New England Patriots crushed by the Buffalo Bills, lose control of AFC East

New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy (Mandatory Credit: Democrat and Chronicle)
New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy (Mandatory Credit: Democrat and Chronicle) /

The Buffalo Bills dominated, stomped on, and crushed the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium to take charge of the AFC East and drop the Patriots into second place in the division.

The final score was 33-21 but the game wasn’t nearly that close. The Patriots failed to show up, were out-toughed, and were overwhelmed by a better Buffalo team.

Clearly, the New England Patriots have been overrated in this space and lots of others as they failed to provide even a representative challenge to the Bills.

The New England Patriots are not ready for prime time just yet

Something like the 2019 Tom Brady-led Patriots, the 2021 version, despite a 7-game winning streak, are clearly not ready for prime time in the National Football League.

The Patriots flopped in almost every aspect of the game against Buffalo as the Bills outhit, out caught, out tackled, outran, and basically out-“everythinged” the Patriots.

Josh Allen, the Bills fourth-year quarterback, left no doubt as to who was the best quarterback in the division is. He ripped the Patriots’ pass defense to shreds.

Allen completed 30 of his 47 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns and completely flummoxed the Patriots’ defense at every turn. It was no contest from the outset.

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From their first drive, which the Patriots went three-and-out on, the tempo of the entire game was set. Buffalo scored a touchdown on their first possession and never looked back.

The score could have been much larger in favor of the Bills, as the Patriots’ offense sputtered for most of the afternoon.

Mac Jones underwhelms for the New England Patriots

The expectations were high for rookie quarterback Mac Jones, even though Jones’ performance in Week 15 against the Indianapolis Colts wasn’t up to par. Once again, a big interception put the Patriots on the back foot early.

Jones looked like a deer-in-the-headlights much of the afternoon as Buffalo’s defense flummoxed him and the languid Patriots offense all afternoon long.

Jones had another terrible game at the worst possible time, completing a pitiful 14/32 for a meager 145 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions and that basically was the story of the day. Frankly, Jones stunk and looked every bit the rookie he is.

Jones also only hit his best target, Hunter Henry, on just one pass in this one. There’s just no way to understand that lack of play-calling attention to Henry. It was an example of poor coaching by New England, and they were completely and comprehensively outcoached in this one from start to finish for the second straight week.

Yet, it was clearly the Bills excellence that was the telling factor in this contest. They were simply the better team by far and they deserved the win.

Jones had to step up if the Patriots were to win this pivotal contest, and he didn’t. Jones looked the part of a rookie today against a very good Bills defense.

As he approaches the proverbial “veteran status”, Jones needed a big game to beat this Buffalo team and propel his team into a commanding lead in the AFC East division.

Unfortunately, he failed to step up, while his counterpart Allen did. Turnovers were looked upon as the key to this tilt, and the big interception early on by Jones proved costly.

Jones did nothing to cement his status as a contender for Rookie-of-the-Year. Nor did he do anything to uphold his status as a player who plays well beyond his years and experience. He did neither. And neither did his teammates.

The entire offense was off-kilter. The defense made some plays, but far too few to beat a team as poised and well-led as Buffalo with Allen at the helm. And unfortunately, the Patriots’ best defender Matt Judon didn’t help matters much at all with an uncharacteristically sub-par game.

Jones lost the leadership battle to Allen by a mile and that was the difference. In a game that basically decided the AFC East for all intents and purposes, New England blew a golden opportunity to lock up the division, and now will most likely have to settle for a wild card spot at this point, if they even get into the playoffs at all.

It was a disappointing game and a big-time loss at the worst possible time for the New England Patriots. Yet, even after a dismal performance, they still had a possible opportunity late to turn this terrible performance into a win.

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They had chances midway into the fourth quarter to make just one big defensive stop and possibly drive to take the lead. But the defense flopped on every one.

On one-fourth down play, Jamie Collins whiffed on a chance to end a Bills drive, which allowed Allen to march down the field, score, and that was that.

Now, they can only hope for an unlikely Buffalo collapse and/or to win another game or two to secure a wild card spot. Sadly, in this huge opportunity to seal the AFC East and more, the Patriots failed miserably and frankly, lost to the better team. Of that, there is no doubt whatsoever.