In a matchup between divisional foes, the New England Patriots took on the Bills in Buffalo looking to even the season series with a win. The Bills came in with a record of 4-3, winning three of their last four while the Patriots are 6-1 with their one loss coming at the hands of Buffalo in a week four 16-0 Buffalo victory. This matchup though was far different from the one in week four as the Patriots were without quarterback Tom Brady in their first matchup while the Bills were without running back LeSean McCoy. Including McCoy, the Bills and Tyrod Taylor were without their top four receivers in this one.
On the Bills first offensive drive of the game, the absence of McCoy early seemed to be a non-issue as they were able to march down the field at will. A first drive that saw the Bills run for 46 yards on the ground and feature players such as Mike Gillislee and Reggie Bush. The offense would stall out and the Bills would settle for a Dan Carpenter 23-yard field goal for their first lead of the game. That lead would quickly be relinquished as Tom Brady and company took advantaged of the Bills secondary picking it apart for 54-yards until finally finding the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Danny Amendola. On the drive, the Patriots were 4/4 on third down, an area where the Bills defense has struggled at times this season.
Bills miscues turned into opportunities for the Patriots early on. Following a key drop on third down by Bills receiver Brandon Tate the Patriots offense took advantage of the field position. In a three play 45-yard drive the Patriots managed to pad their lead on the Bills to 14-3 late in the first. A 53-yard touchdown perfectly placed by Brady to the former Bill Chris Hogan gave the Patriots a double-digit lead and all the momentum early on.
The lack of weapons offensively for the Bills was evident as without their top four receivers and the in-game injury to Charles Clay the offense was seemingly running in place. It was the Bills running backs who did all the damage for the Bills as after the Bills defense settled into place the offense was able to something going halfway through the second. Turning back the clocks, Reggie Bush hauled in a 25-yard reception deep in Patriots territory where lead back Mike Gillislee was able to punch it in for six on a 3-yard run. As quickly as the Bills offense was narrow the gap was just as quick as the defense gave it away as the Patriots nearly replicated their previous scoring drive going for 79-yards in four plays. The drive was topped off by a Rob Gronkowski 53-yard touchdown score from Brady as he ran free down the middle of the field past the Bills secondary. The touchdown was the 69th of Gronkowski’s career and places as the all-time Patriots leader in career touchdowns.
Following a 51-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, the Patriots would go into the half leading 24-10 over the Bills thanks to their passing game. In the first half, the Patriots threw for 209-yards while rushing the ball for only 20 yards, on the flip side the Bills put up over 90-yards on the ground while barely eclipsing 100 yards passing.
The second half was much of the same for the Patriots offense coming out of the gates hot. A 73-yard kickoff return by Danny Amendola set up a two play 24-yard drive finished off by another Brady touchdown, this time going by the way of Julian Edelman. The touchdown was Brady’s fourth of the game and his 25th four touchdown game of his career as well as continuing his streak of having thrown 12 straight touchdowns without an interception.
The offensive onslaught of the Patriots continued as following a Tyrod Taylor 26-yard touchdown run on fourth down the Patriots once again marched right down the field. A twelve play 75-yard drive ending in a LeGarrette Blount touchdown extended the lead to 38-17. This game had a far different feel from that in week four which was a defensive struggle where the Patriots failed to even put any points up on the board. This time around it was the Bills offense that was stuck looking for answers. As the game went on it became evident that Taylor was consistently throwing the deep ball for no other reason than to aim for pass interference calls. Without nearly any of his offensive weapons at his disposal for the entirety of the game and a lackluster defensive performance the Bills had were utterly outmatched in this once.
The Patriots would go on to win the game by a score of 41-25. Following the game the Bills fall to 4-4 on the season after dropping their second straight game. The Bills will head to Seattle next week to take on the Seahawks. The Patriots improve to 7-1 on the season and will have their bye week coming up.
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