With the 2018 NFL season in the books, we look back at the year and our beloved Buffalo Bills. Every week is a story, and we bring this to you through the lens of key plays that defined each game. Your Week 8 match-up:
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
The end of this game would mark the mid-point of the season. To make this a true centerpiece game, the Bills had been granted a rare Monday Night Football spot in Western New York to take on the hated New England Patriots. This was the game fans had been waiting for since the schedule released, and it was made all the sweeter as a result of [looks at box score again] Derek Anderson starting his second game for the Bills. Following a pummeling by the Indianapolis Colts, the Bills stood toe-to-toe with the Patriots for more than three quarters, exceeding the expectations of many.
LeSean McCoy tackled for loss (Q1, 4:43)
With this being only the second start for Derek Anderson, the Patriots worked to shut down the run game. LeSean McCoy tried a few lanes and found them all closed. This loss of three was one of six tackles for a loss. The Bills ran the ball 19 times for only 46 yards. Their woeful 2.4 yards per rush meant the game would need to be decided by Derek Anderson’s arm.
Jordan Phillips tackles Julian Edelman (Q2, 12:24)
The Buffalo defense limited the Patriots rushing game as well (25 carries for 76 yards) but gave up 311 net passing yards. Despite the yardage allowed, the brothers-in-arms on defense tightened up near the end zone. With the Patriots limited to field goals through three quarters, the Bills kept the game close most of the night. We’ve seen a quick toss to Julian Edelman have lethal results countless times before. Jordan Phillips saw the play develop immediately and tackled Edelman before he could convert on third down. Because of that stop and several others like it, the Bills entered halftime down by one score.
Derek Anderson to Kelvin Benjamin for 40 yards (Q3, 13:08)
Derek Anderson threw for 287 yards in this game. This was the most in a game for the Buffalo Bills in the 2018 season. Less than three weeks into his tenure with Buffalo, Anderson found chunks of yards all night. Most drives stalled before getting into scoring position as an unbalanced offense couldn’t land a knockout blow.
Stephen Hauschka 51-yard field goal (Q3, 7:39)
This score from Stephen Hauschka put the Bills a field goal away from a tied game midway through the third quarter. This lengthy field goal would be the final score for the Bills. The wheels would come off shortly after this, as the Patriots were gifted excellent field position from a strip-sack of Derek Anderson. Why worry? A field goal off of that turnover and a fourth quarter touchdown by the Patriots put the Bills in dire straits.
Derek Anderson Interception (Q4, 6:09)
Now down by twelve points, the Bills were ready for their tenth play of a promising drive. With over six minutes left, two timeouts, and only 30 yards from a score, the idea of a comeback was not so far away. Then that happened. Now down by three scores, the game was over. A well-played 50 minutes of football had unraveled quickly at the end.
Which play best defines the Monday Night Football loss?
This poll is closed
LeSean McCoy negative run
Jordan Phillips tackles Julian Edelman
Derek Anderson to Kelvin Benjamin for 40 yards
Stephen Hauschka hits 51 yard field goal
Derek Anderson pick-6