Josh Allen leads Bills to first AFC East win of season over Patriots


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – At 6-5, the New England Patriots went two games behind the 8-3 Buffalo Bills in “Thursday Night Football”. And even though the Bills were tied with the Miami Dolphins atop the AFC East, they were 0-2 in the division.

The Bills handled the Patriots with ease on Thursday, clinching a 24-10 division victory and pushing the Patriots farther from playoff contention.

Buffalo Bills

For the first time since injuring his right elbow in Week 9 against the Jets, quarterback Josh Allen lined up near center field and threw passes in pregame warmups. A step towards normality after a full week of practice.

What followed in the Bills’ 24-10 victory over the Patriots was similar. Buffalo looked more in sync and closer to the team putting in dominating performances before Week 7 bye, albeit against a struggling New England offense, becoming the first team to beat the Belichick-era Patriots by double digits in three consecutive games .

The Bills nearly doubled the Patriots’ possession time (38:08 to 21:52) and maintained a double-digit lead in the second quarter for the remainder of the game. Allen seemed more in control, completing 22 of 33 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns with one fumble, while becoming the first player in NFL history with three seasons of 25 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns.

The key run for the Bills and Allen offense in earning the team’s first AFC East win of the season was a 15-play, 94-yard drive in the second half that lasted nearly nine minutes past the clock. Buffalo proved at a crucial moment that Allen & Co. could lead a drive and put away a team.

Promising trend: The Bills got off to an early start with rookie James Cook leading the way. The ground offense helped set up two seven-plus-minute drives—including a 15-play drive that was the longest of the season—after coming on the night with three such drives all season.

The offense had three consecutive scoring drives to start the game, and that went a long way as the offense fell into a lull towards the end of the second quarter and into the third. Cook also showed how dynamic he can be with significant chances throughout a game, even when the attack line isn’t at its best.

Describe the game in two words: Necessary victory. The Bills are in the midst of one of the team’s greatest stretches of the season with three straight games against AFC East opponents, and starting with a convincing road victory against the Patriots was important to the team’s hopes for home-court advantage.

Under-the-radar stats that matter: Cornerback Tre’Davious White played the second most snaps of all Bills cornerbacks at 62.7%. For White – as he returns from a torn ACL he suffered last Thanksgiving – and this defense, it’s a major step in the right direction. White played 15 snaps against the Lions last week and the Bills clearly felt comfortable enough for him to play almost every series. After Von Miller was placed on injured reserve earlier Thursday, that is important news for this defense going forward.

Eye-popping NFL Next Gen Stats: Allen was 0.3 yards from the sideline on his passing touchdown to wide receiver Gabe Davis in the second quarter. It tied for closest to the sideline on every completion since NFL Next Gen Stats began tracking players in 2016. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts also threw a touchdown from 0.3 yards from the sideline against the Dallas Cowboys last season.

Next game: vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

New England patriots

The New England Patriots offense, already ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in several key categories, sank even lower in Thursday night’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.

No juice. No chance to win.

The Bills completely controlled the game, with a possession advantage of 38:08 to 21:52.

There was so much promise in quarterback Mac Jones’ rookie season in 2021, but now there are more questions than answers.

Coach Bill Belichick has said repeatedly that the money stops with him when it comes to the offense. He made the unconventional decision to replace departed offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, two coaches with primary backgrounds in defense and special teams, respectively.

Belichick also oversaw a streamlining of the attack, with players saying the goal was to get them to play faster.

It didn’t work.

Entering Thursday night, the Patriots were 31st in the red zone, 30th in interception percentage, 26th in sacks per pass, 27th in first downs and 25th in third-down conversions.

Thursday night it only got worse.

Describe the game in two words: Offensive offensive. This was tough to watch.

QB Breakdown: Jones continues to struggle as the offense seems to have nothing to define itself. He finished 22 of 36 for 195 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. When opponents have put pressure on Jones, the results have been particularly bad. He came in on Thursday with no touchdowns and five pressurized interceptions this season, with a 1.5 Total QBR. The Jets’ Zach Wilson (1.3) was the only qualified quarterback with a lower QBR in those situations. On Thursday, Jones was 5-of-13 for 25 yards on passes under pressure.

Disturbing trend: Bills quarterback Josh Allen deserves credit for making a remarkable play on an 8-yard touchdown pass to receiver Gabe Davis in the second quarter, but why did the Patriots defensive backs seem to stop play as Allen approached the sideline? That was one of several costly mistakes the Patriots kept popping up, which also included a game delay penalty on a punt and a failed transfer on third and first on the team’s first offensive drive.

Silver lining: Third year defensive end Josh Uche was one of the best players on the field. He had two sacks in the first half, one of which forced a fumble. He was credited with five quarterback pressures in the first half alone, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information. That was a career highlight.

Eye-popping NFL Next Gen Stats: Rookie defensive back Marcus Jones, playing wide receiver, reached a high speed of 20.88 mph on his 48-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the first quarter.

Next game: at Cardinals (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday)

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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