The first matchup between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in the post-Tom Brady era was not expected to be a close one. After two decades of having a stranglehold on the AFC East, the tables were finally turned on New England on Sunday, with the Patriots being the underdogs against the Bills in Orchard Park, New York.
Buffalo came away with a 24-21 win over its division rival, snapping a seven-game losing streak that dated back to 2016. The victory was also the Bills' first at home over New England since Sept. 25, 2011, breaking an eight-game losing streak.
Similar to the 18-10 win over the New York Jets in Week 7, the Bills' victory over the Patriots was nerve-racking one. Despite New England's struggles, Buffalo seemingly gave them every opportunity to stay in the game.
A Cam Newton fumble with 31 seconds left on the final drive ended up saving the game for Buffalo. But before defensive tackle Justin Zimmer knocked the ball out of the Patriots quarterback's hands on that play, New England was driving down the field and looked like they had a good shot and tying, or even winning the game in the final seconds.
The Bills had control of the game early on. After forcing the Patriots to punt on their first possession, Buffalo's offense marched down the field on its first series, capping-off a 10-play drive with an eight-yard rushing touchdown from Zack Moss, the first of the rookie running back's career.
Seven of the 10 plays on Buffalo's opening drive were run plays, with Moss and Devin Singletary both getting a number of touches. Moss had the best game of his young career with the Bills on Sunday, finishing with a career-high 81 rushing yards on 14 carries to go with two touchdowns. Singletary led the Bills with 86 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Buffalo's rushing attack had, arguably, its best game of 2020 as a group, finishing with 190 total yards on the ground.
Both sides exchanged punts before the first quarter came to a close. The Patriots cut into the deficit early in the second quarter with a 43-yard field goal from veteran kicker Nick Folk.
After another pair drives that ended in punts for both sides, the Bills began to piece something together. Buffalo moved down the field late in the second quarter and had a great chance to add to its lead before going into the locker room. However, Josh Allen overthrew Stefon Diggs and was intercepted by J.C. Jackson, giving New England the ball back with 1:38 left in the quarter, thwarting the Bills' chance to gain momentum before halftime.
New England capitalized on the turnover, as Folk made his second field goal of the game, this one a 33-yard kick to cut the Buffalo lead to 7-6 just seconds before halftime.
Momentum swung back the Bills way at the start of the third quarter.
Buffalo opened the second half with an impressive five-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Moss' second rushing touchdown of the afternoon, extending the lead to 14-6.
New England tied the game later in the quarter after taking advantage of a short field following a Buffalo three-and-out deep in its own territory. The Patriots' five-play, 37-yard scoring drive was capped-off with a 22-yard rushing touchdown from Damien Harris. Cam Newton connected with Jakobi Meyers for a successful two-point conversion to knot the score at 14-14.
Meyers stepped up huge for New England without the team's top-two receivers in Julian Edelman and N'Keal Harry in the lineup. Meyers caught a team-high six passes for 58 yards.
Stefon Diggs led all Bills receivers with six catches for 92 yards.
The Bills took advantage of a short field not too soon after the Patriots tied the game. New England attempted an onside kick, but Buffalo recovered the ball on the Patriots side of the field. Nine plays later, Allen found the end zone with a two-yard run to put the Bills back in front, 21-14.
New England responded with another touchdown drive of its own. A two-yard rushing score run from Newton evened things up at 21-21 with under 10 minutes to play.
Buffalo answered New England's score with its longest and most calculated drive of the afternoon. The 10-play, 63-yard possession that lasted 5:30 featured two big plays from Moss and wide receiver John Brown. Moss broke-off a 14-yard run, while Brown had a huge 21-yard catch-and-run on his lone reception of the afternoon. The drive ended with the go-ahead 28-yard field goal from Tyler Bass, putting the Bills up 24-21 with 4:06 to play.
The Patriots had one last drive to tie the game or go for the win and got as far as the Buffalo 14-yard line before Newton's fumble buried New England's chances.
With the win, the Bills are now 4-0 in the division for the first time since 1991.
- 7-0 BILLS - Bills touchdown (5:29) – Zack Moss rushes for an eight-yard touchdown (Tyler Bass’ extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 78 yards, 5:10
- 7-3 BILLS - Patriots field goal (10:50) – Nick Folk’s 43-yard field goal attempt is good
Drive info: 8 plays, 44 yards, 4:10
- 7-6 BILLS - Patriots field goal (0:08) – Nick Folk’s 33-yard field goal attempt is good
Drive info: 7 plays, 34 yards, 1:30
- 14-6 BILLS - Bills touchdown (12:09) – Zack Moss rushes for a four-yard touchdown (Tyler Bass’ extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 75 yards, 2:51
- 14-14 TIE - Patriots touchdown (3:03) – Damien Harris rushes for a 22-yard touchdown (Cam Newton completes a pass to Jakobi Meyers for a successful two-point conversion)
Drive info: 5 plays, 37 yards, 2:49
- 21-14 BILLS - Bills touchdown (13:12) – Josh Allen rushes for a two-yard touchdown (Tyler Bass’ extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 45 yards, 4:51
- 21-21 TIE - Patriots touchdown (9:36) – Cam Newton rushes for a two-yard touchdown (Nick Folk’s extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 72 yards, 3:36
- 24-21 BILLS - Bills field goal (4:06) – Tyler Bass’ 28-yard field goal attempt is good
Drive info: 10 plays, 63 yards, 5:30
The Bills will host the Seattle Seahawks in an AFC vs. NFC matchup on Sunday, Nov. 8 at Bills Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. Be sure to hear all the action on WGR with John Murphy, Steve Tasker and Sal Capaccio on the call.