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Five takeaways: No moral victories for Buffalo Bills in loss to New England Patriots

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That stinks.

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills lost to the New England Patriots on Saturday in a nationally-televised slugfest. The Patriots clinched the AFC East in the game, and the Bills can now look forward to their Wild Card game in the playoffs.

Here are my five takeaways:

Playoff atmosphere

With two 10-win teams facing off in late December, it had the feeling of a playoff game in Foxborough. The game was hard-hitting and the stakes were high with the AFC East on the line. It went right down to the wire.

No moral victories

Bills fans and the team should not be happy with “competing” with the Patriots. If Buffalo is going to take the next step, they need to win games like this.

How the hell were they tied at halftime?

Before the last drive, Josh Allen was 3-of-8 for 19 yards and while the Patriots were over 200 yards on offense, Buffalo had just 50 total yards. The Bills’ final drive traveled 59 yards in just 32 seconds. Allen found tight end Dawson Knox, dropping a pass in the bucket for a touchdown that was eventually ruled down at the 1. Two plays later, Allen found left tackle Dion Dawkins (yup) for the game-tying touchdown.

First-half defense appears mortal

After allowing 215 yards in the first half, the Bills’ defense looked mortal. Tom Brady was 9-for-9 on his opening passes, totaling 134 yards in the first half. The defense also allowed 81 yards on the ground—not something we’ve seen in a while. They only allowed ten points, which was important as the game went on.

Long passes

The Bills were able to complete some long passes on Saturday, with Allen hooking up with Dawson Knox and John Brown. Knox nearly scored at the end of the first half with a drop-in-the-bucket pass from the second-year quarterback. He was downed at the one but Buffalo scored on the possession. Brown pulled a double-move on Stephon Gilmore to score a 53-yard touchdown.