Red Zone offense haunts Bills in 14-10 loss to Patriots

Sports

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) gets past New England Patriots middle linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (8) with Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant (41) closing in to force him out of bounds during the second half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — On a cold and blustery Monday night in Orchard Park, the Bills and Patriots met for an important AFC East Matchup, but it was New England came out victorious at Highmark Stadium 14-10.

The weather definitely played a factor in the first half. Both teams relied heavily on the ground, although the Patriots ran the ball through the Bills defense more successfully, with the Pats amassing 149 yards on the ground, including a 64-yard Damien Harris touchdown run, compared to the Bills mere 33 yards rushing through the first two quarters.

But while Pats rookie quarterback Mac Jones only attempted one pass in the first half, Josh Allen connected with receivers six different times for 46 yards with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis in the first half of the game.

New England led Buffalo 11-7 at the half.

The second half continued to expose the issues on the Bills, including red zone offense. Buffalo trounced down the field three times in the second half. They ended up with a total of three points in those attempts.

The first time, they settling for a 35-yard field goal on 4th and 7 from the Patriots 17 yard line to make it 11-10, Pats still on top. The second time, in the fourth quarter going into the gusty wind, the Bills made the bizarre decision to attempt a 33-yard field goal on 4th and goal, which went wide right. And the final time, the Bills were in a must-score situation right before the two minute drill, and a combination of a false start and back-to-back incomplete passes ended with an errant throw from Josh Allen on fourth down for a turnover on downs.

That would be it for the Bills. The Patriots move to 9-4, the Bills move to 7-5. New England outgained the Bills 241 to 130, with 222 of the Pats yards coming from the ground game.

New England leads the AFC, and leads the AFC East by 1.5 games.

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:

— 1Q: The Bills get the first first down of the game on their second possession, but on the very next play Matt Breida fumbles the handoff and New England recovers. The Patriots take advantage of the turnover, and three plays later Damien Harris finds a hole and takes it 64-yards down the field for the touchdown. 8-0 Patriots.

— 1Q: The Bills go three and out, but on the punt the ball hits the Pats returner in the face mask and is recovered by Siran Neal! After taking over at the 14-yard line, on the very next play, Josh Allen fakes the handoff and goes over the middle to Gabriel Davis for the touchdown. 8-7 Patriots.

— 2Q: New England takes it 52-yards in nine plays and caps off the drive with a 41-yard field goal from Nick Folk. 11-7 Patriots.

— 3Q: The Bills go 46-yards and get inside the Patriots 20-yard line but can’t get the first down and settle with a 35-yard field goal by Tyler Bass. 11-10 Patriots.

— 4Q: The Patriots shred the Bills on the ground and take it 59-yards in 14 plays but the Bills defense stands up inside the red zone. Pats kick a 34-yard FG. 14-10 Patriots.

— 4Q: Buffalo goes 40 yards in 11 plays but implodes and loses nine yards after a first and goal. Bass attempts a 33-yard field goal into the gusting wind and it goes wide right.

— 4Q: The Bills go all the way down inside the red zone right before the two minute warning, but throw an incomplete pass on 4th and 14 for a turnover on downs.

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