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Patriots gain 8th straight win beating the Bills 23-3

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The New England Patriots met the Buffalo Bills in a week 13 AFC East division showdown Sunday afternoon at New Era Field in Buffalo, New York.

The Patriots beat the Bills 23-3 behind running back Rex Burkhead’s two-touchdown performance. New England’s quarterback Tom Brady came into Sunday’s matchup with a 26-3 career record when facing the Bills.

New England kicked off to Buffalo to start the game. Bills quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, was sacked on their first offensive snap and appeared to injure his leg on the play. Taylor managed to stay in the game until he was carted to the locker room late in the second half and did not return.

On their first possession, the Bills drove into New England territory and found themselves in the red zone. The Patriots faced a first and goal from the 6-yard-line when Taylor’s pass was intercepted by his former teammate, defensive end Eric Lee, ending the Bills promising opening drive. New England took advantage of the interception as kicker Stephen Gostkowski made a 50-yard field goal giving the Patriots a 3-0 lead with 1:30 left in the opening quarter.

The CBS camera crew caught what looked to be a heated moment between Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Brady missed wide receiver Brandin Cooks on a third-down-and-11 that would have kept the drive going, which is what could have possibly sparked the disagreement. The first quarter came to an end with the Patriots leading the Bills 3-0.

Brady downplayed his altercation with McDaniels in his postgame press conference and said, “Just football. We’ve been around each other a lot so I love [McDaniels].”

The second quarter began with each team trading punts back and forth. About halfway through the quarter, the Patriots put another drive together in which they put three points on the board. Gostkowski made a 31-yard attempt giving the Patriots a 6-0 lead over the Bills with 6:26 remaining in the half.

The Bills wasted little time getting those three points back as they took the next drive down the field and sent out Massachusetts-born kicker Steven Hauschka, who made a 49-yard field goal making the score 6-3 in favor of the Patriots with 3:05 remaining in the half.

The Patriots answered the Bills field goal with another field goal of their own. Gostkowski kicked a 39-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining in the half. The score at halftime was 9-3 Patriots, in a half that was filled with field goals.

The Patriots received the second-half kickoff, drove down the field and Burkhead had a 1-yard run for a touchdown. After Gostkowski nailed the extra point, the Patriots held a 16-3 lead with 9:02 to go in the third quarter.

The Bills were forced to punt on their next possession, giving the ball back to New England. The Patriots did not miss a beat on their second possession of the half as they drove down the field ending their drive with a 14-yard Burkhead touchdown run, his second of the day. Gostkowski made the extra point, increasing the score to 23-3 in favor of the Patriots at the end of the 3rd quarter.

Both teams traded punts to start the final quarter. As time increased in the game, the Bills got more desperate. Buffalo found themselves down 20 facing a fourth-and-1 with their backup quarterback Nathan Peterman in the game. Buffalo was forced to go for it and they could not convert, turning the ball over on downs.

On the next Patriots drive, Brady looked to his favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had a huge game catching nine balls for 147 yards. This did not work out as planned as the pass was intercepted by rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White. Gronkowski thought there was contact on the play and took his frustrations out on White as he slammed on top of him after the play had ended. Gronkowski received a penalty for unnecessary roughness.

Gronkowski was asked about the unnecessary roughness penalty in a postgame interview and said, “First of all, I definitely want to apologize to No. 27. I’m not in the business of that, I mean, it was a lot of frustration and I was really frustrated at that moment.”

Despite the clear resentment of his actions postgame, Gronkowski was still suspended one game for the shot taken at the Bills cornerback that left White concussed.

Later in the quarter, the Bills once again found themselves facing a fourth down. They could not convert with 3:41 remaining, basically squashing any chance they may have had at a comeback. After a third-and-final failed fourth down conversion, Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer took a knee ending the game with a final score of 23-3, Patriots win.

The Patriots defense was as strong as ever, letting up their lowest point total of the season. During the first four games of the season they let up an average of 32 points per game. Since then, in their last eight games, they have let up an average of 11.9 points per game.

Burkhead was asked what Sunday’s game meant to him in a postgame interview and he said, “It was a big win for the team. We knew coming in here it was going to be a challenge.”

The Patriots, who moved to 10-2, stay on the road and put their 8-game win streak on the line in Miami on Monday Night Football against the 5-7 division rival Dolphins. The Bills, now 6-6, stay home to host the 3-9 Indianapolis Colts next Sunday at 1 p.m.

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Patriots gain 8th straight win beating the Bills 23-3