The Buffalo Bills suffered their first loss of the season Sunday to their division rival, the New England Patriots. Unlike the past three weeks the Bills would begin and end never surpassing a 45% win percentage. The poor play of Josh Allen and the inability to generate offense would allow the Patriots to walk out of Orchard Park with a win despite only posting nine points on offense.
(All graphs provided by numberFire LIVE)
Despite the loss, some positive takeaways to consider would be the Bills’ defense solidifying itself as an elite against a Patriots team who had scored 30 or more points in each of their first three games. However, I have to remain consistent in my point from last week and say there’s no such thing as a good loss. So let’s look at the bad and very bad of last Sunday’s match-up.
After a four-play drive that ended in a punt, the Patriots would capitalize on an early Josh Allen interception by going on a seven-play, 50-yard drive capped off by a four-yard Brandon Bolden touchdown. The touchdown saw the Bills fall to a 22.27% win probability and as disheartening as it is to say, wouldn't be their lowest-posted probability of the day.
One of the most crucial plays of the first half would be the missed 49-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka. To be clear, 49 yards is by no means a gimme kick but had it been made, the Bills would've exited the first half down one score. Given the context of this game, this kick influences not only the Bills’ abysmal 11.53% win probability, but crucial coaching decisions late in the second half.
The most talked about play of the game and what most will argue shifted odds in New England’s favor for good was the illegal helmet to helmet hit on a seven-yard Josh Allen run. At this point the Bills sat at a 25.71% win probability. Giving credit where it’s due Matt Barkley would come in and statistically improve the Bills’ chances. Given Allen’s habit for late-game comebacks (five in 15 starts) you can't help but wonder what the numbers look like at the end of the game if he wasn’t the victim of that devastating hit.
The play that sealed the game for the Pats was a Matt Barkley interception on a pressured throw late in the fourth quarter. The theme of the day was poor offense by both teams, and one more play made by the Patriots’ defense than the Bills. The game felt closer than the numbers would suggest, but a loss is a loss and the Bills will have to wait until they travel to Foxborough in Week 16 to get their next shot at the Patriots.