FOXBORO — One by one, the previous Patriots axioms fell Thursday, a crumbling facade for a immediately common franchise.
Bill Belichick’s protection neutralizes an opponent’s energy?
Bills receiver Stefon Diggs caught seven passes for 92 yards and a landing, operating by means of the ashes Justin Jefferson left after torching the Pats secondary final week.
That similar protection confuses quarterbacks?
Josh Allen out-witted and out-worked the Patriots for the fifth time in six tries, extending performs past Belichick’s management till he had the sport firmly in his grasp by the fourth quarter.
And the Pats enjoying their greatest soccer after Thanksgiving?
Including their vacation loss the final week, the Patriots at the moment are 0-2 with 5 video games remaining that can decide whether or not they’re a successful group; a reality as soon as taken as a right in New England just like the hard-earned habits underpinning the whole operation.
The Pats rolled over 24-10 in opposition to the Bills on Thursday evening, main for all of 4:55 in a defining recreation. Allen went 22-of-33 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie cornerback/returner Marcus Jones scored the Patriots’ solely landing whereas making his offensive debut within the first quarter.
After that, it was all Buffalo.
The Bills (9-3) totaled 358 yards in a balanced effort, whereas the Pats offense struggled to achieve 242. Diggs and Bills wideout Gabriel Davis (two catches, 15 yards) each caught touchdowns earlier than operating again Devin Singletary scored one other within the second half.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones completed 22-of-36 for 195 yards and a landing. Jones additionally had an interception overturned by assessment within the second half, when his offense punted twice and kicked a meaningless subject aim contained in the 2-minute warning.
Trailing 17-7 close to halftime, Jones and Co. botched a 2-minute drill they began at their very own 42-yard that might have pulled them inside a possession. Instead, after calling three runs over their subsequent 4 performs, the Pats have been out of timeouts going through first-and-10 at Buffalo’s 33.
Then, two incompletions, three snaps and 4 yards gained later, one in every of their longest drives of the evening ended with a missed subject aim.
The Patriots (6-6) will now take an prolonged break earlier than they return subsequent week to start making ready for a Monday evening recreation at Arizona on Dec. 12. Any hopes of constructing the division race fascinating at the moment are gone, and Wild Card playoff hopes are fading.
After a game-opening three-and-out, the Pats flipped Marcus Jones from particular groups to offense on their second possession. It took Jones one snap to make a case for extra enjoying time.
Catching a bubble display left at midfield, he took one jab step and out-raced the whole Bills protection 48 yards to the top zone. His landing gave the Patriots their first lead over Buffalo in additional than two video games and nearly a full calendar yr. But it wouldn’t final.
The Bills cruised 60 yards over 9 performs, and opened the second quarter with an 8-yard Allen landing cross to Diggs. After one other Patriots punt, Allen took the scenic route again to the top zone on a 14-play collection. His final snap was a spectacular prolonged play, the place he rolled proper and drifted backwards on third-and-goal on the 8-yard line.
With Pats linebacker Mack Wilson in his face, Allen leapt close to the sideline and ripped a landing cross to Gabriel Davis earlier than touchdown out of bounds. Again, the Patriots punted, and due to a Diggs incompletion, Buffalo returned the favor for the primary time in 24 possessions.
And but even after an ensuing strip sack of Allen, the Pats couldn’t discover the scoreboard with their 2-minute drill earlier than the half. Kicker Nick Folk booted a 48-yard attempt that crashed on the crossbar with 10 seconds left, and Buffalo ultimately knelt out the clock.
Defensively, the Patriots held the Bills to at least one rating after halftime, however may by no means regain management. And as an alternative of chasing a win late, going through a fourth down and 17-point deficit at midfield with 12:30 remaining, Belichick waved the white flag. He had learn this script earlier than, and knew the way it ended.
The Patriots punted.
Here have been one of the best and worst Patriot performances from Thursday:
WR/CB/KR Marcus Jones He scored the Patriots’ solely landing.
OLB Josh Uche Two sacks, a compelled fumble and 7 tackles. The breakout is actual.
CB Jonathan Jones The Pats’ No. 1 cornerback was within the space on Allen’s two landing passes and several other Diggs catches. Jones had a troublesome job and a harder evening.
Coaching The Patriots couldn’t include Diggs or execute a 2-minute drill. That comes again to Belichick and employees.