Buffalo, NY — In a matchup of AFC East foes the New England Patriots sitting in first place in the division with a record of (9-2) took on the playoff hopefully Buffalo Bills. The Bills, second in the division came into this matchup with a record of (6-5) and their eyes on a potential playoff spot. Coming into the first contest of the season between these two, the Patriots have led the league in offensive yards per game and led by Tom Brady, who leads the league in passing yards per game. A mismatch for a Buffalo Bills defense that statistically has struggled, giving up 350-yards per game of offensive yards thus far this season.
Looking to improve on his 26-3 lifetime record against the Buffalo Bills, Tom Brady would be given the chance to put points on the board early. Following an opening offensive drive for the Buffalo Bills that saw them march down the field to only be stopped short has been a storyline all season long. An interception in the end zone for quarterback Tyrod Taylor was the precursor for the first points of the day. Set up by a 27-yard precision pass from Brady to Danny Amendola on the sideline the Patriots would put the first points of the day on the board. A 50-yard Stephen Gostkowski would make it 3-0 New England going into the second quarter.
The offense was scarce in this one early on as the defense reigned supreme for both sides. A 44-yard Dion Lewis runs for the Patriots was the longest play of the half as Lewis was able to get deep into Buffalo territory thanks to a massive stiff arms safety Jordan Poyer. A big sack from the Buffalo 5-yard line for Kyle Williams would stop the Patriots and their momentum in their tracks. Forced once more to settle for a 31-yard field goal to make it 6-0 in the Patriots favor midway through the second quarter.
The Bills would receive their offense in the first half from an unlikely source in that of a special teamer and backup quarterback Joe Webb. Webb would take a quarterback keep for a 22-yard run and narrowly missed connecting with Travaris Cadet for a touchdown pass. Like the Patriots, the Bills would settle for a field goal of their own, this from 49-yards out from Stephen Hauschka making it a 6-3 game.
A third field goal of the half for the Patriots would make the score 9-3 going into halftime. The Bills defense, with three sacks in the half, had all the answers early on and was able to hold the top-ranked defense in place.
The second half was a different story offensively. The New England Patriots offense rolled in their first possession of the half. Going 70-yards in 10 plays the Patriots were able to extend their lead thanks to a Rex Bulkhead 1-yard touchdown run. Burkhead would finish with over 100-all-purpose yards on the day. The defense would feed off the momentum of their offense as the quickly forced a Bills punt following a big David Harris sack on third down on the very next possession.
It quickly became the Rob Gronkowski and Rex Bulkhead show in the third quarter. A highlight reel catch by Gronkowksi as he grabbed a ball over the head of rookie corner Tre White for 30-yards put the Patriots in striking distance. The reception gave him over 100-yards receiving on the day. With over 30-all purpose yards on the drive to be capped off by a 14-yard rushing touchdown for Burkhead would extend the lead even further in the Patriots favor making it 23-3.
Arguably the only thing overshadowing the Bills lack of offense was the absence of quarterback Tyrod Taylor who went down with injury. Rookie Nathan Peterman would replace Taylor at quarterback following his knee injury.
The Patriots would hold on for a final score of 23-3. Following the victory for the Patriots they would improve to (10-2) and will go on to face the Miami Dolphins. The Bills fall to (6-6) and will play the Colts in Buffalo next week.
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