The second meeting with the New England Patriots is always the hardest, and the Buffalo Bills are hanging in against their division rival after two quarters of play. Buffalo’s tied with the Patriots 10-10 at the half. The Bills’ offense didn’t find its footing until the last 30 seconds of the half, while the Patriots have managed to dominate time of possession with a ground-heavy game plan and the Tom Brady to Julian Edelman connection.
The Patriots have run more than twice as many plays as the Bills through halftime, with a steady dose of running plays and short passes. On New England’s opening drive, Jordan Poyer forced a fumble on a screen play that the Bills turned into a field goal. Other than that, the Patriots are dinking and dunking their way downfield, relying on Brady’s surgical accuracy and Edelman’s slippery route running. Only six of Brady’s 22 passes have fallen incomplete so far, with four throwaways, a pass interference, and a dropped pass. The Bills’ pass rush hasn’t hit home yet. At one point, the Bills gave up a 17-play field goal drive, after pinning the Patriots at the one-yard line.
On the other side of the ball, Josh Allen has been more comfortable in the pocket than his previous meeting with the Patriots, but his accuracy still isn’t dialed in yet. He’s 6-of-13 for 62 yards, and 33 came on a single throw right before halftime. Devin Singletary has six carries for 22 yards. The Bills received the ball deep in New England territory and turned that into a field goal after the fumble recovery, and they punted on their next three possessions.
With 33 seconds left, Kevin Johnson tackled N’Keal Harry on 4th and 1 to force a turnover on downs. The Bills, surprisingly, played their final possession of the half with aggression. Allen threw incomplete, then scrambled on a QB draw to the edge of field goal range. He found Cole Beasley at the sideline for nine yards, then uncorked a beautiful deep ball to Dawson Knox. It initially looked like a touchdown, but Knox was ruled down at the one-yard line. Luckily, the Bills still had a timeout remaining to avert a clock runoff that would’ve ended the half. Two plays later, Allen hit left tackle Dion Dawkins on a trick play for the tying touchdown. The Bills had tied it up with one second to go.
Buffalo will receive the opening kickoff of the second half. They need to unlock their offense and crack down on defense, or the Patriots will lock up the division tonight. Go Bills!