The Patriots defense struggled to make a stop at the end of the game in a tough 33-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills. This loss puts the Patriots all but out of the AFC East race with the Bills in favor of all tiebreakers. The Pats started the day at the top of the division.
One Last Stop
The defense was solid all day, but they struggled to make one big stop to take the momentum from the Bills. The Bills ended up going 50% on third down and 75% on fourth down with three conversions.
On the last scoring drive for Buffalo, they converted on two 3rd and 10s and a 4th and 1, which led them to a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive putting them up 12 points. Bills receiver Isaiah McKenzie stepped up in Cole Beasley’s absence with 11 receptions and 125 yards with one touchdown.
Cornerback Myles Bryant was on McKenzie for much of the game, and it quickly became clear that he was not able to keep up with him, but he was matched up with him throughout. The coaching on the defensive side was suspect today, and it let the team down.
Lone Star on Offense
Damien Harris sat out last week due to a hamstring injury, but he came back strong with 103 yards rushing and three touchdowns. With Rhamondre Stevenson out, it was Harris who got the majority of the work and he was the only player for the Patriots to find the endzone.
Other than Harris, the offense and Mac Jones struggled again. Mac threw two interceptions and only completed 43% of his passes. N’Keal Harry was being fed the ball early, but he had some trouble coming up with catches, and Mac’s first interception was in his direction.
The offense had a hard time moving the ball last week to the Colts and now it came up again in such a crucial game. It is possible that it is because of injuries to Stevenson and Nelson Agholor, but someone needs to step up and make some plays in the passing game.
With this loss, the Pats are in trouble of losing the AFC East and now a playoff spot is far from guaranteed. A couple of other teams losing helped them out, but there are a bunch of teams jockeying for position in the wild card race. The Patriots now find themselves one of those teams. This loss stings more because it is Buffalo at home, but thankfully the Jacksonville Jaguars come into town next week.
Next week is a perfect opportunity to get back on track and make a statement against a poor and dysfunctional Jaguars team. The Patriots can find themselves possibly clinching a playoff spot before the final week of the season. However if New England cannot beat Jacksonville at home, they do not deserve a playoff spot. On the Jacksonville.