The Patriots now get a bye week and play the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 18.
The Bills will travel to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday and face former Patriot Tom Brady, who is 32–3 against Buffalo when alongside Bellichick, and holds the NFL record for most career wins by a quarterback against an opponent.