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Stopped Cold: Patriots Fall to Bills 47-17 on Wild Card Weekend

The Patriots finish the 2021 NFL season 10-8, following a disheartening loss to their division rivals in Orchard Park, New York.

Heading into Wild Card Weekend, the New England Patriots were hoping to extend their stay in the postseason beyond one frigid night in western New York.

Unfortunately, for the second time in three weeks, it would be the Bills’ acting as the alpha on both sides of the ball.

Quarterback Mac Jones finished the game completing 24 of 38 passes for 232 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Still, the story of the day for New England would be the inability to make plays when most needed on both sides of the ball. Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen finished 21 of 25 for 308 yards, setting a team playoff record with five touchdown passes, including two to tight end Dawson Knox. Running back Devin Singletary also rushed for two scores, en route to a 47-17 dismantling of the Pats by the reigning AFC East division champions.

First-Half Highlights

The Bills struck first in the frigid air of western New York on Saturday night. The legs of quarterback Josh Allen carried Buffalo to a nine play, 70-yard drive, in which the Buffalo QB ripped runs for 26 yards and 15 yards respectively. Allen would cap the drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dawson Knox. Allen wisely attacked the weakness of the Pats’ defense, as safety Kyle Dugger’s injured hand was wrapped in a ‘club.’ With Dugger unable to put his hand up to make a play, Knox made the athletic grab.

Bills 7, Patriots 0

On their first possession, New England looked poised to answer the Bills’ scoring drive with one of their own. Advancing 53 yards on nine plays, Mac Jones highlighted the drive by scrambling for a 16-yard first down. He also found tight end Hunter Henry for a 30-yard gain. However, the Bills would reclaim the thunder when safety Micah Hyde intercepted Jones’ deep pass intended for receiver Nelson Agholor. While crossing over into the endzone, Agholor failed to high-point the ball, allowing Hyde to make a tremendous play on a solid throw by the Pats’ quarterback. Allen would take the Bills 80 yards on 10 plays, culminating in an 11-yard touchdown connection from Allen to Knox, their second scoring collaboration of the night

Bills 14, Patriots 0

Relentless in their pursuit, Buffalo continued to remain aggressive. Allen led Buffalo on an 81-yard, ten-play drive. Bills’ running back Devin Singletary found the endzone with a three-yard run. Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise blocked the extra point attempt by kicker Tyler Bass. However, sufficient damage had been inflicted.

Bills 20, Patriots 0

If there was any doubt that Buffalo was intent on showing no mercy, their longest drive of the night would stifle any lingering uncertainty. Needing only four plays to travel 89 yards, Allen and the Bills began to break it open. The highlight of the series came on receiver Stefon Diggs running past the Patriots Cover-3 set and connecting with Allen for 45 yards. Bills’ running back Devin Singletary ran it 16 yards for the touchdown.

Bills 27, Patriots 0

New England would avoid being shut out in the first half of their first postseason matchup in two years with a ten play, 49-yard drive, highlighted by a 19-yard completion from Jones to Jakobi Meyers with 22 seconds remaining. Nick Folk capped the drive with a 44-yard field goal, heading into halftime facing a 24-point deficit.

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At the half: Bills 27, Patriots 3

Second Half Highlights

Having the ball to begin the second half did not change the Patriots fortunes on Saturday night. After just four plays, Jones was intercepted for the second time in the game. On a pass intended for Hunter Henry, Bills’ linebacker Matt Milano tipped the ball, allowing cornerback Levi Wallace to snag the pick. In turn, Buffalo would travel 58 yards on six plays. Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams was badly beaten for a 34-yard touchdown by receiver Emmanuel Sanders from Allen.

Bills 33, Patriots 3

New England earned their first touchdown of the night on an 11-play, 70-yard drive that would feature the promising connection between Mac Jones and receiver Kendrick Bourne. Jones found Bourne for a 43-yard catch-and-run, while Bourne would turn in a 14-yard run. The drive appropriately ended with a three-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Bourne for the score.

Bills 33, Patriots 10

However, any momentum which New England hoped to extract from their previous drive would quickly be extinguished. Allen and the Bills continued to roll with a nine play, 77-yard drive, paced by a 19-yard completion from the Bills’ quarterback to slot receiver Cole Beasley. Allen found Gabriel Davis for the 19-yard scoring strike as the night looked to be well in-hand for the home team.

Bills 40, Patriots 10

Unfortunately for New England, Buffalo had one more vendetta-driven score left in them on Saturday. Taking full advantage of a 52-yard punt return by Micah Hyde, Allen led the Bills 39 yards on three plays. The drive would end with offensive lineman Tommy Doyle catching a one-yard pass from Allen.

Bills 47, Patriots 10

In an attempt to keep the final score from looking a bit less lopsided, Jones and the Patriots plodded 73 yards on 15 plays. With just under three minutes left in the season, New England found its way deep into Buffalo territory on an 18-yard connection from Jones to Nelson Agholor. The final scoring play of the Patriots 2021 season came on a four-yard Mac Jones touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne.

FINAL: Bills 47, Patriots 17

Injury Watch

Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley left the game in the first half with an arm injury and did not return to action.

Up Next

The Patriots head into the offseason, finishing their 2021 campaign with a 10-8 total record, including the postseason.