COMPLETE STATS (pdf)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 C.J. Spiller going over 100 yards rushing for the fourth time this season. Fred Jackson chipped in with 113 all-purpose yards including 60 on the ground and a touchdown. They averaged 4.8 yards a carry.
--Buffalo finished the season 2-6 on the road.
How it went down:
--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).
--Buffalo cut into that lead late in the third quarter with a seven-play 80-yard drive capped by a Thad Lewis 12-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Graham (16-10).
--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 Marcell Dareus jumped offsides before the snap giving the Patriots a first down at the Buffalo five-yard line. Tom Brady then hit Shane Vereen with a five-yard touchdown pass, followed by a two-point conversion from Brady to Julian Edelman (24-10).
--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.
--Manny Lawson gave the offense a chance to cut into the Patriots' lead again with an interception near midfield off a bobbled pass with five minutes in the game. But the offense couldn't find the end zone and had to settle for a 37-yard field goal to cut the lead to seven again (27-20).
--New England put the game out of reach on Blount's 35-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining (34-20).
The half of it
--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.
--Dan Carpenter hit a 51-yard field goal for Buffalo's only first-half points. He finished the season 4-6 on attempts from 50-yards plus.
--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. Corbin Bryant and Stefan Charles filled his role at defensive tackle.
--Jairus Byrd left the game in the first quarter with a right ankle injury and did not return. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in mid-March. With Aaron Williams on I-R, it left Buffalo without both of their starting safeties.
--The Patriots fumbled the ball four times in the game, but recovered all of them.
--Alan Branch and Jerry Hughes were both called for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after one play for 30 yards in infractions. New England then followed up with 20 yards in holding penalties on back-to-back plays ultimately forcing them to punt.
--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.
--Scott Chandler set a team record for most consecutive games with a reception by a tight end with at least one catch in his 32nd straight game.
--The 189 kick return yards allowed by the Bills were a single-game season high.
Doug Marrone comments
**--"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."
QB EJ Manuel, WR Stevie Johnson, WR Cordell Roberson, RB Ronnie Wingo, CB Brandon Smith, OL Mark Asper, OL Antoine McClain.
The Bills will clean out their lockers and the coaches will conduct exit interviews with the players Monday morning at One Bills Drive.