The BillsTheir handling of the Patriots was a clear reminder of how successful team building has been in Buffalo since 2018, when Josh Allen was a rookie and money was being paid to players not on the team. It was easy to believe that the Bills were the new boss of AFC East and were trying to convey a message by their stomping. The Chiefs are the AFC’s kings since last year’s AFC Championship Game. Although the Bills have won five consecutive games, their best performances were in their two last games against the Patriots. They also had real struggles against the Jets at home and the Falcons in the two remaining games of the regular season. It’s now time to perform like this against a stronger opponent than the Patriots next Sunday — most likely the Chiefs.
Josh Allen:He ran passes, he broke ankles — there was nothing that the Bills quarterback couldn’t do Saturday night. Allen was a one man wrecking crew. He threw for 308 yards, and ran for 66 more. But the Bills’ offense together was unstoppable. They took a 27-0 lead after scoring touchdowns on all four of their first-half possessions. The Bills wanted to make Mac Jones win the game, so establishing a lead was an important point of emphasis. Done. Then they continued. Since early in the third period of the first meeting between these sides this season, the Bills hadn’t punted against Patriots. The Bills had an excellent offensive performance. They scored touchdowns on every drive up to the kneel down. Harrison Phillips, Bills’ defensive tackle, raved about the offense, saying that it “sounds like Pop Warner stuff.” Perhaps you did it in Madden.
Micah HydeA great defensive effort by the Bills is highlighted because of the safety’s most impressive and timely play. The Bills led by a touchdown but the Patriots were moving the ball quickly on their first possession. On the Patriots’ first possession, quarterback Mac Jones gave the Patriots a first down at their 34-yard line. He heaved a pass toward Nelson Agholor, who was streaking down the left sideline — wide open — into the end zone. Hyde saw the angle and raced to the spot Agholor would have received the pass. Hyde tracked the ball the entire way and made a Willie Mays style catch. It turned a touchdown into a jaw-dropping interception, ending the Patriots’ early momentum. The Patriots offense never found its rhythm.
The Bills’ Coordinators:Leslie Frazier and Brian Daboll, the offensive coordinator, are both candidates for head coaching positions. This game will be a nice line on their résumés.
The PatriotsAlthough they lost in the wild-card round, the Patriots reconstructed in one season and reached the playoffs with a rookie quarterback. Although their weaknesses were exposed, this game was a win.