Skip to main content

Game Recap

Presented by

Bills 27, Patriots 21 | Final score, game highlights + stats to know


The Bills took out division rivals New England in a 27-21 win in which the defense dominated throughout and the offense overcame a slow start to put the game away.

With the win and Miami's loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Bills' upcoming road trip to Miami next week will be for the AFC East championship and a home playoff game.

On a chilly Sunday early afternoon, Highmark Stadium was fired up ahead of the Bills' final home game of the regular season.

All the pregame excitement was instantly deflated after Patriots returner Jalen Reagor ran the opening kickoff back for a 98-yard touchdown, weaving straight through the Bills kickoff team to put the Patriots up 7-0 early.

On the offense's first play, Josh Allen was sacked for a loss of eight yards and fumbled the ball, which pushed the Bills back another seven yards after Connor McGovern dove on the loose ball. The Bills went three-and-out and had to punt as the tension grew in Orchard Park.

The Buffalo defense didn't flinch, coming up with four turnovers in the first half of the game and sending the Bills offense to the New England 30-yard line or better three times.

On New England's first offensive play of the game, Rasul Douglas broke up a pass from quarterback Bailey Zappe and defensive tackle Ed Oliver tracked the ball in the air and snatched it for his first career interception.

Two drives later, Douglas stepped in front of a pass from Zappe to once again set the Bills up deep in Patriots territory. A quarterback sneak from Allen gave the Bills the lead, which they would maintain for the remainder of the game.

Just minutes later, cornerback Christian Benford stripped Pharoah Brown after the tight end made a short catch to put the Bills offense in position for a field goal.

Early in the second quarter, Douglas continued to play out of his mind, making an impressive diving catch for his second interception of the game, quickly hopping back up and running it in for a touchdown.

The Bills scored 20 points off of turnovers in the first half but had several opportunities to extend their lead, punting four times and Allen throwing an interception to end the half.

Allen was not afraid to run the ball, taking off 11 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns. His ability to improvise on the run was best illustrated when he faked a handoff to Cook and ran forward, pitching the ball to Khalil Shakir as he was brought to the ground by Patriots defenders. Shakir gained 10 yards and a first down.

Allen finished with 169 passing yards and an interception.

The Bills came out swinging in the second half, with Allen completing a deep ball to Dalton Kincaid for a 51-yard gain, the longest of the rookie tight end's career, which set up Allen's second rushing touchdown.

New England reapplied pressure after Zappe led an 84-yard touchdown drive to pull within six points of Buffalo. Running back Ezekiel Elliott powered in for the score after a deep ball to Reagor set the Patriots up in scoring position. Zappe had a rushing touchdown of his own earlier in the first half of the game.

Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots, Regular Season, December 31, 2023 at Highmark Stadium.

Throughout the game, punter Sam Martin was effective in pinning New England deep in their own territory. Martin had three punts at or behind the New England 8-yard line and six at or behind the New England 20-yard line. In his final punt of the day, Martin punted to the Patriots 4-yard line and the Bills defense forced a three-and-out.

Buffalo ran the ball effectively to ice the clock, with Allen surging forward for a first down to ice the game and give backup quarterback Kyle Allen a chance to touch his knee to the grass.

Buffalo improves to 10-6 on the season and will travel to Miami next week on either Saturday or Sunday for the regular season finale, which will decide the AFC East.

Key stats and facts to know

  • The Buffalo Bills have now defeated the Patriots in six of their last eight meetings. The Bills have won 10 or more games in each of the last five seasons, the longest run of double-digit win seasons in franchise history
  • Allen surpassed Cam Newton to tie Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts for the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season with 15
  • Allen also became just the fifth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to rush for a touchdown in five consecutive games
  • Dalton Kincaid now holds the Bills record for receptions in a single season by a rookie, passing Sammy Watkins with 66 catches on the season
  • Stefon Diggs four receptions made him just the third ever player to reach at least 100 receptions in four or more consecutive seasons, joining Antonio Brown and Marvin Harrison.
  • Rasul Douglas' pick six was his first since 2021. The Bills became the first team since 2020 with three takeaways in the first quarter
  • Ed Oliver's first quarter interception was not only the first of his NFL career, but of his post-high school career as the defensive tackle never recorded an interception in college

Scoring plays

14:48 1Q | BUF 0 NE 7 | Jalen Reagor 98-yard kickoff return, TOUCHODWN

12:07 1Q | BUF 3 NE 7 | Tyler Bass 35-yard field goal is GOOD

6:33 1Q | BUF 10 NE 7 | Josh Allen run short left for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN

5:51 1Q | BUF 13 NE 7 | Tyler Bass 24-yard field goal is GOOD

12:36 2Q | BUF 20 NE 7 | Bailey Zappe pass short left INTERCEPTED by Rasul Douglas and returned for 40 yards, TOUCHDOWN

9:44 2Q | BUF 20 NE 14 | Bailey Zappe run left tackle for 17 yards, TOUCHDOWN

10:42 3Q | BUF 27 NE 14 | Josh Allen run short left for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN

11:01 4Q | BUF 27 NE 21 | Ezekiel Elliott run short right for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN

Check out the best game photos from this AFC East clash at Highmark Stadium. This gallery is presented by Gabe's Collision.

Related Content