The New England Patriots had a lousy 9-3 lead over the Buffalo Bills at the half and the offense was failing to put points on the board. New England received the opening kick of the second half and their ensuing drive set the tone for the rest of the game.
Tom Brady led the offense 85 yards on 10 plays, with chunk gains by Rob Gronkowski and Dion Lewis moving to the Buffalo goal line. Rex Burkhead capped the drive off with a 1-yard run and a 16-3 lead.
Buffalo responded with a 6-play, -1 yard drive where the punted back to New England. Brady took the offense 78 yards on 9 plays thanks to another big gain by Gronkowski and a subsequent 14-yard touchdown run by Burkhead for a 23-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
After exchanging punts, the Bills ended Tyrod Taylor’s game with a knee injury distinction, handing the offense over to Nathan Peterman. Peterman led a 13-play drive to the New England goal line, thanks to a third down holding penalty against Malcolm Butler that led to the cornerback being benched for a snap.
Buffalo failed to punch the ball into the end zone and Stephon Gilmore defended the fourth down pass to prevent the Bills from putting any points on the board.
Brady and the offense took over from their own goal line and were driving down the field. Brady was trying to connect with Rob Gronkowski down the field, but Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White was holding and getting away with defensive pass interference. The officials incorrectly decided not to call a penalty and White was able to come down with the interception.
Gronkowski then followed that up with the bone-headed play of the game.
What the hell are you doing, Gronk? pic.twitter.com/mZTgJA62eU— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 3, 2017
This is a terrible move. Gronkowski is absolutely going to get fined. Throwing an elbow with your entire body weight into the back of the head of a defenseless player that was clearly out of bounds is inexcusable and goes well beyond the “contact happens in sports” defense. It marred an otherwise solid game for Gronkowski, who had 9 catches for 147 yards. Bill Belichick benched Gronkowski after the play.
The Bills were unable to do anything with the football as both teams decided to just run out the clock.
The Patriots won 23-3 and move to 10-2 on the season, while the Bills fell to 6-6. The Patriots head to Miami next week to face the Dolphins.