Patriots hold off late Bills drive to win, 16-10, in tense matchup

All of the updates from Sunday's win in New York.

New England‘s Jonathan Jones and Duron Harmon tackle Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen in the second half of Sunday’s game.
New England‘s Jonathan Jones and Duron Harmon tackle Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen in the second half of Sunday’s game. –Ron Schwane/AP Photo

No blowout? No problem.

The Patriots scored 13 quick points and held on down the stretch for the 16-10 win over the Bills Sunday in Orchard Park, using a tremendous defense effort to stay unbeaten on the season.

The New England defense finished with four interceptions — including two from J.C. Jackson, one dfrom Devin McCourty and one from Jamie Collins — in the win.

The Patriots needed every bit of that from their defense, as the offense had issues for much of the afternoon. Tom Brady was 18-for-39 for 150 yards and an interception, as New England struggled to find an offensive rhthym throughout the final three quarters.

It looked like it was going to be a rout early, as Brandon Bolden scored on a four-yard run and Matt Slater added a touchdown off a blocked punt. But other than a third-quarter field goal from Stephen Gostkowski, that was all the scoring for the Patriots.

Fortunately for them, the defense was able to keep Buffalo in check for much of the afternoon. Josh Allen — who scored the first touchdown of the season against the New England defense — plunged over from the 1-yard line in the third to make it 13-10, but Buffalo could get no closer. Allen left because of a head injury in the fourth, and a final Matt Barkley pass was off the mark, allowing New England to escape with the win and move to 4-0 on the year.

4:19 p.m.: Collins with the pick of the impacted pass — the fourth pick of the day for the Patriots. And that should (just about) do it. Collins has just third INT of the season.

4:17 p.m.: Two minutes left and the Patriots hold a 16-10 lead. Buffalo is moving the ball, but is out of timeouts.

4:13 p.m.: But as has been the case for much of the afternoon, the offense can’t convert. Buffalo gets the ball with 3:09 left to go at its own 14-yard line.

4:13 p.m.: But as has been the case for much of the afternoon, the offense can’t convert. Buffalo gets the ball with 3:09 left to go at its own 14-yard line.

4:10 p.m.: Patriots moving the chains here with Michel — the clock continues to tick. Remember, Buffalo is out of timeouts.

4:05 p.m.: No offensive traction for the Patriots for the last two-plus quarters — the false start on first down put them in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. New England will have to rely on its defense again here with 7:36 remaining in regulation.

4:00 p.m.: So the Bills’ offense — with Matt Barkley still at the controls — has stalled out again, which means the Pats will get the ball back with 8:35 to go in regulation and a 16-10 lead. Still believe that one more score here from New England will effectively end things, but at the moment, it’s setting up as a dramatic finish.

3:50 p.m.: Chung with a great play there with the Patriots’ fourth interception of the day. With the Bills on the doorstep, he had the pick of Matt Barkley, and New England will get the ball back. (CHECK THAT — the INT was overturned, but New England still gets the ball on downs.) As ragged as the offense has been throughout the last couple of quarters, the defense has really played well. It’s 16-10 New England with 10:43 to go in regulation.

3:46 p.m.: Patriots have to settle down here — they’re in danger of having this one get away from them. Bills are on the doorstep of a go-ahead touchdown here early in the fourth quarter.

3:43 p.m.: Dynamite catch there by John Brown on that third-down pass play. First down for the Bills in the New England red zone.

3:41 p.m.: Offsetting penalties there on that Jones hit on Allen. Allen to the blue tent. Jones is rightfully flagged for the helmet-to-helmet hit.

3:39 p.m.: Wow. Buffalo is out of timeouts here at the start of the fourth. File that one away for later on.

3:35 p.m.: The Patriots hold a 16-10 lead at the end of the third quarter. Brady is 15-for-31 for 137 yards and a pick. Sony Michel has 14 carries for 43 yards and James White has seven catches for 56 yards. Fortunately for the Pats, they have played excellent defense (again). Three INTs by Josh Allen have played a huge role in this one. A tractor pull of a ballgame heads to the fourth with New England holding on down the stretch.

3:31 p.m.: The 23-yarder from Gostkowski is good, and it’s 16-10 with 58 seconds left in the third quarter. The Patriots were able to get three out of that pick from Jackson, but this thing isn;t over quite yet.. Feels like New England still needs a couple of big stops between now and the end of the game.

3:30 p.m.: The 31-yarder — and subsequent no-call on Matt LaCosse — gets the Patriots down into the Buffalo red zone. There’s a sense of urgency here for the Pats, as they now face a third and goal.

3:22 p.m.: What was that we said about the defense needing to pick things up? Another big moment there, as Jackson made a terrific play to come away with his second pick of the day. If it stands up, the Patriots will get good field position with 3:57 left in the third quarter.

3:15 p.m.: Patriots punting the ball away here, sitting on the Buffalo 40. A really interesting call here for New England. Bills called a quick TO — wonder if Buffalo was a little surprised. Anyway, the Pats defense has to really pick things up here and carry this team across the finish line, as the New England offense has continued to struggle.

3:10 p.m.: If I’m Buffalo, this is the sort of contest I want, at least to this point — a rockfight where the first team to 20 wins. The Bills have done well to hang in this game, muddying it up and giving New England trouble. The Pats will get the ball back here after that sack, but they really need to respond to drive all hope of the upset from the Bills. It’s 13-10, New England, with 6:54 left in the third.

2:55 p.m.: Oh, man. What a crazy play, but it looks like they’re going to give Buffalo the touchdown. Let the record show the Bills are the first team to score on the New England defense this season, with Allen getting the first with 10:37 left in the third quarter. It’s 13-10, Patriots, and New England has to answer here or risk Buffalo starting to feel like its really got a shot.

2:50 p.m.

2:41 p.m.: A few quick thoughts here at the half…

• The Patriots’ offense is struggling — one touchdown over two quarters. I mean, the Buffalo defense is pretty good, but still, this is not the same rapid-fire group we saw over the first three weeks of the regular season. Not sure how much Edelman is feeling it, or is more of a decoy, but this is looking more and more like a James White game (four catches, 52 yards).

• The defense, with the exception of a couple of those runs from Frank Gore, is really looking solid … again. They need to get one more touchdown here to make sure things don’t get too dicey, but if the Patriots can get to 20 points on the afternoon, this thing should really be over. Picks from Devin McCourty and JC Jackson were highlights, but really, it was great coverage in the secondary, good work getting pressure up front — if they can find a way to bottle up Gore (easier said than done) and put one more TD on the board, they’re going to win this game.

• What more can you say at this point about the kicker? I’m an admitted Gostkowski apologist, and I don’t know why they haven’t taken a look around the league at this point. On the flip side, awesome to see Matt Slater pick up that touchdown. Great execution there for New England.

2:35 p.m.: The 49-yarder from Hauschka at the end of the first half is no good. It’s 13-3 at the half in Buffalo.

2:31 p.m.:

•Brady is 9-for-22 for 90 yards and an INT.

•Michel has 11 carries for 44 yards.

•White has 4 catches for 52 yards.

•New England up 13-3 with 1:30 left in the first half.

2:27 p.m.: A 46-yard field goal from Stephen Hauschka makes it 13-3, New England, with just under two minutes to go here in the first half. The Pats will get the ball here trying to put a stamp on the game going into the half.

2:17 p.m.: Nice play by Hyde there to come away with the pick of Brady in the end zone — the Patriots missed out on a big scoring opportunity. New England is still up 13-0 with 4:08 left in the first half, but the Pats have left some points on the field here in the first half.

2:05 p.m.: Whether it’s no Develin or matchups or situational football, New England’s ground game is having some issues. You can use those short dumpoffs to White and others as run-type of plays, but it’s clear the Patriots have to find some sort of answer here. New England is moving the chains, but it’s fundamentally a one-dimensional offense.

1:54 p.m.: Feels like the Patriots would love one of those eight-minute, soul-sucking drives here to really finish off the half. Opponents are now 0-for-15 on third down dating back to the Jets’ game. You always have to take the quality of the opponent into acxcount, but this group is really playing well right now.

1:50 p.m.: Dynamite sequence there by the New England defense. The group has Josh Allen throwing off his back foot on a fairly consistent basis here in the early going, which leads to underthrown balls, and just then, a pick by JC Jackson. The Pats have the ball here at the start of the second quarter and a 13-0 lead.

•Brady 4-for-9 for 46 yards

•White 3 catches, 41 yards

•Bolden 1 rushing TD

•Devin McCourty and JC Jackson with INTs

1:38 p.m.: The Patriots will get the ball back after that Collins sack. New England opponents are now 0-for-14 over the last week-plus on third down.

1:30 p.m.: A lightning bolt in Buffalo. The Pats are up 13-0 with 6:22 left quarter after that blocked punt was taken into the end zone by Matthew Slater. (And a successfiul extra point.) New England’s offense appeared to have some issues out of the gate, but a double-digit lead with the Patriots’ defense and a sluggish Josh Allen is going to change game plans for both teams.

1:22 p.m.: Patriots’ offense really looked sharp there on that last drive, with the highlight coming on that Brady to White pass that got them into the Buffalo red zone. Bolden came away with the touchdown. But ANOTHER missed extra point by Gostkowski. It’s 6-0 New England with 7:35 left in the first quarter.

1:18 p.m.: Patriots are moving the chains, but the offense is a little ragged here in the early going. Another high pass for the quarterback.

1:14 p.m.: Patriots starting offense — Brady, Michel, Johnson, Edelman, Gordon, Izzo, Newhouse, Thuney, Karras, Mason, Cannon.

Defensive starters — Shelton, Guy, Van Noy, Simon, Collins, Bentley, Gilmore, Jones, J. McCourty, D. McCourty, Chung.

1:11 p.m.: Tough back-to-back plays there for New England, as a hold wipes out that Van Noy sack and then a 9-yard pickup by Frank Gore.. Gets the Bills to midfield after it looked like they would have to punt the ball away. Pats can’t allow openings like that against this Buffalo offense.

1:05 p.m.: Not a great opening sequence there for the New England offense, which is out of the ordinary for this group this year. Rough couple of passes from Brady — after the punt, Buffalo will have it at its own 24-yard line by the looks of things with 13:17 left in the first quarter.

1:02 p.m.: Patriots with the ball to open the game. Brady only had four incompletes in the first quarter this season. But who needs the passing game when Sony Michel opens the game with a 15-yard run?

12:42 p.m.: Official prediction — Patriots 23, Bills 10. This feels a little like that weird early-season loss that no one sees coming, but I think New England is going to take this one. A pair of Tom Brady touchdown passes are the difference. The Patriots’ defense gives up its first touchdown of the year, but New England still gets to 4-0.

12:32 p.m.: Big Lar is in the house.

12:15 p.m.: Welcome to football! We’re running a little behind this afternoon — we’ll have everything up shortly — but here are your inactives for today’s game.

The following players are inactive today for the Patriots:

LB Dont’a Hightower

DB Joejuan Williams

RB Damien Harris

OL Caleb Benenoch

OL Korey Cunningham

QB Cody Kessler

DL Byron Cowart

10:45 a.m.: Your pregame reading list:


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