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Patriots vs. Bills stats: New England fails to make the key plays on both sides of the ball

Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 33-21 loss to Bills

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

The New England Patriots did have their opportunities against the Buffalo Bills, but at the end of the day just could not get out of their own way. Whether it was untimely penalties or just plain bad play in key situations, the team was too inconsistent to defend its home turf against one of the best teams in football.

As a result of its 33-21 loss, New England has now dropped to 9-6. Let’s take a look at some early statistics to come out of that contest.

Patriots vs. Bills: Team statistics

Team statistics

Stat Patriots Bills
Stat Patriots Bills
First downs 20 29
Third down 7-14 (50%) 6-7 (85.7%)
Fourth down 4-4 (100%) 0-0 (0%)
Total net yards 305 482
Net rushing yards 89 174
Net passing yards 216 308
Penalties 5-34 3-47
Turnovers 2 0
Red zone 2-2 (100%) 6-6 (100%)
Goal-to-go 2-2 (100%) 3-3 (100%)
Time of possession 28:35 31:25

The numbers speak for themselves, especially on the critical downs. While New England was able to go 5-for-6 on fourth down plays, its 1-for-8 performance on third downs was just not good enough to hang with a red hot Bills offense: Josh Allen and company converted on six of their 12 third down plays as well as on three of four fourth downs.

Buffalo successfully marching up and down the field allowed the team to dominate time of possession, and to control the game from start to finish. While the Patriots did get back into the game late, the Bills’ final touchdown drive was a prime example of the team just making more plays: the club converted a crucial 3rd-and-10 deep in its own territory, and later also was able to move the chains on a 4th-and-1 to go up 33-21.

Patriots individual statistics

Passing statistics

Player Attempts Completions Completion rate Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Sacks Rating EPA/Play
Player Attempts Completions Completion rate Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Sacks Rating EPA/Play
Mac Jones 38 24 63.2% 232 2 2 3-16 75.8 0.17

Mac Jones had a rough outing against one of the NFL’s better pass defenses, completing only 14 of 32 pass attempts for 145 yards and a pair of interceptions. While the picks did not lead to any points, the rookie quarterback did not string enough positive plays together to help the Patriots offense hang with Buffalo.

Rushing statistics

Player Carries Yards Average Touchdowns EPA/Play
Player Carries Yards Average Touchdowns EPA/Play
Damien Harris 9 30 3.3 0 -0.26
Rhamondre Stevenson 8 27 3.4 0 0.08
Mac Jones 2 18 9.0 0 N/A
Kendrick Bourne 1 14 14.0 0 0.87

The Patriots did not rely on their running game as much as they did in Week 13, but the group as a whole was still productive on the ground. Damien Harris in particular looked good in his first game back from a hamstring injury: the third-year back led the team with 103 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.

Receiving statistics

Player Targets Receptions Yards Average Touchdowns EPA/Play
Player Targets Receptions Yards Average Touchdowns EPA/Play
Jakobi Meyers 9 6 40 6.7 0 0.19
Kendrick Bourne 8 7 77 11.0 2 1.48
Brandon Bolden 6 4 27 6.8 0 -0.08
Rhamondre Stevenson 4 4 33 8.3 0 0.54
Hunter Henry 4 1 30 30.0 0 -0.92
Nelson Agholor 2 1 18 18.0 0 -0.12
Damien Harris 1 1 7 7.0 0 0.42
Jakob Johnson 1 0 0 0.0 0 -0.46

The Patriots’ passing offense struggled against Buffalo — in part due to Mac Jones’ uneven performance, in part due the receivers having a hard time getting open against a stout defense. While Jakobi Meyers had a solid day, catching six passes for 59 yards, the rest of the group was relatively quiet.

The two tight ends in particular stand out: Hunter Henry caught just one 9-yard pass, while Jonnu Smith did not touch the ball even once.

Front seven statistics

Player Tackles Sacks QB hits Interceptions Passes defensed Forced fumbles Recovered fumbles
Player Tackles Sacks QB hits Interceptions Passes defensed Forced fumbles Recovered fumbles
Lawrence Guy 4 0 0 0 1 0 0
Dont'a Hightower 3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kyle Van Noy 3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Deatrich Wise Jr. 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ja'Whaun Bentley 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Christian Barmore 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Matthew Judon 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
Jamie Collins Sr. 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Davon Godchaux 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Daniel Ekuale 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Coming off a disappointing outing versus the Indianapolis Colts last Saturday, the Patriots’ front seven looked better against the run. Buffalo’s backs gained only 51 yards on 15 carries for an average of 3.4 yards per attempt; they also scored a touchdown via Devin Singletary.

The problem, however, was that the team failed to contain quarterback Josh Allen. Not counting two kneel-downs, the dual-threat QB carried the ball 10 times for 65 yards.

Secondary statistics

Player Tackles Sacks QB hits Interceptions Passes defensed Forced fumbles Recovered fumbles
Player Tackles Sacks QB hits Interceptions Passes defensed Forced fumbles Recovered fumbles
Devin McCourty 8 0 0 0 0 0 0
J.C. Jackson 6 0 0 0 0 0 0
Adrian Phillips 6 0 0 0 0 0 0
Joejuan Williams 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kyle Dugger 4 0 0 0 0 0 0
Myles Bryant 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
D'Angelo Ross 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Josh Allen had a very good performance, going 30-for-47 for 314 yards and three touchdowns. His most productive pass catcher was depth option Isaiah McKenzie, who had his way with Patriots slot cornerback Myles Bryant: McKenzie finished with 11 catches for 125 yards and a score — oftentimes beating Bryant to get open.

New England also had a tough time against Stefon Diggs. Buffalo’s WR1 finished the game with 85 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.

Kicking statistics

Player Field goals Extra points Punts Gross punt average Net punt average Blocked kicks
Player Field goals Extra points Punts Gross punt average Net punt average Blocked kicks
Nick Folk 1-1 1-1 0 0.0 0.0 0
Jake Bailey 0-0 0-0 3 47.3 29.3 0

The Patriots’ field goal unit was not called upon all day, while Nick Folk made all three of his point-after tries. Jake Bailey, meanwhile, was asked to punt the ball away on three different occasions. While his kicks were quite solid, New England’s coverage unit allowed the Bills to gain an average of 11.3 yards per runback.

Return game statistics

Player Tackles Punt returns Punt return average Punt return touchdowns Kickoff returns Kickoff return average Kickoff return touchdowns
Player Tackles Punt returns Punt return average Punt return touchdowns Kickoff returns Kickoff return average Kickoff return touchdowns
Matthew Slater 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Gunner Olszewski 1 0 0.0 0 5 20.6 0
Brandon King 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

With the Bills not punting even once, Gunner Olszewski did not get an opportunity to show off his All-Pro return skills. He did run back a pair of kickoffs, but gained only 9.5 yards on average.