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Plays That Defined 2021: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

The dress rehearsal for the perfect game

Welcome to Plays That Defined 2021! This ain’t your usual game recap. Here’s what to do. Pretend you’ve just written a novel and it’s time to select the cover art. You want a single picture that tells the reader what it’s all about, right? That’s the deal here. Vote for the play that best tells the “story” of this game. Which GIF is the best “cover art” for...

Week 16: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

The meeting between these teams earlier in the year was an embarrassing loss for the Buffalo Bills. Many fans blamed the extreme weather and the inability for Buffalo to adjust. With more typical weather expected for this game, Bills fans were optimistic for revenge. While the final score isn’t too crazy, Buffalo took the early lead and responded after every single New England score with one of their own. It might not mean “dominant” but Buffalo had control the entire game.

Isaiah McKenzie’s touchdown (Q1, 6:43)

Buffalo opened up the scoring on their first drive by foreshadowing a large chunk of the day. Isaiah McKenzie’s second catch in relief of Cole Beasley was this touchdown. This could be called the “McKenzie Game” as the depth receiver caught 11 of 12 passes for 125 yards and this score. Also of note, despite being tied at zero, this was a fourth-down play. Buffalo wanted revenge.

Josh Allen’s incompletion (Q2, 4:51)

If the Bills were in control the entire game, how does this play paint a picture of the day? A lot was said about the Bills’ perfect game against New England in the postseason, but this game served as the tune up. This incomplete pass was the closest the Bills came to punting all day. Only three drives didn’t end in a score. This one, the drive that was cut short by halftime, and the kneel downs at the end of the game. And note the line of scrimmage here. They could have taken three more points if they wanted them. Translation from all the above: New England didn’t stop the Bills’ offense even once.

Emmanuel Sanders’s 11-yard catch (Q3, 11:07)

Buffalo’s offense didn’t just put up points, they ate clock, limiting opportunities for the Patriots. Their ability to keep the chains moving is shown here as an 11-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders. That’s normally a nice play, but even more so on 3rd & 10. Buffalo’s methodical drives on offense and frequently stifling defense led to more than ten minutes in favor of the Bills, which is ludicrous.

Micah Hyde’s interception (Q4, 1:13)

Looking at sacks and QB hits, it wouldn’t appear that Mac Jones was harassed all game. On the other hand, looking at his yards per attempt (4.53 if you’re curious) it’s very clear that the defense wasn’t having it from Jones. In addition to several short drives with five or less plays, Micah Hyde picked off Jones twice. We roll with the second one that allowed Buffalo to kneel it out.

Josh Allen’s kneel down (Q4, 0:37)

Against this team.
In their stadium.
In front of their fans.
This will never get old.

Votey vote


Which play best defines (illustrates) the very satisfying victory over the Patriots?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Isaiah McKenzie touchdown
    (179 votes)
  • 0%
    Josh Allen incompletion
    (1 vote)
  • 11%
    Emmanuel Sanders conversion
    (34 votes)
  • 9%
    Micah Hyde interception
    (29 votes)
  • 21%
    Take a knee
    (66 votes)
309 votes total Vote Now