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Patriots Again Defenseless Against Josh Allen, Trail Bills at Halftime

Buffalo scored on its first three possessions to take a 17-7 lead into halftime at Gillette Stadium.

Even a rare punt by Buffalo and another dazzling dose of Marcus Magic at Gillette Stadium can't help the New England Patriots against the Bills.

The Bills lead the Pats, 17-7, at halftime of their AFC East showdown.

Rookie cornerback Marcus Jones, the hero of New England's the win over the New York Jets with an 84-yard game-winning punt return, gave the Pats a 7-3 lead by scoring on his first offensive snap of the season. Lined up in the left slot, Marcus took a quick pass from quarterback Mac Jones and scampered untouched 48 yards.

But as has been the case in their last three meetings, Bill Belichick's defense has no answers for Josh Allen and the Bills' offense.

After the Patriots botched a 3rd-and-1 with a fumbled hand-off on their opening possession, Allen converted a 3rd-and-11 before penalties forced Buffalo to settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.

The Bills re-took the lead, 10-7, on an Allen 8-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs. The margin grew to 17-7 on an athletic, ambitious, improbable and MVP-highlight reel play by Allen.

Flushed from the pocket and rolling right on 3rd-and-Goal, he shook off a sack by Mack Wilson but appeared to be headed out of bounds. In the end zone, meanwhile, cornerback Pats' cornerback Jonathan Jones gave up on the play. But as he reached the sideline, Allen jumped in the air and threw across his body and into traffic, where Jonathan Jones' man - Bills' receiver Gabe Davis - snagged the ball for an 8-yard score.

In the second quarter the dominant Bills' offense produced one drive of 82 yards and another that consumed 14 plays. In their previous two meetings last season, New England surrendered a combined 80 points and 910 yards to Buffalo. 

The Bills scored on 15 consecutive drives against the Pats and went 19 possessions without having to punt before a stop late in the second quarter.

Allen had another gorgeous touchdown pass - this one 41 yards to Diggs - nullified by an obvious holding penalty as Buffalo tried to keep Matthew Judon off its quarterback. 

Two plays later edge-rusher Josh Uche produced a strip-sack of Allen, but New England failed to convert the turnover when Nick Folk's 48-yard field goal carmoned off the crossbar just before halftime.

Other than Marcus Jones' play, the Pats' offense was hapless in the first two quarters.

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