Patriots vs. Bills rating, takeaways: Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs cruise past New England to take AFC East lead

With their respective seasons on the road in January, the Bills beat up on their rival Patriots, sending New England residence for the winter. Almost a calendar yr later, Buffalo delivered one other beatdown, this time in Foxborough. Looking to take a short lived lead within the crowded AFC East, Josh Allen and Co. did not have an ideal night time on Bill Belichick’s turf. But they by no means wanted to, utilizing a few pristine connections to star large receiver Stefon Diggs, plus a stellar defensive exhibiting for a lot of Thursday night time, to cruise past New England 24-10 of their first assembly of the 2022 marketing campaign.

Rested up after a promising outing towards the Vikings on Thanksgiving, Mac Jones and the house crew initially threatened to take the Bills to the wire, claiming an early lead on a trick landing to cornerback Marcus Jones. That gadget rating proved to be the final dependable, explosive play for New England’s offense till late within the fourth, working towards a Bills “D” lacking injured cross rusher Von Miller. Allen, in the meantime, performed with hearth from time to time however by no means misplaced management of the competition, additionally leaning on rookie operating again James Cook, who emerged as each a runner and receiver.

Here are extra takeaways from Thursday night time’s Week 13 kickoff:

Why the Bills gained

Stefon Diggs labored his magic. Josh Allen was clearly a giant motive, too, as per ordinary, and his efforts have been by no means extra invaluable than on Buffalo’s second landing of the night time — a highlight-reel scramble by which Allen discovered Gabe Davis in the long run zone after ready till the final minute on the sideline. But Diggs is so usually the catalyst on in any other case stalled drives, and his numbers (seven catches, 92 yards, one TD) would’ve been even higher if not for a ticky-tack holding name. James Cook additionally did effectively with 20+ touches, main the backfield, and Isaiah McKenzie was an efficient security valve. The protection, in fact, deserves simply as a lot, if no more, credit score. Despite logging only a single sack deep into the fourth, that unit was dominant on third downs, bottled up the Pats’ signature floor recreation and acquired big-time pressures and/or deflections from veterans like Tremaine Edmunds and Jordan Poyer.

Why the Patriots misplaced

Per week after teasing an offensive revival towards Minnesota, the offense fell again to Earth — and maybe even into the Earth, like in a grave. Mac Jones began out effectively sufficient, and the artistic use of speedy nook Marcus Jones paid off with six. Rhamondre Stevenson additionally confirmed toughness on each carry. But as soon as once more, there was no actual downfield rhythm with their assault; till the waning minutes, 4 of their high 5 offensive cross catchers averaged fewer than 9 yards per reception. The play-calling and clock administration from Belichick and/or Matt Patricia in sure spots, equivalent to simply earlier than halftime, did not assist. Defensively, maintaining Buffalo underneath 30 may be thought of a hit, however particular groups affected them, too, with Nick Folk failing to kick a 48-yard subject purpose past the crossbar within the second quarter.

Turning level

Second down. Early second quarter. The Patriots had simply scored a TD on their earlier drive to go up 7-3 and now trailed 10-7 following the Bills’ reply. And then, backed up to their very own 8-yard line, they stumbled over themselves. Mac Jones almost acquired hit in the long run zone for a security, barely eliminating the ball beforehand, and Cole Strange was flagged for holding, to make issues worse. The near-turnover, which additionally noticed Jones penalized for roughing the passer, basically killed the drive but in addition the entire Pats’ momentum up to that time. Buffalo simply punched the ball in on its ensuing drive with such good subject place, rapidly taking a 10-point benefit that may preserve them in entrance.

The Pats additionally shot themselves within the foot on the finish of the primary half, cementing their gap. Despite Josh Uche placing on a pass-rushing clinic to strip-sack Allen, the offense performed it overly secure whereas utilizing timeouts curiously earlier than Nick Folk’s 48-yard kick off the crossbar failed to web them any factors off the turnover.

Play of the sport

Few QBs can pull off what Allen did on the Bills’ second TD drive, rolling all the way in which to the sideline, shaking off a defender after which, simply earlier than stepping out of bounds, delivering an on-target ball past two Patriots to Gabe Davis . Every angle of the throw proved how acrobatic it was, recalling a few of Patrick Mahomes’ finest work in Kansas City, in addition to his personal stunt cross within the Bills’ playoff win over New England final season.

What’s subsequent

The Bills (9-3) will return residence in Week 14 for the second of three straight divisional matchups, this time towards the Jets (7-4), who play the Vikings this weekend. The Patriots (6-6), in the meantime, will hit the highway for an additional prime-time affair, this time towards the Cardinals (4-8) on “Monday Night Football.”

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