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Buffalo Bills 47, New England Patriots 17: rapid recap and notes

What a beat down!

NFL: AFC Wild Card Playoffs-New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills dominated the New England Patriots tonight bludgeoning their perpetual tormentors in a 47-17 demolition that firmly established the Bills as the premier team in the AFC East.

Buffalo was in complete control in the first half. While they lost the opening coin toss, they received the opening kickoff and marched down the field to open up a 7-0 lead. Buffalo went 70 yards in nine plays, and they didn’t even face a third down. Josh Allen ran for 41 yards on two carries on the drive, and he capped it off by trying to throw the ball away. Dawson Knox had other ideas, though, as he did his best impression of both Dwight Clark and David Tyree, snaring a leaping helmet catch in the back of the end zone to give the Bills a lead.

New England moved the ball well on their second drive, marching to the Buffalo 34 after just eight plays. Mac Jones made a few plays with his legs, scrambling for a gain of 16 to convert a third down, and also extending a play before rolling out and hitting Hunter Henry for 31 yards on another third down. On the last play of the drive, Jones lofted a beautiful ball into the end zone. Nelson Agholor had his man beat, but Micah Hyde came from Pittsford to make a gorgeous diving interception to kill the scoring threat.

Buffalo went to work on offense again, and they again ran ten plays. This time, they went for 80 yards and another Dawson Knox touchdown on a Josh Allen laser. The Bills forced New England to go three-and-out on their next drive, and the Bills again ran ten plays on their next offensive possession. This time, they went 81 yards on their way to a touchdown. Devin Singletary capped off that drive with a three-yard score, but the Patriots blocked the extra point. It was 20-0 Buffalo.

The Bills forced another punt on New England’s next drive, and Buffalo found themselves starting at their own 11. A 19-yard gain by Isaiah McKenzie on a short swing pass followed by a 45-yard gain to Stefon Diggs flipped the field. Two plays later, Devin Singletary scored his second touchdown of the game, this one from 16 yards out, to make it 27-0.

The Patriots scored on their final possession of the first half, as Jones hit Jacobi Meyers for a first down on 4th & 5 to give them a chance. Nick Folk hit a field goal to make it 27-3 heading into halftime. New England wanted the double-dip, and they earned two first downs thanks to some hard running from Damien Harris and a nice screen pass by Jones. However, Jones tried to hit Hunter Henry on an out, and Matt Milano batted the pass up for Levi Wallace to intercept, giving Buffalo the ball on their own 42.

Buffalo started that drive with another handoff to Devin Singletary for a short gain. After two check-down throws to Reggie Gilliam and Singletary, respectively, the Bills had another set of downs in New England territory. After an Isaiah McKenzie run gave Buffalo a first down, Dawson Knox was flagged for pass interference on a swing pass to Cole Beasley. No bother—Josh Allen just fired a 34-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders on the next play. The extra point was blocked, but Buffalo was up 33-3.

The Patriots took over in need of something good, and something good their way came. Mac Jones hit Kendrick Bourne on a beautiful throw that Dane Jackson narrowly missed tipping. Bourne turned the throw into a 43-yard gain. The Patriots then ran a reverse for Bourne, who gained 14 to give the Patriots the ball at the Buffalo 14. Jones converted another third down to set up a goal-to-go situation. A.J. Klein stuffed a toss play, Jones had to throw a ball away, and then Jones threw behind Meyers to set up fourth down. Buffalo blew the coverage on that play, and Jones found Bourne for a touchdown with Micah Hyde five yards in front of him. Folk hit the extra point to make it 33-10.

Buffalo continued moving the ball effectively on their next drive, as Allen continued finding open receivers, Singletary kept finding open holes, and the Bills’ offense kept bludgeoning the Patriots’ defense. The drive ended in familiar fashion, as Allen found Gabriel Davis for yet another touchdown. To this point, Allen had thrown four incomplete passes—and four touchdown passes, too. After Tyler Bass hit the extra point, it was 40-10, and the route that had been ongoing was solidified even further.

Buffalo forced a punt on the next drive, and Micah Hyde returned it for 52 yards, setting the Bills up with good field position. On the first play of the drive, Allen hit Knox for 38 yards, giving the Bills a 1st & GOAL on the one. After Zack Moss was stuffed for no gain, the Bills dialed up a big-man touchdown, as Allen hit Tommy Doyle for a touchdown pass, his fifth of the night. Bass hit the extra point to push the lead to 47-10.

From then on, the Bills put the backups in the game. The reserves played on defense for the next set, and the Patriots moved the ball, eating much of the clock in the process. New England scored a garbage-time touchdown, as Jones hit Bourne on fourth down to make it 47-17. Mitchell Trubisky came in to kneel it out from there.

The Bills are on to the Divisional Round!

Bullet Points

  • Josh Allen was 21-of-25 for 308 yards with five touchdown passes. He added six carries for 66 yards.
  • Stefon Diggs was the target on Allen’s first pass, but he was only targeted four times on the night overall. He caught three passes for 60 yards, including a 45-yarder.
  • Jerry Hughes sacked Mac Jones when the rookie tried a fake spike play. Hughes waved it off as if to say: “No, sir, I will not fall for your ruse.”
  • The Bills had three sacks in total, as Star Lotulelei and Boogie Basham each had one in addition to Hughes.
  • Matt Haack did not punt. That’s always a good thing.
  • Devin Singletary continued his hot streak, as he totaled 81 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Since becoming the lead back, Singletary has been excellent. Over the last five games, Singletary has 404 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
  • Buffalo will either host the Cincinnati Bengals or travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs next week, depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s matchup between the Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers. A Kansas City win means a rematch of last year’s AFC title game. A Pittsburgh win means a rematch at home of the 1988 AFC Championship Game