Josh Allen leads Bills to the AFC East’s first win of the season over the Patriots
- December 2, 2022
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11:16 p.m. ET
CloseESPN Staff WriterCovered Patriots since 1997 Joined ESPN in 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots went into Thursday Night Football two games behind the 8-3 Buffalo Bills with a score of 6-5. And while the Bills were at the top of the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins, they were 0-2 in the division.
The Bills handled the Patriots with ease Thursday, earning a 24-10 division win and further edging the Patriots out of playoff contention.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was 22 of 33 for 223 yards and two touchdowns with a fumble against the Patriots Thursday. Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports
For the first time since injuring his right elbow against the Jets in Week 9, quarterback Josh Allen stood near center field and threw passes in pregame warm-ups. A step towards normality after a whole week of training.
What followed in the Bills’ 24-10 win over the Patriots was similar. Buffalo seemed more in sync and closer to the team that had been dominating before the Week 7 reunion, albeit against a struggling New England offense, and became the first team to beat the Belichick-era Patriots by double digits in three straight games .
The Bills almost doubled the Patriots’ possession time (38:08 to 21:52) and maintained a double-digit lead from the second quarter for the rest of the game. Allen appeared to have more control, completing 22 of 33 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns with one fumble while becoming the first player in NFL history with three seasons with 25 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns.
The key offensive streak for the Bills and Allen in earning the team’s first AFC East win of the season was a 15-game, 94-yard drive in the second half that lasted nearly nine minutes by the clock. Buffalo proved at a pivotal moment that Allen & Co. could lead a drive and take out a team.
Promising trend: The Bills got the running game going early, with rookie James Cook taking the lead. The ground attack helped establish two drives longer than seven minutes — including a 15-game drive that was the longest of the season — after three such drives came into the night all season.
The offensive had three straight goals to start the game and that went for a long time as the offensive went on hiatus late in the second quarter and into the third. Cook also showed how dynamic he can be with significant chances throughout a game, even when the offensive line isn’t at its best.
Describe the game in two words: Necessary victory. The Bills are in the middle of one of the biggest legs of the season for the team with three straight games against AFC East opponents, and starting with a convincing win away to the Patriots was significant to the team’s hopes of home advantage.
Under-the-radar stat that matters: Cornerback Tre’Davious White played the second most snaps of any Bills cornerback at 62.7%. For White – coming back from a cruciate ligament injury sustained last Thanksgiving – and this defense, it’s a significant step in the right direction. White played 15 snaps against the Lions last week, and the Bills clearly felt comfortable enough for him to play almost every series. After Von Miller was placed on injured reserve early Thursday, it’s important news for this defense going forward.
Stunning NFL Next Gen Stats stat: Allen was 0.3 yards from the touchline on his passing touchdown in the second quarter against wide receiver Gabe Davis. Since NFL Next Gen Stats began tracking players in 2016, it’s been closest to the sidelines for every deal. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts also threw a touchdown from 0.3 yards from the touchline against the Dallas Cowboys last season.
Next Game: vs. Jets (1pm ET, Sunday)
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones finished Thursday’s loss to the Bills with 22 of 36 for 195 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots, already ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in several key categories, dropped even further in offense in Thursday night’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.
no juice No chance of winning.
The Bills completely controlled the game with a possession advantage of 38:08 to 21:52.
Quarterback Mac Jones’ rookie season of 2021 was so promising, but now there are more questions than answers.
Coach Bill Belichick has said repeatedly that the buck stops at him when it comes to offense. He made the unconventional decision to replace the late offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, two coaches who worked primarily on defense and special teams, respectively.
Belichick also oversaw an offense streamline, with players saying the goal was to allow them to play faster.
It did not work.
As of Thursday night, the Patriots finished 31st in the red zone, 30th in interception percentage, 26th in sacks take-per-pass games, 27th in first downs and 25th in total th place in third-down conversions.
It only got worse on Thursday evening.
Describe the game in two words: offensive offensive. That was hard to watch.
QB breakdown: Jones keeps fighting as offense doesn’t seem to have anything that defines itself. He finished 22 of 36 for 195 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. When opponents pressured Jones, the results were particularly bad. He started Thursday with no touchdowns and five interceptions when pressured this season, with an overall QBR of 1.5. The Jets’ Zach Wilson (1.3) was the only qualified quarterback with a lower QBR in those situations. On Thursday, Jones was 5 of 13 for 25 yards on passes when pressured.
Concerning Trend: Bills quarterback Josh Allen deserves credit for making a notable play in the second quarter with an 8-yard touchdown pass to receiver Gabe Davis, but why did the Patriots’ defenders seem to stop playing when Allen saw the sideline approached? It was one of several costly mistakes the Patriots made, including a game-delay penalty on a punt and a botched handover third and first on the team’s first offensive drive.
Silver lining: Third-year defensive end Josh Uche was one of the best players on the field. He had two sacks in the first half, one of which forced a fumble. He was credited with five quarterback pressures in the first half alone, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information. That was a career high.
Stunning NFL Next Gen Stats stat: Rookie defenseman Marcus Jones, playing wide receiver, hit a blistering 20.88 mph on his 48-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the first quarter.
Next game: at Cardinals (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday)