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 16 match-up:
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
The Buffalo Bills were traveling to take on the New England Patriots for the second time, and the first for Josh Allen. The defense successfully shut down Tom Brady, limiting him to 117 net yards. The Bills defense also forced three turnovers, two in New England territory. Unfortunately, the Belichick defense known for tearing apart rookie quarterbacks did exactly that. With Allen and the offense struggling, New England kept the Bills in check and kept grinding in the running game for a victory.
Defense allows Cordarelle Patterson 12-yard run (Q1, 10:16)
You couldn’t ask for a better start defensively for the Buffalo Bills. A 3-and-out with two incompletions set the tone that the Bills weren’t about to let Brady pass on them all day. In 24 attempts, Brady would be intercepted twice, have three passes defended, was hit three times and sacked once.
Unfortunately, Belichick is a man who knows how to scheme. With Taron Johnson and Matt Milano injured, Belichick attacked the edges and took advantage of the Bills’ lack of speed. Rushes up the middle yielded less than 3.5 yards per carry. Rushes to the right side gained 5.7, and toward the left side the Patriots averaged over 10 yards per carry.
Josh Allen throws interception (Q2, 9:53)
The Buffalo offense had been stymied to this point, while the grinding Pats had just scored their second touchdown. This was the first play of the drive and set the Patriots up close to scoring range. Turnovers became the dominant storyline. Buffalo’s defense worked hard to keep them in the game, but the offense repeatedly failed to capitalize.
Lorenzo Alexander interception (Q2, 7:51)
With the Patriots in Buffalo territory following the turnover, the Bills desperately needed a big play. What appears to be a miscue between Tom Brady and his intended target was recognized by Lorenzo Alexander. Deftly plucking the ball out of the air, Alexander almost certainly prevented another Patriots score. Despite piling up running yards, the Bills would keep the Patriots from scoring until 5:05 in the third quarter.
Jordan Poyer interception (Q3, 14:56)
Down 0-14 at the half it was looking grim. While the defense had tightened up, it seemed unlikely they could shut down New England for another 30 minutes. The ineffective offense couldn’t afford to be in a larger hole and the Patriots would get the ball first. A pass to Rob Gronkowski went a little high and Gronkowski couldn’t handle it. Jordan Poyer could, however, and set the Bills up for their first score, a 35-yard field goal from Stephen Hauschka.
Jason Croom fumble (Q3, 3:02)
Another Stephen Hauschka field goal put the game within one score just three minutes after the first one. Unfortunately, the Patriots responded with their third touchdown of the day. Down by 15, the Bills were in need of a score. The offense moved 44 yards in three plays and tacked on 24 more with this pass to Jason Croom. The Bills weren’t going down without a fight, and Croom embodied that spirit. The Patriots came to fight, too, and a forced fumble abruptly ended the promising drive. The teams traded punts but the Patriots found their way to a field goal. Buffalo would find the end zone with just over a minute left in the game but it was too little, too late.
Which play best defines the Buffalo Bills loss to the New England Patriots?
This poll is closed
Defense allows run to the edge
Josh Allen interception
Lorenzo Alexander interception
Jordan Poyer interception
Jason Croom fumble