The New England Patriots earned a fifth consecutive victory on Monday, defeating the Buffalo Bills 25-6 at New Era Field.
For most of the game, the Patriots did not look like the Patriots — especially against a team they had beaten 28 times with Tom Brady under center.
Both New England and Buffalo combined for just 12 points through three quarters, all of which were field goals.
But, it would not be a Brady contest without some fourth-quarter magic. The Patriots scored the first offensive touchdown a little over five minutes into the final quarter and followed that up with their first defensive touchdown in 40 games to seal the win.
Quarterback Derek Anderson could not quite get it done for the Bills as he struggled to complete passes and move the chains. He finished 22-of-39 passing for 290 yards and one interception before leaving with a late injury, while Brady used second-half adjustments to help lead his team to its sixth victory — that and more from the Patriots' win over the Bills.
The Bills opened with some creativity
The Bills used some creativity early to try and spark a struggling offense.
In its opening drive, Buffalo used the wildcat multiple times and even ran a flea-flicker, which was thrown incomplete. The Bills picked up two first downs through their creative sequence, but ultimately had to punt after Anderson's second incompletion.
Keeping a drive alive would again be a problem in the second half, when Buffalo were only trailing by six.
After receiver Kelvin Benjamin used his height to grab this 40-yard catch, the Bills would have to punt four plays later.
Buffalo entered the game with the worst third-down conversion rate in the NFL, a meagre 27.4 percent, and managed to convert just four of 14 third downs Monday.
It was an uncharacteristic affair
By all accounts, the Patriots should have entered New Era Field and dominated the Bills. They have done so nearly 30 times with Brady at quarterback.
In 17 of their 28 wins against Buffalo during that time frame, New England had scored at least 30 points. In 12 of the 28 games, the Patriots had scored at least three touchdowns. In 10 of the 28, New England had tallied 300 yards. Only one of those things happened in this match.
The Patriots were held to field goals on four of their six scoring drives. They were nearing their lowest scoring output since their back-to-back losses in Weeks 2 and 3, but finished with 25 points to steer clear of a season low.
But, New England did reach a season low in one category. Brady ended the game completing 64.4 percent of his passes, his fewest of the season. The last time he logged a completion rate less than 65 was Week 16 of the 2017 season (48.6 percent).
No one was happier to see a touchdown than the Patriots
The first drive to the end zone only took until the fourth quarter.
It was a kickers duel before running back James White carried the ball in for a one-yard score.
Before Brady engineered the 10-play, 85-yard possession, which was capped off by the handoff to White, the Patriots were staring down another uncharacteristic path — one where they would not score a single touchdown. It had only happened twice in New England's last five seasons. Both times were against Buffalo.
In the end, the Patriots also added a defensive touchdown and now sit firmly atop the AFC East standings.
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