Patriots

Bills pummel Patriots, 38-9, become first AFC East team to sweep New England since 2000

The Bills beat the Patriots twice this season. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Outplayed in just about every aspect of the game, the Patriots dropped their second-to-last game of the 2020 season on Monday, 38-9, to the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills, who clinched the AFC East title last week, improved to 12-3 and guaranteed the Patriots (6-9) would finish the season with a losing record. The Patriots face the 2-13 New York Jets to conclude the regular season on Sunday.

The last time the Patriots had a losing season was 2000, when they went 5-11.

The Bills swept the season series with the Patriots for the first time since 1999. Buffalo won, 24-21, in November.

On Monday night, the Bills scored on their first four possessions to take a big lead by halftime, then never looked back. Stefon Diggs caught three touchdown passes from Josh Allen, who finished with 27 completions on 36 attempts for 326 yards and four touchdowns.

Diggs had nine receptions for 145 yards.

Buffalo’s offensive line gave Allen all kinds of time to throw – he was hit only once – and he took advantage. Ten players caught a pass from Allen, who set a Buffalo record for touchdown passes in a season with 17.

The Patriots could not generate much in the passing game, and starter Cam Newton (5-for-10, 34 yards) was replaced by Jarrett Stidham (4-for-11, 44 yards) after one possession in the third quarter.

Below are updates and commentary posted throughout the game.

Injury report — 10:46 p.m.

Some injury updates from the Patriots:

The rout is on — 10:37 p.m.

Stefon Diggs scored his third touchdown and the Bills have a seemingly insurmountable lead, 38-9, with 13:16 left in the game. Diggs caught an 8-yard strike from Josh Allen to cap a 10-play, 85-yard drive that may have doomed the Patriots to a losing record this season.

Diggs has nine catches for 145 yards. Allen has passed for 326 yards.

Here’s the good news — 10:30 p.m.

About the only good thing in the third quarter was that it went by relatively fast. The Patriots are being outplayed in just about every aspect of the game, so the sooner this one ends, the better. It’s not competitive, it’s not entertaining, and it’s clear the Patriots need some major overhauls.

Patriots send Stidham in — 10:17 p.m.

The Patriots have turned to Jarrett Stidham at quarterback.

After an ineffective first half and a quick three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, the Patriots have turned to their backup quarterback to see what he can do. Stidham inherits a 22-point deficit. Cam Newton started the game and completed just 5 of 10 passes for 34 yards.

Cam still quarterbacking — 10:09 p.m.

Cam Newton remained in the game for the Patriots’ first possession of the second half. Despite a poor showing in the first half, the Patriots stuck with Newton instead of going to backup Jarrett Stidham.

The Patriots went three-and-out on their first drive of the second half.

Diggs scores again — 10:03 p.m.

Stefon Diggs caught an absolute laser of a pass from Josh Allen for his second touchdown of the game. The 18-yard touchdown pass play put Buffalo up, 31-9, with 11:28 left in the third quarter.

Patriots lose challenge — 9:57 p.m.

Not much is going right for the Patriots. On the first play of the second half, Patriots coach Bill Belichick lost a challenge and with it a timeout when he unsuccessfully challenged a Bills reception along the sideline.

Replay review confirmed the play – a 15-yard pass to Dawson Knox – was completed inbounds.

Halftime report — 9:39 p.m.

Buffalo leads, 24-9, at halftime after scoring on its first four possessions of the first half.

For the Bills, Josh Allen completed 15 of 21 passes in the first half for 173 yards and two touchdowns. He has also run twice for 33 yards. Nine players have caught passes for the Bills, and 11 have been targeted.

The Patriots’ passing game continued to struggle. Cam Newton completed 5 of 9 passes for 34 yards. The Patriots had their ground attack working, with four players combining for 130 yards, but how long they can stay with the run game given the deficit will be worth watching.

Diggs off to the races — 9:27 p.m.

Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen connected on a 50-yard touchdown pass play to give the Bills a 24-9 lead with 3:55 left before halftime. Diggs ran a slant route and Allen hit him 12 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Diggs took off for the end zone, outrunning a pair of Patriots en route to the score.

The Bills began on their own 33 but needed just three plays to score. Diggs also had a 17-yard reception on the drive.

Bills score again — 9:14 p.m.

A Josh Allen to Lee Smith pass for four yards gave the Bills a touchdown and an eight-point lead with 5:32 left in the second quarter. Smith, a blocking tight end, was wide-open on a first-and-goal play. The TD capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive that put Buffalo in front, 17-9.

Cam Newton finds the end zone — 9:00 p.m.

The Patriots pulled within one when Cam Newton scrambled his way out of a broken play, shrugging off a near-sack to take off with the ball, and found his way into the end zone.

However, Nick Folk missed the extra point, and the Patriots trailed by one, 10-9, with 10:39 left in the second quarter.

A pair of big runs by Sony Michel (21 yards) and J.J. Taylor (28 yards) fueled a nine-play, 85-yard drive.

Bills drive for first TD — 8:52 p.m.

The Bills had a pair of passes dropped in the end zone, had an apparent interception overturned by an offsides penalty, and needed a trick play to keep the drive alive, but they finally managed to get into the end zone.

A 5-yard run up the middle by Zack Moss put Buffalo up 10-3 with 14:50 left in the second quarter. The touchdown capped a 12-play drive that started at the Bills’ 30.

Trickery from the Bills – 8:40 p.m.

The Bills used a fake punt play to stay on the field after it appeared the Patriots had stopped their second drive.

On fourth-and-5, Jaquan Johnson received a direct snap and passed to his right to Siran Neal for 13 yards and a first down. Neal was left uncovered.

Bills tie it up — 8:29 p.m.

The Bills tied it up at 3-3 on Tyler’s Bass’s 22-yard field goal with 6:46 left in the first quarter. That capped a 10-play drive that began at the Bills’ 47. The Bills started with good field position thanks to a 49-yard kickoff return by Andre Roberts.

Patriots take 3-0 lead — 8:19 p.m.

Nick Folk drilled a 45-yard field goal to cap the Patriots’ opening possession. Sony Michel’s 29-yard run keyed a 6-play drive that began at New England’s 35.

Cam Newton is the Patriots’ starting QB – 8:16 p.m.

After a week’s worth of speculation as to who would play quarterback for the Patriots, Cam Newton started Monday’s game. He had good field position to begin the opening drive – Donte Moncrief took the opening kickoff to the 35..

Game on — 8:15 p.m.

The Bills won the coin toss and elected to defer. The Patriots will have the ball first Monday night.

Volin’s pregame thoughts – 6:52 p.m.

Inactives – 6:45 p.m.

Patriots: LB Ja’Whaun Bentley; DT Lawrence Guy; C Marcus Martin; QB Brian Hoyer; RB Damien Harris; LB Shilique Calhoun

Bills: QB Davis Webb; QB Jake Fromm; TE Reggie Gilliam; DE Trent Murphy.

Pregame scenes – 6:32 p.m.

From Jim McBride at Gillette Stadium:

Patriots pregame roster moves – 6:18 p.m.

From Jim McBride at Gillette Stadium: The Patriots have activated LB Cassh Maluia (standard elevation) and DL Nick Thurman (COVID-19 replacement to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. In addition, they signed center Marcus Martin to the 53. Starting C David Andrews (calf) was limited in practice all week.

From the Bills on Twitter: We’ve activated WR John Brown from IR but have placed Brown, S Josh Thomas and RB Christian Wade on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Per NFL protocols, those players have been defined to have been in close contact with RB T.J. Yeldon, who was placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 yesterday.

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