Bills fans’ pipe dream of an undefeated season came crashing down this past weekend as the Bills fell to the perpetual thorn in their side, the New England Patriots, by a score of 16-10.
Just by looking at the box score stats, it would be hard to believe that the Bills managed to lose this one. The categories of first downs, total yardage and red zone efficiency were all dominated by Buffalo.
The Bills’ Achilles’ heel this game was their chronic ball security problems. Buffalo’s quarterbacks combined for four interceptions compared to New England quarterback Tom Brady’s one. The Patriots’ special teams also piled on the turnovers by returning a blocked punt for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen accounted for three of those interceptions as he finished the game with 153 yards through the air and a rushing touchdown.
Allen’s first interception of the day came on Buffalo’s first drive as he attempted to get the ball deep down the field into double coverage, but instead found Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty.
The second came on a similar play as Allen tried to throw it long to Bills wide receiver Zay Jones. The underthrown ball gave the Patriots defense an easy opportunity which they capitalized on.
After the halftime break, Allen led an impressive nine-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a one-yard leap over the pile on fourth and goal to pull the Bills within a field goal.
Allen got back to making mistakes two drives later as he made a deep throw on the run that was intercepted by Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson, who made an acrobatic leap and contorted himself to land with two feet in bounds.
Bills fans began to express outrage after the replay appeared to show Jones touching the ball while out of bounds before Jackson lands. By rule, this would declare the play dead and result in an incomplete pass. After review, the ruling was upheld.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, Allen took off to scramble for the first down but was knocked unconscious by Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones in a helmet-to-helmet collision. After lying motionless, Allen later left the field on his own power. He is currently in concussion protocol and is questionable for Week 5.
Jones was given a personal foul that was offset by an offensive holding call. Jones was not ejected, suspended or fined for the hit.
This hit and other plays in the game furthered Bills fans’ conspiracies of special treatment for the Patriots, especially for Brady.
Bills fans took their frustrations to Twitter regarding a blown intentional grounding call where Brady’s throw clearly lands about three yards short of the line of scrimmage with no flag.
Another instance of a blown call was a clear case of Allen’s facemask being grabbed before he threw the ball away, thinking the play would be negated by the penalty. No flag was thrown.
Even some players joined in on the conspiracy. When Bills’ safety Micah Hyde was asked about the helmet-to-helmet hit on Allen, he said, “If one of us did that to [Brady], we wouldn’t have been in the game no more.”
The defensive unit played exceptionally well to keep them in the game. They kept Brady to a quarterback rating of 45.9, the 6th worst rating of his career. On the ground, New England only picked up 74 yards.
While most of the game featured solid defensive play, the big highlight was Hyde’s leaping interception in the endzone that prevented the Patriots from taking an early 20-0 lead.
The Bills take the field again this Sunday in Nashville, Tenn. to face off against the 2-2 Tennessee Titans.