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Ups And Downs: Patriots Run All Over Bills, Defense Makes The Big Plays In Monday Night Win

BOSTON (CBS) -- Monday night's Patriots-Bills game was not a pretty one. It was downright ugly at times thanks to a blustery wind that made throws either fly well away from their target -- or not be attempted at all.

Monday night was certainly one of the most unique football games anyone will ever see, as Mac Jones and the Patriots attempted just three passes. But the lack of throws didn't mean much, as the Patriots gutted out a 14-10 win over their division rival. We knew the Patriots were a running team, and we knew that they'd be pounding the ball a lot heading into the game. But come on! Three pass attempts is a bit ridiculous.

Ridiculous or not, it worked. The offensive line was incredible and New England's running backs found the holes that they provided. The Bills knew the Patriots were running the ball, and they still couldn't stop it.

The Patriots have now won seven straight and remain the top seed in the AFC heading into their bye week. The Bills, meanwhile, just lost a game on their home field where their opponent attempted just three passes. That has to be demoralizing for the now 7-5 Bills.

And now Buffalo has to play Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. Good luck with all of that. Here are the Ups and Downs from an absolutely wild Monday night affair in Buffalo.


Ground And Pound

The Patriots ran the ball on 94 percent of their plays. The Bills knew the run was coming, and they still couldn't do much to stop it.

New England ran for 222 yards on 46 carries, with Damien Harris accounting for 100 of those yards on his 11 carries and Rhamondre Stevenson picking up 78 on 24 carries. Brandon Bolden had 28 yards off his four carries.

Harris scored the only touchdown of the game for the Patriots, a beautiful 64-yard scoring run in the first quarter. He had to leave in the second half (more on that in Downs), but then Stevenson came in and was an absolute animal.

The Pats went on a drive that ate 8:34 off the clock in the second half, including 6:35 in the third quarter when they had the wind going against them.

Offensive Line

A team doesn't run that well that often without a great game from the offensive line. The Patriots got just that from their offensive front.

David Andrews, Ted Karras, Isaiah Wynn, Shaq Mason and Trent Brown were phenomenal. Michael Onwenu was an extra lineman on the majority of their plays to provide some more push. Fullback Jakob Johnson threw some serious blocks.

Add it all up and the Patriots absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage against the Bills. The line playing at such an elite level bodes well as we head into the cold part of the season.

The offensive line put in a lot of work, and certainly earned their bye week on Monday night.

Defense Holds Late

The Bills had a chance to steal a win in the end, but the Patriots defense made a huge stop in the red zone. Adrian Phillips knocked away a potential touchdown pass by Josh Allen to Dawson Knox in the end zone on third-and-14, and then Myles Bryant sealed it by knocking down Allen's fourth-down attempt. Devin McCourty blitzed Allen on that final play for Buffalo, forcing the QB to force his throw.

If the defense doesn't make those plays, we could be having a much different conversation right now. But the defense made the plays, as they have been the majority of the season.

The wind certainly helped their cause, but the New England D held the Bills to just 145 passing yards. Buffalo had just 230 total yards for the game.

The defense has allowed 36 points -- total -- over the last five games. Lordy.

Nick Folk

Monday night was not an easy one for kickers, but Folk was nails as always. He connected on both of his kicks despite the wind, hitting from 41 and 34 yards. The veteran is now up to 52 straight makes when kicking inside of 50 yards. Pretty darn good.

Toughness On Full Display

This one is pretty general, but we saw the Patriots handle tons of adversity throughout Monday night's game and still come out on top. They didn't have starting safety Kyle Dugger but got big plays from Bryant and Phillips. When Harris was hurt, Stevenson took over and the onslaught on the ground continued.

Monday night's win was as gutsy as they come, and this Patriots team continues to come together and thrive at the best possible time. They now control their own fate with four games remaining in the regular season.


Harris Hurt

Harris left late in the first half with a hamstring injury and was questionable to return at that point. He did return, and then limped his way to a 22-yard gain on his final rush of the evening.

Good thing the Patriots have hit their bye week. Phillips was also banged up after he broke up Allen's third-down pass late in the game.

N'Keal Trying To Field A Punt

N'Keal Harry has never returned a punt for the Patriots, and that remains true after Monday even though he was back to field one. That's because he didn't field it, and it was a disaster for the Patriots.

With Gunner Olszewski lining up further up the field because of the wind, Harry was New England's long man on a first quarter punt by the Bills. First, he lost his footing while tracking down Matt Haack's kick. Then he let it glance off his facemask and didn't recover the ball, allowing Buffalo to pounce on it and take over at the New England 14.

A few plays later Allen fired a laser to Gabriel Davis for a touchdown to make it an 8-7 lead. Chances are we won't be seeing Harry out there to return kicks again anytime soon.

Bryant Penalty

This is not a knock on Myles Bryant, but a knock on the officials. Their "personal foul" on Bryant in the third quarter was a brutally awful call.

With the Bills facing a third-and-7 at the New England 41 midway through the third quarter, Allen used his legs to try to move the chains. He danced along the sideline and extended for the line of gain while still in bounds, which is when Bryant shoved him out of bounds.

For that, the defensive back was hit with a 15-yard penalty. It was basically a penalty for playing defense.

It was a big call too, because instead of a fourth-and-1, the Bills got a fresh set of downs at the New England 17. Buffalo settled for a field goal four plays later to make it an 11-10 game.

Given the Harry fumble and the Bryant penalty, the Bills were pretty much giftwrapped their 10 points on Monday night.

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