ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — With an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot in a fifth consecutive season, the Bills did not begin the afternoon against the Patriots ideally.
Rasul Douglas personally made sure the rest of the game went ok.
Jalen Reagor returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Patriots an immediate 7-0 lead. Josh Allen even took a sack and fumbled on the next play.
Douglas deflected a pass on the next Patriots drive and Ed Oliver made an incredible diving interception to set up a field goal. After a Buffalo punt, Douglas picked off Bailey Zappe himself for his third interception with the Bills.
Buffalo kept the ball on the ground after the turnover and needed four plays to go 14 yards for a go ahead touchdown. Josh Allen snuck the ball in from a yard out to finish the short field drive and give the Bills their first lead.
Christian Benford punched a ball out on the next Patriots drive and recovered the ball himself. That led to a second Tyler Bass field goal.
Douglas struck again in early in the second quarter. The Bills sent an all-out blitz on a third and 11. Zappe tried a short, quick throw to avoid the blitz. His receiver went deep. Douglas did not. After a diving interception, Douglas returned the ball 40 yards for his first Bills touchdown. It’s already his second two interception game. Buffalo had a 20-7 lead.
It didn’t last long. A 48 yard Kevin Harris catch and run on a great screen pass got the Patriots into the red zone. Zappe strolled in with a 17 yard scramble for a touchdown on the next snap and New England was back within a score. It remained a 20-14 game at the half.
Buffalo restored some space with a strong drive to open the second half. Dalton Kincaid beat Kyle Duggar off the line and got free for a 51 yard connection. James Cook and Allen combined for five rushes and 13 yards that finished the drive. The Bills version of the Tush Push finally pushed the ball over the goal line for a 27-14 lead.
After an exchange of punts, Zappe hit Reagor with a 39 yard pass that got the Patriots to the Bills 30 yard line. A Demario Douglas catch and run moved the ball inside the red zone and Jordan Poyer tacked on seven more with a ridiculous late hit. Ezekiel Elliott scored on the next play from six yards out and the Patriots had, once again, closed within a score.
On the next possession, the Bills were unable to put point on the board after an Allen fumble on 3rd down near midfield forced them to punt. However, a fabulous punt by Sam Martin pinned the Patriots inside the five yard line.
The Buffalo defense forced a three and out and the offense was able to run the final five minutes of the game off the clock to secure the win.
Allen completed 15 of his 30 passing attempts for 169 passing yards to go along with an interception and two rushing touchdowns. Cook led the ground attack with 48 yards on 16 carries.
Kincaid had a game-high 47 receiving yards on four catches while Khalil Shakir had 39 receiving yards.
The Bills (10-6) will take on the Dolphins (11-5) next weekend where the winner will be crowned the AFC East champs.
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