Patriots prove they are still No. 1 in AFC East

The Buffalo Bills proved that the New England Patriots are still the class of the American Football Conference East, especially with Tom Brady under center, during the game on Sunday Oct. 30 in Orchard Park. The return of Brady gave the Patriots a tremendous advantage not previously held during the first meeting between these franchises.

The last time the two teams met, Brady was still serving a four-game suspension for deflating footballs. Their already-injured third string quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, started and the Patriots were shut out at home for the first time since 1993 with a 16-0 defeat. This defeat is the only loss on their record coming into Sunday’s game.

The Bills came into Sunday’s game at an immediate disadvantage to the Patriots. With three of their most potent weapons being out with injuries—including wide receiver Sammy Watkins, running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Robert Woods—the lineup, especially on the offensive side of the ball, appeared depleted. This did not bode well for a team who could potentially sweep an organization that has been so competitive in recent years. In fact, the Bills had not swept the Patriots in a season series since 1999.

The defense looked to get after Brady early, only to watch as he carved up the defense with crisp passes and incredible accuracy. Even though the pressure forced Brady to scramble in the pocket, he was still able to be as accurate as ever, delivering two touchdown passes to wide receivers Danny Amendola and former Bill Chris Hogan on the first two Patriots possessions. He then hit tight end Rob Gronkowski for his 69th career touchdown reception—a Patriots record.

To finish the day, Brady hit wide receiver Julian Edelman for his fourth touchdown pass of the afternoon, ultimately silencing any hopes of a comeback for Buffalo. He finished the afternoon completing 22 of 33 of his passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns, each to different receivers.

Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and the rest of the Bills offense added two touchdowns late, one on a 26-yard keeper from Taylor himself and another six through running back Jonathan Williams.

It seems the injuries keep piling up for the Bills, as linebacker Lorenzo Alexander did not return to action. One of Buffalo’s young wide receivers, Brandon Tate, left the game and is currently being examined in the concussion protocol. On top of all of this, running back Reggie Bush is suffering from a groin injury.

The Patriots have been rolling on a four-game winning streak with Brady’s playing. With the perennial all-pro quarterback playing his best football at 39 years old, the Patriots are still the class of the AFC and look to return to the Super Bowl for the second time in the past four years.

The Bills are left to ponder the “what if” of sports. With a victory, they would have snapped the streak and swept the Patriots in their season series. With the defeat, the Bills’ record stands at 4-4 at the midpoint of the regular season. Headed into their bye-week, the Patriots hold the best record in the NFL at 7-1.

When looking at how many games New England has on the Bills in the division, it seems inevitable that the Pats will conquer the AFC East for yet another straight year.