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Buffalo Bills 14, New England Patriots 14: Second-half open thread

A tie game after two quarters

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots are engaged in a close back-and-forth football game with high stakes for both sides, and the teams are tied at 14 at halftime.

For New England, a win would earn them their second consecutive playoff berth, while a loss puts them at the mercy of other AFC teams. The Bills could clinch the No. 2 seed for the playoffs with a win, but above that, they’re fighting through the nerves and trauma of seeing their teammate go into cardiac arrest on the field less than a week ago.

Nyheim Hines wrote the game a fairy tale beginning with a picturesque 96-yard kickoff return touchdown, and the Bills forced a three-and-out on New England’s first possession, but the Patriots wouldn’t go quietly. They have a pair of nine-play, 74-yard touchdown possessions, mixing play-action passing with run plays to keep Mac Jones clean and his targets wide open. To his credit, Jones is a perfect 12-of-12 passing on the two TD drives.

Josh Allen hasn’t had easy sledding against New England’s defense, which leads the league in interceptions. He’s 12 of 20 for only 96 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He’s had to hang in the pocket and throw some passes away, he’s had a couple receivers catch passes out of bounds, and he’s been sacked twice. The Bills have 13 carries for 67 yards, a 5.2 average that shows promise but doesn’t show a clear advantage.

The Patriots will receive the opening kickoff of the second half. Buffalo needs to find an edge in this game, or another piece of their playoff destiny will fall out of their control.

Here’s your open thread for the second half. Go Bills!