Final Score: New England 34 – Buffalo 20
Location: Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, Massachusetts
Records:Buffalo (6-10) New England (12-4)
In a Nutshell:
--The Bills had no answer for LeGarrette Blount, who had 334 total yards (189 rushing, 145 kick return) and a pair of touchdowns in the Patriots’ victory.
--New England got on the board first and established their run game early, which helped to push them out to an early 10-point lead (13-3). Their 267 rushing yards was a season-high surrendered by Buffalo.
--The Patriots ground game effectively neutralized Buffalo’s league-leading pass rush. The Bills had one sack to finish the season with 57.
--Julian Edelman was the majority of New England’s passing game with nine catches for 65 yards and a two-point conversion.
--Kick coverage let the Bills down as they gave up a season-high 189 kick return yards on just four returns giving New England’s offense short fields right after each of Buffalo’s two touchdown drives. The Patriots scored 11 points on those possessions.
--Buffalo’s run game was effective with
--Buffalo finished the season 2-6 on the road.
--Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski helped stage New England to an early 6-3 lead on a pair of first quarter field goal drives.
--LeGarrette Blount’s 36-yard run was the only touchdown in the game staking New England to a 10-point lead that was pushed to 13 by halftime (16-3).
--On the ensuing kickoff Blount went 83 yards to the Bills 20-yard line. New England’s offense was ready to cash in with a short field goal on 4th-and-1, but
--After a Fred Jackson five-yard touchdown run pulled Buffalo to within a touchdown (24-17), Blount struck again with a 62-yard kick return out to the Bills 40-yard line. New England tacked on a field goal to move their lead back to 10 with eight minutes remaining.
--New England put the game out of reach on Blount’s 35-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining (34-20).
--The Patriots 12th ranked rushing attack looked dominant as they rumbled for 267 rushing yards, the most since the Bills gave up 270 rushing yards to the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 16 last season.
--The Bills went for it on a 4th-and-1 at the Patriots 44-yard line in the second quarter, but Thad Lewis was stopped for a one-yard loss on an attempted QB sneak.
--New England’s 12th ranked rushing attack averaged 7.5 yards per carry through the first two quarters. Buffalo’s second-ranked rushing attack averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
--Buffalo ran the ball seven times on their 10 1st-and-10 situations (70%). Their average run percentage on 1st-and-10 coming into the game was 64.1 percent.
--Both teams combined to go 0-for-3 in the red zone.
--Marcell Dareus was benched for the first half of the game due to a violation of team rules. He was benched last week for the first quarter for a violation of team rules.
--The Patriots fumbled the ball four times in the game, but recovered all of them.
--Dan Carpenter tied a team record for most field goals made in a season with two on Sunday to give him 33. It tied Steve Christie’s mark set back in 1998.
--The 189 kick return yards allowed by the Bills were a single-game season high.
--“I thought at times they made plays and we were able to battle back at times during that game, but then when we really needed to step up and make a play we couldn’t do it and give credit to New England. They were able to make those plays. Whether it was kickoff returns, a run, a pass or anything like that. I thought our offense answered pretty well. At times we had some drops and could’ve extended drives. Both teams were around 30-something percent, low 30’s and we could’ve extended that a bit more.”
--“Obviously it’s disappointing. To come in here and not turn the ball over and really not make a play when you need to. I think that’s how I feel about that game looking at it.”
--“The missed tackles (on kick returns) is what happened. I think when you put the film on you’ll see going on there, one time we got collapsed and missed a tackle in a hole. There were a couple of problems on that one. On the second one there were three missed tackles by guys in position to make it. You have to make that play and we weren’t able to make it. Their kid had an outstanding game running the football and on kickoff returns. He probably had over 300 yards of offense. My hat is off to him that’s hard to do in this league.”
The Bills will clean out their lockers and the coaches will conduct exit interviews with the players Monday morning at One Bills Drive.