GAME RECAP: Bills stymied by the Pats in 24-12 loss

122318-game-recap

Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, M.A.

Regular season schedules: Buffalo (5-10), New England (10-5)

In a nutshell:

An inability to move the ball on offense combined with defensive deficiencies against the run resulted in a loss for the Bills. They dropped their Week 16 contest with the Patriots by a score of 24-12.

Though Josh Allen finished the game with more completions and passing yards than Tom Brady, Buffalo’s offense largely struggled. The unit finished the game with 289 net yards and just 14 first downs. The offense totaled just 72 yards on the ground, 30 of which came from Allen.

New England’s victory can be largely attributed to the success of its rushing attack. The Patriots finished the game with 274 rushing yards. Rookie Sony Michel rushed for 116 yards.

With the loss, the Bills fell to 5-10 on the season.

How it went down:

  • New England’s second drive of the day featured a heavy dosage of Sony Michel. The rookie received five handoffs on the series, picking up 43 yards. He capped the drive off with a four-yard touchdown run, giving the Patriots an early lead (7-0).
  • The Patriots continued to lean on the ground game well into the second quarter. After taking possession at midfield, Cordarrelle Patterson got the Pats into Buffalo territory with a 15-yard rush. The drive ended with a 24-yard James White touchdown run just three plays later (14-0).
  • The Bills set up shop deep in New England territory after Jordan Poyer intercepted a Tom Brady pass early in the second half. Buffalo’s offense wasn’t able to make any progress down the field, however, ultimately settling for a 35-yard Stephen Hauschka field goal (14-3).
  • A 17-yard Jonathan Jones pass interference penalty flipped the field for the Bills on their second offensive drive of the half. Josh Allen then connected with Jason Croom on a 19-yard pass, taking Buffalo down to the 23-yard line. The Bills dug into New England’s lead with a 41-yard Hauschka field goal (14-6).
  • In no man’s land near midfield, the Patriots decided to go for it on a fourth-and-three situation midway through the third quarter. Tom Brady found Julian Edelman on a slant, and two Buffalo defenders quickly diverged in on the veteran wideout. Edelman’s knee never touched the ground on the tackle, however. He got back up and strolled into the end zone to increase New England’s lead (21-6).
  • Edelman caught a Matt Darr punt at midfield and returned it to Buffalo’s 24-yard line. The Patriots slowly inched closer to the goal line, but Buffalo’s defense kept them out of the end zone. New England added to its lead with a 24-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal (24-6).
  • The Bills found the end zone for the first time with just over one minute remaining in the contest. Allen connected with Zay Jones on a 31-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was botched (24-12).

Subplots:

  • Josh Allen set a new career high for completions in a single game, completing 20 passes.
  • TE Jason Croom set new career highs for receptions and receiving yards in a single game on Sunday, reeling in four passes for 55 yards.
  • Lorenzo Alexander led the team in tackles on the day, totaling 14.
  • Rookie LB Corey Thompson forced a fumble in the first quarter, the first of his career.
  • WR Victor Bolden made his Bills debut on Sunday.
  • Inactive for the game were QB Derek Anderson, WR Ray-Ray McCloud, S Dean Marlowe, RB Chris Ivory, CB Ryan Lewis, OG Vlad Ducasse, and TE Charles Clay.

Up next:

The Bills will close out their 2018 schedule at home next week when they take on the Miami Dolphins. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

Photos from Week 16 of the 2018 season as the Buffalo Bills take on AFC East opponent the New England Patriots on the road.

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