Best and Worst: Patriots 24, Bills 12
FOXBORO -- Here's the best and worst from the Patriots' 24-6 victory over the Bills that gives New England its 10th consecutive AFC East championship . . . and, coupled with Houston's last-second loss to the Eagles, a clear shot at a first-round bye.
THAT’ll GET ‘EM GOING!
The pre-kickoff tune, ripped from Billboard’s 1986 charts, Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. It reached No. 2 on the charts and was also featured in the motion picture, Top Gun starring Tom Cruise. A renegade pilot who, blah, blah, blah
IT’S HOT LAVA
Bills punt returner Isaiah McKenzie lurked around a rolling punt surrounded by Patriots long enough for a few New England defenders to use him as a prop and try to push him into the football, thereby creating a turnover. Why McKenzie hung around that long is unknown.
A week after a slew of presnap penalties plagued the Patriots in Pittsburgh, Marcus Cannon drew a false start penalty and responded by pounding both fists on his thighs in a tantrum that evoked memories of when I got an apple in my lunch instead of a bag of Fritos.
Rex Burkhead had a fumble (pictured) and a play on which he zigged when Tom Brady thought he would zag that turned into a pick. Both came in the first half.
James White, whose usage has been down, had a productive first half with a 27-yard touchdown run, two more carries and a 9-yard reception.
Through the first Bills possession of the second half, Josh Allen was 8-for-18 for 53 yards with a pick. There were a couple of spectacular incompletions mixed in, including one that sailed directly into the Patriots sideline and was hauled in by Keion Crossen.
MORE CLUB NEEDED
Bills kicker Steven Hauschka came up woefully short on a 43-yard field goal attempt, doinking the crossbar and forcing the Bills to go for it on fourth-and-3 from the New England 28 later in the half. That Allen throw to the end zone was well-placed but dropped.
The Patriots ran 20 times for 179 yards in the first half with Cordarrelle Patterson leading the way rolling up 66 yards on four carries.
Patriots corner J.C. Jackson came up with his third pick of the season when Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw it in his general area on a first-down play following the Patriots second touchdown.
On the first play of the second half, Tom Brady threw to Gronk short and the ball glanced off his hands and was picked off. The Bills added a field goal to make it 14-3.
On the most crisp passing play of the first three quarters, Julian Edelman took a fourth-and-4 throw from Tom Brady, rolled over the bodies of the would-be tacklers without contacting the ground and took it the rest of the way for a 32-yard touchdown.
Jason McCourty craftily dislodged a ball from Bills tight end Jason Croom as Croom fought for extra yardage in the third quarter.
Cordarrelle Patterson, whose contributions in the running game were profound, got hurt on a kickoff return in the second half apparently banging his right kneecap. Sony Michel and Matt Slater were used in the kickoff return game after that.