“Oh, how the mighty have fallen” is a quote which seems perfectly suited for the New England Patriots today. The departure of future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady could account partially for the fall of the Patriots, but only partially. Monday Night Football pitted the Patriots against the Buffalo Bills and the Bills proved to be way too much for the Pats to handle.
The Pats Era Is Over
The Bills came into Foxborough’s Gillette Stadium for the game with their division archrivals and came away with a 38-9 victory over the once dominant Patriots. The lopsided score used to be commonplace when New England was on the winning side. The franchise, under head coach Bill Belichick, will certainly go down in the history of the NFL as one of the most successful teams ever to play in the league. But that may be over now.
There is a new sheriff in the AFC East by the name of Josh Allen, who is quarterbacking the Bills and dominating the competition with his cohort Stefon Diggs at the receiving end of most of the yardage numbers put up by Allen this season.
Brady to Antonio Brown was the standard of the industry for years, but Brady has moved on to warmer climates and Brown is down in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers and his old buddy. That seems to have left Belichick and the Patriots in a bit of a quandary.
The Bills Rule The Night
The new dynamic duo is located up in Buffalo, New York and named Allen to Diggs. Against the Patriots last night, Allen passed for 320 yards, completing 27 of 36 passes and picking up four touchdowns. Diggs caught 9 of the 11 passes thrown to him for 145 yards and three touchdown catches.
New England took an early lead with a field goal in the first quarter, which was quickly answered by the Bills with a field goal of their own. Score at the end of the first quarter was 3-3. Not much action there.
But then, Buffalo shifted gears and put up 21 points in the second quarter to take a commanding lead which they would never relinquish. Cam Newton scored a rushing touchdown on a 9-yard scramble, then the Pats kicker missed the extra point.
Reviewing the stats postgame, it certainly looks like a total beat-down of the Patriots by the Bills who compiled 474 total offense compared to New England’s 201. The Bills went for it on fourth down 3 times and converted all three. Buffalo made 31 first downs compared to the Patriots 11.
Newton’s Time With Pats Over?
Nothing was going well for the Patriots on Monday night. And nothing else would. One field goal and one TD with a missed extra point for a grand total of 9 points for the game that was airing in prime time. Newton threw ten passes and completed just five of them for 34 yards before being benched in favor of yet another quarterback from Auburn by the name of Jarrett Stidham, who completed 4 of 11 passes for 44 yards.
Stidham is likely to get the nod when the Patriots take on the New York Jets in their final game of a season that they will be glad to see end, especially Belichick.
In retrospect, the Patriots choice of Newton seems a bit like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Newton was right at home with the Carolina Panthers, but he does not look comfortable in a Patriots uniform. Newton was hoping at least to look good on film figuring that he will be looking for another team next year, but even that did not work out for Newton last night.
So now, the Bills have taken over the number-two seed in the AFC behind the Kansas City Chiefs, with the Pittsburgh Steelers right behind them, and have only one game left with the Miami Dolphins at home in Buffalo next week. Then the Bills are playoff-bound. The Pats, however, have nowhere to go but home.