Photo: David Butler II - USA TODAY Sports

Patriots outlast the Bills 37-16

The Bills are still alive in the playoff hunt at 8-7

December 24, 2017 - 12:39 pm

The Buffalo Bills, just like a few weeks ago, played the New England Patriots tough in the first half on Sunday. The two teams were tied at the half. However, just like earlier this month, the Patriots ran away with it in the second half. The turning point of the game was when Kelvin Benjamin had a touchdown called back at the end of the second quarter. Benjamin made the catch in the corner of the end-zone, and appeared to drag both feet with possession of the ball. Never the less, the referee reversed the original call of a completed catch, and the Bills had to settle for a field goal, and a tie. 

The Patriots turned to their ground game in the second half, while the Bills failed to get anything going on offense. Pats running back Dion Lewis finished with 24 carries for 129 yards and a two touchdowns, most of which came in the third and fourth quarters. There was no retribution for Rob Gronkowski in this game, and he a decent day with five catches for 67 yards and a tremendous touchdown. The Bills did not finish the game with an offensive touchdown and Tyrod Taylor struggled mightily in the second half, despite finishing with 281 yards. 

Even with the loss, the Bills are still alive in the playoff hunt. They will need to win next week against Miami and get either a loss by the Ravens to the Bengals or losses by both the Titans and Chargers. 

The Bills stopped the Patriots to a three-and-out to start the game. Many talked about the need to keep Brady off the field throughout the week, and the Bills did that early. They went on a 16-play drive, killing just over eight minutes of clock. They would have to settle for a field goal. 

After Brady put together an 80-yard drive to answer, Taylor immediately hit Deonte Thompson on a 43-yard connection. Faced with a 4th and 2 on the Patriots' two-yard line, Sean McDermott decided to go for it. Taylor scrambled out of the pocket and was chased down from behind, forcing an incompletion. It was certainly an aggressive decision by McDermott, one many will applaud him for. 

Tom Brady made a crucial error with 10:46 to go in the second quarter. Brady was late with a throw, that Jordan Poyer picked off, and returned 19-yards for the touchdown. 

Brady and the Patriots answered right away. Capping off a nine-play drive, with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski was in single coverage on the outside with Micah Hyde. He made an incredible one handed catch, and tapped his feet to stay in bounds. New England added a field goal on their next drive. 

Just before halftime, Travaris Cadet suffered a gruesome injury after a one-yard run. Cadet's ankle bent in a very bad way, and he was carted off to the locker room with an air cast on the ankle. After the game, it was revealed that Cadet suffered a broken ankle and that his season is likely over.

Kelvin Benjamin caught a beautiful four-yard touchdown pass at the end of the drive, however the referee changed the call saying Benjamin didn't have possession of the ball. Steven Hauschka fired a chip shot through the uprights to tie the game at the half. 

The Bills came out with a field goal on the first drive of the second half. LeSean McCoy had a spectacular catch and run to set up a Hauschka field goal. The rest of the field goal was all Patriots. Mike Gillislee punched in a one-yard touchdown, after Trae Elston was called for pass interference in the end-zone. On the next drive, Steven Hauschka missed a 50-yard field goal, setting New England up with great field position. 

The Patriots began to run away with it after that. Dion Lewis eclipsed 100 yards on the ground, and finding the end zone twice. The Bills offense finished the day not being able to score a touchdown. 

First Quarter:

  • 3-0 Bills (5:30) - Steven Hauschka is good on a 41-yard field goal attempt
    • Drive Info: 16 plays, 47 yards, 8:04

    Second Quarter:

    • 3-3 TIE (14:14) - Stephen Gostkowski's 21-yard field goal attempt is good.
      • Drive Info: 13 plays, 79 yards, 6:16
    • 3-3 TIE (11:21) - Tyrod Taylor is sacked on a 4th-and-2 at the New England 6-yard line, the Bills turn the ball over on downs 
    • 10-3 Bills (10:28) - Tom Brady's pass is intercepted by Jordan Poyer, returned 19 yards for a touchdown.
      • ​Drive info: 1 play, 19 yards
    • 10-10 TIE (7:06) - Tom Brady throws a 17-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski. Gostkowski's extra-point attempt is good. 
      • Drive info: 9 plays, 75 yards, 3:22
    • 13-10 Patriots (1:55) - Stephen Gostkowski's 40-yard field goal attempt is good. 
      • Drive info: 7 plays, 66 yards, 3:00
    • 13-13 TIE (0:00) - Steven Hauschka hits his 23-yard field attempt.
      • Drive info: 13 plays, 71 yards, 1:55

    Third Quarter:

    • 16-13 Bills (10:21) - Steven Hauschka's 30-yard field goal attempt is good. 
      • Drive info: 10 plays, 63 yards, 4:39
    • 16-16 TIE (5:08) - Stephen Gostkowski's field goal attempt is successful from 34 yards out
      • Drive info: 13 plays, 59 yards, 5:13
    • 23-16 Patriots (0:55) - Mike Gillislee 1-yard touchdown run. Gostkowski extra point is good. 
      • Drive info: 4 plays, 65 yards, 1:59

      Fourth Quarter:

      • 23-16 Patriots (13:08) - Stephen Hauschka misses a 50-yard field goal short.
      • 30-16 Patriots (9:27) - Tom Brady 12-yard touchdown pass to Dion Lewis. Gostkowski extra point is good. 
        • Drive info: 7 plays, 60 yards, 3:41
      • 37-16 Patriots (3:58) - Dion Lewis 4-yard touchdown run. Gostkowski extra point is good. 
        • Drive info: 8 plays, 54 yards, 3:25
      • 37-16 Patriots (2:29) - Tyrod Taylor's 4th down pass attempt to Nick O'Leary falls short, and the Bills are forced to turn the ball over on downs.




      Buffalo Bills:

      Tyrod Taylor: 21 of 38, 281 yards

      New England Patriots:

      Tom Brady: 21 of 28, 224 yards, 2 TDs,  1 INT



      Buffalo Bills:

      LeSean McCoy: 17 carries, 71 yards

      Tyrod Taylor: 3 carries, 16 yards

      Travaris Cadet: 1 carry, 0 yard

      Mike Tolbert: 3 carries, -3 yards

      New England Patriots:

      Dion Lewis: 24 carries, 129 yards

      Mike Gillislee: 6 carries, 28 yards, 1 TD

      Brandon Bolden: 2 carries, 20 yards

      Brandin Coooks: 1 carry, 6 yards

      Tom Brady: 2 carries, 6 yards

      Jacob Hollister: 1 carry, 5 yards

      Brian Hoyer: 2 carries, -1 yards



      Buffalo Bills:

      Deonte Thompson: 4 receptions, 91 yards

      LeSean McCoy: 5 receptions, 76 yards

      Kelvin Benjamin: 5 receptions, 70 yards

      Charles Clay: 4 receptions, 37 yards

      Mike Tolbert: 1 reception, 11 yards

      Brandon Tate: 1 reception, 4 yards

      Pat DiMarco: 1 reception, -8 yards

      New England Patriots:

      Rob Gronkowski: 5 receptions, 67 yards, TD

      Danny Amendola: 3 receptions, 28 yards

      Dwayne Allen: 2 receptions, 26 yards

      Dion Lewis: 5 receptions, 24 yards, TD

      Philip Dorsett: 1 reception, 24 yards

      Brandin Cooks: 2 receptions, 19 yards

      Kenny Britt: 1 reception, 16 yards

      Mike Gillislee: 1 reception, 15 yards

      Jacob Hollister: 1 reception, 5 yards



      Buffalo Bills:

      Jordan Poyer: 6 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD

      Kyle Williams: 4 tackles, 1 sack

      Preston Brown: 14 tackles

      Shareece Wright: 9 tackles

      Ramon Humber: 7 tackles

      Micah Hyde: 6 tackles

      New England Patriots:

      Marquis Flowers: 10 tackles, 2.5 sacks

      Trey Flowers: 8 tackles

      Patrick Chung: 6 tackles

      Devin McCourty: 6 tackles


      Total Yards:

      Bills: 326
      Patriots: 411

      Passing Yards:

      Bills: 242
      Patriots: 218

      Rushing Yards:

      Bills: 84
      Patriots: 193

      First Downs:

      Bills: 17
      Patriots: 28


      Bills: 4 for 83 yards
      Patriots: 2 for 10 yards

      Time of Possession:

      Bills: 28:16
      Patriots: 31:44

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