The New England Patriots’ season is over.
Picking one hell of a time to play their worst game of the season, New England looked exactly like a team who came into the postseason losing three out of four.
A combination of all of the factors that have killed them over the last month contributed to this loss. A slow start on defense allowed Buffalo to march down the field and score, almost immediately putting themselves behind. New England would eventually fall behind 27-0. The first offensive possession started out promising until Micah Hyde made a great play in the end zone to intercept Mac Jones. The Patriots would eventually post a -2 turnover differential.
Ultimately, the game was never close. The Buffalo Bills looked exactly how you would expect a division winner to look, and the Patriots looked like they didn’t belong. The NFL Playoffs will roll on without New England, who now has an opportunity to jumpstart their offseason.
If you missed the game or enjoy looking back on painful losses, you can find a drive by drive recounting below. Thank you for following along all year Patriots fans!
Final Score: Patriots 17 : 47 Bills
January 15, 8:15p.m. ET | Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, NY | Broadcast information
Patriots Inactives: OT Isaiah Wynn, LB Chase Winovich, DT Carl Davis, WR Kristian Wilkerson, QB Jarrett Stidham, RB J.J. Taylor, TE Devin Asiasi | CB Jalen Mills (Covid-19), CB Shaun Wade (Covid-19)
Bills Inactives: WR Marquez Stevenson, DE Efe Obada, RB Matt Breida, DT Eli Ankou, OL Bobby Hart, TE Tommy Sweeney, LB Joe Giles-Harris
The Patriots have a new look to their inactives list this week, tying a season high with seven players listed. Starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn is inactive with a hip/ankle injury that he suffered in the season finale against Miami, while Chase Winovich and Carl Davis are healthy scratches this week after being contributors at different points this season. They are joined by practice squad wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson and the usual suspects Jarrett Stidham, J.J. Taylor, and Devin Asiasi.
Defensive backs Shaun Wade and Jalen Mills are both still on the Covid-reserve list.
The Bills inactives list is entirely comprised of healthy scratches as they had zero injury designations headed into this weeks game.
New England had its choice at the coin flip as the away team and Matthew Slater chose correctly with heads. New England deferred its choice to the second half meaning Josh Allen and the Bills will start on offense.
Jake Bailey opened up New England’s first playoff game in two years with a very short kick through the frigid Buffalo air. Isaiah McKenzie’s return sets the Bills up at their own 30-yard line. Buffalo opened up with a pitch and catch from Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs. New England opened up playing zone coverage on Buffalo’s receivers. Buffalo converted for a first down on a four yard run by Devin Singletary on the next play. Following a short completion for no gain by Singletary, Josh Allen dropped back and took off for a gain of 26 yards. Entrenched firmly in Patriots territory, the Bills continued to attack through the air. Two passes netted them seven yards and brought up the first third down of the day for New England’s defense. On 3rd-and-3, Allen continued to rip off yards on the ground with a designed quarterback sweep for a gain of 15 yards. On 2nd-and-goal, Allen continued to use his legs to hurt New England and scrambled around to eventually find Dawson Knox in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Tyler Bass’ PAT was good. [Patriots 0 : 7 Bills]
A short Gunner Olszewski return set Mac Jones and the Patriots offense up at their own 13-yard line. Opening up down seven points has become a running theme over the last month for this unit. New England picked up a quick first down on an out route to the opposite numbers to Kendrick Bourne. Immediately after they were called for a false start and pushed back five yards. On 1st-and-15 from his 19-yard line, Damien Harris took a toss for a pick up of just one yard. That forced the ball back into Jones’ hands, where he was unable to connect with Bourne on a similar pass in which they had connected before. That brought up 3rd-and-14. Jones bought time by escaping the pocket and hitting Hunter Henry on a broken play for a gain of 30 yards and a first down. Jones looked to attack downfield yet again, but his pass was dropped by Brandon Bolden, negating what could have been another 30 yard gain. A dropped pass on second down brought up 3rd-and-10, where Jones used his legs yet again and picked up 16 yards on the ground. Mac Jones is playing hero ball. Looking to cash in on their good fortunes, New England looked to connect on a deep shot to Nelson Agholor in the end zone, but Micah Hyde swooped in and intercepted the pass. Buffalo football.
Buffalo’s next drive opened up with a 24 yard pass from Allen to Knox, their second straight connection. Buffalo gained nine yards on the next pair of plays to bring up third and short, Devin Singletary took another carry for a few yards and a first down. In a flashback to their last matchup, Isaiah McKenzie beat Myles Bryant for another long gainer for a first down. That pushed Buffalo inside the New England 25-yard line where they continued to attack through the air. An incompletion and short out to Stefon Diggs brought up 3rd-and-4 for Allen to pick up the first down with his legs. Buffalo has a plan, and they’re executing it to perfection. One play later, Allen hit Knox in the end zone again. Touchdown Bills. [Patriots 0 : 14 Bills]
New England opened up with a delayed handoff to Harris on the first play of their next drive that went for four yards. That brought us to the end of the first quarter.
New England fed Harris again on second down, gaining three yards and bringing up 3rd-and-3. Another Harris carry came up a yard short of the first downs marker, leading to a Patriots punt. New England responds to a pair of Buffalo touchdown drives with three carries for nine yards and a punt.
Buffalo opened up their third drive at their own 19-yard line. Allen missed on a pass before handing the ball off to Devin Singletary a few times for a first down. An illegal contact penalty on Dont’a Hightower gifted Buffalo another first down, persuading the Bills into taking another shot down field where Allen connected with Gabriel Davis for 22 yards and a third straight first down. New England was called for grabbing the facemark a fews plays later, contributing to the Bills effort in walking down the field for another score. That penalty set the Bills up inside the red area, where Allen handed the ball off to Singletary and let him work. Singletary took five straight carries for a total of 19 yards and plunged into the end zone for a touchdown. New England blocked the PAT. [Patriots 0 : 20 Bills]
Gunner Olszewski’s kick return set the Patriots offense up at their own 21-yard line. Running out of time and options, they threw the ball. A swing pass to Rhamondre Stevenson picked up four yards, before Jones drifted one out of bounds in the direction of Hunter Henry. Jones’ next pass looked to have the same fait, but Levi Wallace was called for pass interference in coverage on Nelson Agholor. That gifted New England 22 yards and allowed them to feel more comfortable in running the ball. Rhamondre Stevenson took a toss for three yards before Jones was sacked quickly on another pass attempt. A delay of game penalty pushed them back five more yards. Facing 3rd-and-20, Jones dumped the ball of to Brandon Bolden for a gain of 12. Jake Bailey came on to punt.
Bailey’s punt backed Buffalo up at their own 11-yard line. Four plays later, they were in the end zone. Isaiah McKenzie burned Devin McCourty around the edge and picked up 19 yards before Allen delivered a strike to Diggs down the sideline for a gain of 45 yards, and Devin Singletary took it from there. Another touchdown for Buffalo’s running back gives them a 27 point lead. [Patriots 0 : 27 Bills]
With 1:53 until halftime, the Patriots had to travel 75 yards to give themselves a chance at making a comeback. Passes to Kendrick Bourne and Brandon Bolden picked up 25 yards to get them to mid field. A fake spike turned into a sack forced New England to take a timeout with 0:30 left in the half. New England was able to scrounge up 26 yards to set Nick Folk up for a 44-yard attempt. Folk nailed his attempt to put New England on the board. [Patriots 3 : 27 Bills]
New England opened up the second half with a three yard run in between the tackles by Damien Harris before Rhamondre Stevenson came on to pick up a first down on a running back screen. Back to the ground, Harris picked up a first down of his own to push New England across mid field. On the next play, Hunter Henry had a ball clang off his hands and into the arms of Levi Wallace for another interception. Bills football.
Buffalo picked up six yards on the first two plays of their opening drive of the second half. That set up 3rd-and-4 where Allen checked the ball down to Singletary who picked up another first down. Allen continued to take everything that New England would give him, consistently dumping the ball off to his playmakers. A pass interference penalty on Buffalo eventually forced them into a 1st-and-20. That wouldn’t matter, as Josh Allen delivered another strike, this time to Emmanuel Sanders for a 34-yard touchdown. Tyler Bass missed his PAT. [Patriots 3 : 33 Bills]
Down 30 points, the Patriots came out slinging it. Facing a 3rd-and-2, New England was called for 12 men in the huddle. On 3rd-and-7, Kendrick Bourne picked up 43 yards on a catch and run to give them some sort of life. On the next play, Bourne took a reverse for 14 yards and pushed New England into the red zone for the first time. Facing a 3rd-and-6 from the Buffalo 10-yard line, Jones delivered a strike to Jakobi Meyers who picked up enough for a first. New England was eventually faced with a 4th-and-goal from the 3-yard line following a pair of incompletions, Jones hit Bourne in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown. New England elected to take the PAT. [Patriots 10 : 33 Bills]
Buffalo came back out for their sixth drive, having scored each of their 19 prior possessions against New England. Devin Singletary and Josh Allen picked up a pair of first downs on the ground to kickstart the drive, before Allen hit Cole Beasley for a gain of 19 and another first before the third quarter ended.
Three plays into the fourth quarter, Allen hit Gabriel Davis for a touchdown to continue pouring points on the Patriots. That was Buffalos tenth straight scoring drive versus New England. [Patriots 10 : 40 Bills]
A Gunner Olszewski return set the Patriots offense up at their own 24-yard line. New England chose to hand the ball of to Stevenson on their first play for a gain of zero. A screen pass to the rookie running back was slightly more successful, as he took it for 15 yards and a first down. New England eventually punted after Mac Jones took a sack on third and long. Micah Hyde would take a bouncing ball and return it 52-yards to the New England 39-yard line. A firm ass-whooping in all three phases.
Buffalo’s next drive was a dagger through the heart of New England’s season. A 38-yard strike to Dawson Knox put them on the doorstep of the end zone, and a Tommy Doyle touchdown kicked it in. [Patriots 10 : 47 Bills]
New England came back out with their rookie quarterback, with nothing but pride to play for. Rhamondre Stevenson picked up a first down on the ground before New England was eventually faced with a 4th-and-2 from around mid field. Jones hit Jakobi Meyers for a sixth time on the night to pick up the necessary yardage, and New England was gifted 15 free yards thanks to a roughing the passer call against Buffalo. Stevenson nabbed another first on the ground before Nelson Agholor got one of his own on a screen and run. That pushed New England inside the Buffalo 10-yard line and led to the 2:00 warning. A dropped touchdown by Hunter Henry led to 4th-and-goal from the 4-yard line where Kendrick Bourne caught his second touchdown of the night. [Patriots 17 : 47 Bills]
With 1:42 on the clock, the Bills rolled out Mitchell Trubisky to take a knee. The Bills run out the clock and the New England Patriots’ season is over. [FINAL - Patriots 17 : 47 Bills]