In what was one of the most anticipated rematches of the year, the Buffalo Bills fell to the New England Patriots Saturday 17-24. While Buffalo didn't manage to pull out a win against the Pats, they had a much better showing than in their first meeting. While they struggled in the first half, the Bills would manage to take control for most of the second half and the lead in win probability up until the final minutes of the game. Let’s take a look at how Buffalo managed to give the Pats a run for their money in Week 16.
New England came into this game as clear favorites to win, starting the game with a 67.02% chance of winning before either team had taken a snap. The Patriots would start the game with the ball and even after a Rex Burkhead fumble and 35-yard field goal to take the lead early, Buffalo still only had a 38.34% chance of winning.
The following drive Tom Brady and company would go on a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that would swing them a total of 10.84% and bring them to a 72.48% win probability. The drive was capped off by an eight-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Matt LaCosse Making the score 7-3 New England late in the first quarter.
After another field goal by the Patriots in the second quarter, the Bills faced an uphill battle late in the second. Following a beautiful 33-yard pass from Josh Allen to Dawson Knox with 10 seconds remaining the Bills found themselves at the one-yard line. The pass to Knox would swing the Bills 8.33% and set up a one-yard touchdown pass to left tackle Dion Dawkins to tie the game at 10 going into the half.
After both teams would fail to score on their opening drives of the second half, Buffalo would take its first lead in both score and win probability mid-way through the third quarter. This would give the Bills a 20.42% swing in the win probability and put them in the driver’s seat up until the end of the game.
However, despite the Bills taking control of most of the second half, the Patriots would manage to score the game’s winning touchdown on a one-yard touchdown run by Rex Burkhead. Buffalo would fail to reach the end zone on the game’ final drive, sealing another division championship for New England. Despite the loss Buffalo has clinched a playoff birth and one thing’s for sure, Bills Mafia can't wait to hopefully get another crack at the Patriots.