Patriots vs. Bills score, takeaways: Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs cruise past New England to take AFC East lead

With their respective seasons on the line in January, the Bills beat up on their rival Patriots, sending New England home for the winter. Almost a calendar year later, Buffalo delivered another beatdown, this time in Foxborough. Looking to take a temporary lead in the crowded AFC East, Josh Allen and Co. didn't have a perfect night on Bill Belichick's turf. But they never needed to, using a couple of pristine connections to star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, plus a stellar defensive showing for much of Thursday night, to cruise past New England 24-10 in their first meeting of the 2022 campaign.

Rested up after a promising outing against the Vikings on Thanksgiving, Mac Jones and the home team initially threatened to take the Bills to the wire, claiming an early lead on a trick touchdown to cornerback Marcus Jones. That gadget score proved to be the last reliable, explosive play for New England's offense until late in the fourth, working against a Bills "D" missing injured pass rusher Von Miller. Allen, meanwhile, played with fire on occasion but never lost control of the contest, also leaning on rookie running back James Cook, who emerged as both a runner and receiver.

Here are additional takeaways from Thursday night's Week 13 kickoff:

Why the Bills won

Stefon Diggs worked his magic. Josh Allen was obviously a big reason, too, as per usual, and his efforts were never more invaluable than on Buffalo's second touchdown of the night -- a highlight-reel scramble in which Allen found Gabe Davis in the end zone after waiting until the last minute on the sideline. But Diggs is so often the catalyst on otherwise stalled drives, and his numbers (seven catches, 92 yards, one TD) would've been even better if not for a ticky-tack holding call. James Cook also did well with 20+ touches, leading the backfield, and Isaiah McKenzie was an effective safety valve. The defense, of course, deserves just as much, if not more, credit. Despite logging just a single sack deep into the fourth, that unit was dominant on third downs, bottled up the Pats' signature ground game and got big-time pressures and/or deflections from veterans like Tremaine Edmunds and Jordan Poyer.

Why the Patriots lost

A week after teasing an offensive revival against Minnesota, the offense fell back to Earth -- and perhaps even into the Earth, like in a grave. Mac Jones started out well enough, and the creative use of speedy corner Marcus Jones paid off with six. Rhamondre Stevenson also showed toughness on every carry. But once again, there was no real downfield rhythm with their attack; until the waning minutes, four of their top five offensive pass catchers averaged fewer than nine yards per reception. The play-calling and clock management from Belichick and/or Matt Patricia in certain spots, such as just before halftime, didn't help. Defensively, keeping Buffalo under 30 might be considered a success, but special teams affected them, too, with Nick Folk failing to kick a 48-yard field goal past the crossbar in the second quarter.

Turning point

Second down. Early second quarter. The Patriots had just scored a TD on their previous drive to go up 7-3 and now trailed 10-7 following the Bills' answer. And then, backed up to their own 8-yard line, they stumbled over themselves. Mac Jones nearly got hit in the end zone for a safety, barely getting rid of the ball beforehand, and Cole Strange was flagged for holding, to make matters worse. The near-turnover, which also saw Jones penalized for roughing the passer, essentially killed the drive but also all of the Pats' momentum up to that point. Buffalo easily punched the ball in on its ensuing drive with such good field position, quickly taking a 10-point advantage that would keep them in front.

The Pats also shot themselves in the foot at the end of the first half, cementing their hole. Despite Josh Uche putting on a pass-rushing clinic to strip-sack Allen, the offense played it overly safe while using timeouts curiously before Nick Folk's 48-yard kick off the crossbar failed to net them any points off the turnover.

Play of the game

Few QBs can pull off what Allen did on the Bills' second TD drive, rolling all the way to the sideline, shaking off a defender and then, just before stepping out of bounds, delivering an on-target ball past two Patriots to Gabe Davis. Every angle of the throw proved how acrobatic it was, recalling some of Patrick Mahomes' best work in Kansas City, as well as his own stunt pass in the Bills' playoff win over New England last season.

What's next

The Bills (9-3) will return home in Week 14 for the second of three straight divisional matchups, this time against the Jets (7-4), who play the Vikings this weekend. The Patriots (6-6), meanwhile, will hit the road for another prime-time affair, this time against the Cardinals (4-8) on "Monday Night Football."

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Damar Hamlin has been ejected following a hit on the defenseless Jakobi Meyers in the end zone. We last saw a prime-time disqualification two weeks ago, when 49ers LB Dre Greenlaw was kicked out after hitting Chargers QB Justin Herbert. 


Josh Allen is the first player in NFL history with 3 seasons having 25+ TD passes and 5+ TD runs. Has accomplished the feat in 3 consecutive seasons.  

December 2, 2022, 3:54 AM

The Patriots offense is so abysmal Bill Belichick punted on a 4th and 7 from his own 46 -- down 17 in the 4th quarter. White flag?

December 2, 2022, 3:40 AM

The Bills had the longest TD drive in terms of time (8:55) by a visiting team at the Patriots since the 2009 Dolphins.

Just picking apart a very good defense. 

December 2, 2022, 3:37 AM

That 15 play, 94 yard drive just chewed up the Patriots defense. The Bills can be explosive, but this one was as crisp as you can get. Josh Allen was 6-of-6 for 67 yards on that drive. Best I've seen him in a few weeks. 

December 2, 2022, 3:34 AM

Pretty big drive for the Bills. 15 plays, 94 yards and their third touchdown of the game. Devin Singletary punches it in from one yard out. Three converted third downs on that possession. Buffalo is now 8-12 on third downs this evening. New England is 1-7.


Josh Allen has a 106.0 rating against a defense that allows just 1.52 points per possession (4th in NFL). The Bills are averaging 2.83 points per possession.

December 2, 2022, 3:29 AM

Fun Stefon Diggs stat on tonight. Diggs is the first player to score a touchdown in three straight road games against the Patriots since Marvin Harrison from 2000 to 2006. This is when Peyton Manning was at the height of his powers. 

December 2, 2022, 3:24 AM

There have been a couple money throws by Josh Allen tonight. That 19-yard throw will be remembered by the catch from Stefon Diggs, but that's incredible accuracy on third down by Allen. 

December 2, 2022, 3:17 AM

Not sure I agree with the overturned call on Jordan Poyer's pick. I mean, yes, the ball was moving after he went out of bounds, but not totally sure he lost possession of it; did it ever actually hit the ground there? Or just move in his hands? Either way, Patriots have an uphill battle moving forward, forced to punt it away anyway.


It looked like Jordan Poyer made an incredible interception along the sideline, but he lost possession as he went down with the ball. Pretty close. He got both feet in. Call on the field was reversed. 


Rhamondre Stevenson is putting the Patriots on his back right now. He just refuses to go down. 24 yards on his last three carries. 


Isaiah McKenzie picked up 30 yards on back-to-back plays, but the drive stalls out near midfield. Bills punt on their first possession of the second half. Stefon Diggs was open on third-and-11, but dropped the ball. 



First downs : BUF 13 NE 5
Total yards: BUF 195 NE 133
Third downs: BUF 5-8 NE 1-6
TOP: BUF 19:33 NE 10:27

Bills went 2-2 in the red zone in the first half. Patriots didn't get there.

Josh Allen 11/21 118 yds 2 TDs
Mac Jones 9/15 98 yds 1 TD

James Cook: 8 carries for 50 yds
Rhamondre Stevenson: 6 carries for 34 yds

Stefon Diggs: 3 catches for 35 yds 1 TD


Nick Folk's 48-yard field goal attempt bounces off the front upright! New England can't cut into the 10-point lead before halftime. 17-7 Bills. 


Uche forces a fumble on Josh Allen and Matthew Judon recovers it. Huge swing in this game, as Mac Jones and the offense take over at their own 42-yard line. 45 seconds remaining before halftime. 


Josh Allen hits Stefon Diggs for a 41-yard touchdown ... but the tight end Sweeney was holding. 


With the Patriots down 10 points, Mac Jones and Co. go three-and-out. Patriots couldn't pick up a single yard on first or second down, and Jones' pass to Hunter Henry is incomplete on third down. 0 yards gained and Josh Allen gets the ball back. 


WOW. Bills put together another long drive -- 14 plays, 56 yards. Look at those numbers again. Buffalo averaged just 4 yards per play. Possession results in another touchdown, this one going to Gabe Davis. A bit worrisome New England's defense allowed four third-down conversions there. 

17-7 5:27 remaining in the second quarter. 


Over a quarter and a half down, and the Patriots have just three first downs. Averaging 9.2 yards per play almost exclusively because of those big catch/runs by Marcus Jones and Rhamondre Stevenson. Otherwise, not a whole lot. Five penalties will obviously not help the cause.


Rhamondre Stevenson saves the Patriots in a way, rushing for 16 yards on third-and-18 from the Patriots' one-yard line. More room for Palardy to punt. 


This Bills defensive front is dominating right now. Cole Strange gets caught for holding, Mac Jones intentionally grounds the ball. 


Mac Jones is 5 of 5 for 82 yards to start the game tonight. Rhamondre Stevenson is having a hard time getting going. Bills run defense is still optimal even without Von Miler, who is mostly for 3rd down anyway. 

December 2, 2022, 1:53 AM

Bills wasted no time answering the first touchdown of the game. Josh Allen marches the offense 82 yards down the field on 9 plays, and hooks up with Stefon Diggs on an eight-yard score in the left corner of the end zone on the first play of the second quarter. 10-7 game. 

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