The New England Patriots hold a 24-10 lead over the Buffalo Bills at halftime.
After winning the coin toss, the Patriots elected to defer to the second half. The Bills offense chipped their way down the field to the 5-yard line on a 10-play, 70-yard drive. The Patriots defense allowed a big 28-yard run to RB Mike Gillislee, but otherwise kept the Bills offense in check as Buffalo had to dig deep for end-arounds and other gadget plays to move the ball. Buffalo had to kick a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
QB Tom Brady and the Patriots offense laughed at Buffalo’s efficiency and responded with a 14-play, 70-yard drive of their own that resulted in a 9-yard touchdown pass to WR Danny Amendola. The Patriots had to convert four third downs and averaged just 0.8 yards on first down. Still, the Patriots took a 7-3 lead.
The Patriots defense stepped up for much of the first half and forced a 3-and-out on QB Tyrod Taylor and the Bills offense.
The Patriots took just three plays to score on a big 53-yard touchdown pass to WR Chris Hogan and take a 14-3 lead.
The rest of the half was a defensive struggle. The New England defense forced another 3-and-out, but Patriots LT Nate Solder forget how to block and gave up 3rd down sacks on two straight drives.
Fortunately, TE Rob Gronkowski is super human and caught a 53-yard touchdown from Brady to set a franchise record with 69 career touchdowns.
The Bills offense was fairly anemic in the first half as WR Robert Woods was a nonfactor with his foot injury, and WR Walter Powell and TE Charles Clay suffered injuries of their own. Poor QB Tyrod Taylor was forced to play with a bunch of fourth- and fifth-string players. Taylor was inaccurate, too, but it was clear his supporting cast was weak.
The Bills required an assist from penalties to stay on the field in the second quarter. A 29-yard defensive pass interference call on CB Eric Rowe set the Bills up deep in Patriots territory, resulting in a touchdown, and then an illegal contact penalty on CB Eric Rowe negated a S Devin McCourty interception and allowed the Bills to retain possession and ultimately miss a field goal before the half. Rowe received the start over CB Logan Ryan and played well outside of the penalties.
Oh, and the Patriots decided to drive with 27 seconds left on the clock, starting from their own 39-yard line. Brady hit RB James White (6 yards), WR Danny Amendola (15 yards), and TE Rob Gronkowski (7 yards) to set up a 51-yard field goal for K Stephen Gostkowski.
Gostkowski kicked a knuckleball that hit the upright, but took a friendly bounce and was good. The Patriots have a 24-10 lead and will get the ball out of the half.