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Buffalo Bills 17, New England Patriots 7: Second-half open thread

So far, so good for the Bills

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills head into halftime against the New England Patriots with a comfortable 17-7 lead so far. The Bills have controlled the clock and the line of scrimmage with ease tonight, which helped them force four Patriots punts in only two quarters played.

The Bills’ defense played a nearly spotless performance in the first two quarters. With the Patriots running 23 plays from scrimmage, 22 of them gained only 82 yards. New England fumbled twice and was nearly called for a safety in the first half. The only blemish was a 51-yard touchdown by Patriots Swiss army knife Marcus Jones. Jones, who typically plays defense and special teams, caught a quick pass in a favorable situation, with Damar Hamlin trying to make a diving tackle from a distance, dodged one tackler, and outran the rest of the defense into the end zone. That play aside, the Bills haven’t had any problem dealing with Mac Jones and Rhamondre Stevenson.

On offense, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the Bills, but it’s hard to complain about the results. Pre-game, Ryan Fitzpatrick noted that the Patriots hadn’t won any games this year against a team who scored 17 points, and the Bills already hit that mark halfway through the second quarter.

The Bills rode a focused rushing attack to control the clock and stress the Patriots’ defense, paced by James Cook’s 50 yards on eight carries. They finished the half with nearly a 50-50 ratio between runs and passes. Josh Allen’s arm accuracy looks much improved from previous weeks, and he’s been poised within the pocket and on the run. He has touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. The only concerns are with Buffalo’s offensive line, especially backup left tackle David Quessenberry. Allen’s been pressured on numerous occasions tonight, and lost a fumble on a strip sack near the end of the half when Quessenberry was beat around the edge.

Buffalo will receive the opening kickoff of the second half, so if they keep up their pace, they can stretch their lead before the Patriots have a chance to close it. With continued effort, they can win their ninth game and improve their divisional record in the process. Here’s your open thread for the second half — go Bills!