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Takeaways: Buffalo Bills embarrass New England Patriots, 38-9

The Bills went in and took over the home of the Patriots.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills stomped the New England Patriots 38-9 to put an exclamation point on their season and continue their great scoring run during the second half of the year. It wasn’t just that the Bills won, but how they won, that was so great.

Here are my big takeaways form the game...

It’s too bad Brian Daboll is gonna be gone next year

The Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator has put together some great tape this year and molded a bucking bronco of a quarterback into an MVP candidate. He’s going to get a look by every NFL team with a head-coaching opening. He has the leading receiver in the NFL on his roster in Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen has set franchise records across the board. Plus he has a great lineage, including working under head coaches Sean McDermott, Bill Belicick, and Nick Saban.

Clinching 2/3 seed is big

The Bills clinched either the second or third seed with their win tonight, meaning they are going to avoid playing the Kansas City Chiefs all the way until the AFC Championship Game. We won’t know who their opponent is going to be until late on Sunday, but they can beat any opponent and now they can choose to rest guys in Week 17 if they really want. With home-field advantage being less of an issue in 2020, it might be time to sit some key players in the season finale.

Fake Punt!

The Bills ran a successful fake punt pass to convert for a first down. It was one of three first-half fourth-down conversions. Sean McDermott has been going for it all season (and we watched Bill Belichick punt from Bills territory down three touchdowns) and this game was no different. It’s good to know what you need to do.

Run defense not great, Bob

New England had 83 yards rushing on a 90-yard second-quarter drive including Cam Newton’s touchdown run bouncing off defenders. The Patriots finished the first half with 130 yards rushing, though they were held to 15 rushing yards in the second half when the Bills started piling on the points. It could still be a problem if the Bills play the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card round, and remember that Buffalo gave up 245 yards on the ground to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Lee Smith game

Two catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. It was the second-most yards Smith has gained in a single game in his career. The blocking tight end was able to get lost in the shuffle twice, leaking into the end zone for a touchdown and then blocking for a second before slipping behind his man for a big catch. It’s not likely to be a key part of their offense going forward, but it keeps the defense honest and that’s enough. It was fun to see him running at full speed, right?

Odds and ends

  • Four drives, four scores in the first half (before the kneel down).
  • Of course Dawson Knox dropped a TD (and so did Taiwan Jones), but he made up for it with three catches for 51 yards.
  • The Bills made it a priority to run the ball early and again did it late in the game to salt away the game, finishing with 131 yards on the ground on 31 attempts
  • We wrote a bunch of articles on the home page about Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs breaking team records for the season with another game left to go, so go check those out. I didn’t want to ignore them in the takeaways.
  • 474 yards to 201 yards, 31 first downs to 11, 39:41 time of possession for Buffalo.