The Patriots attempted just three passes and ran the ball 46 times in blustery conditions in Buffalo as the Patriots picked up a 14-10 victory over the Bills on Monday night.
The three passes thrown by the Patriots are the second-fewest in the Super Bowl era behind only the two passes attempted by the 1974 Bills in a game against the New York Jets. The Bills had no completions in their 16-12 win over the Jets that day.
Damien Harris rushed for 111 yards with a touchdown on 10 carries, Rhamondre Stevenson had 78 yards on 24 carries and the Patriots rushed for a total of 222 yards on the night. It’s the most rushing yards for the Patriots since rushing for 250 yards last season against the Las Vegas Raiders.
While Mac Jones attempted just three passes, his counterpart, Josh Allen of the Bills, threw it 30 times for Buffalo with 19 completions for 145 yards and a touchdown.
The Bills had their final three possessions all break into the Patriots red zone and they tried to overcome the four-point deficit. However, the Bills ended up with only one made field goal, a missed field goal, and a turnover on downs to thwart their comeback efforts.
A 21-yard scramble from Allen and a horse-collar tackle of Zach Moss by Donta Hightower helped move the Bills to the Patriots 6-yard line with nine minutes left to play. But a sack of Allen by Matthew Judon moved the Bills into fringe field goal territory given they were heading into the wind for the fourth quarter.
Tyler Bass had his 33-yard attempt blown wide right to maintain the Patriots four point lead.
Buffalo took over with 5:47 left to play with Allen immediately hitting Diggs for a 26-yard gain and a beautiful back-shoulder throw up the left sideline.
The drive marched into sight of the end zone once again before stalling out again in the Patriots red zone. A false start on Dawson Knox helped put Buffalo in a third-and-14 position from the Patriots 18-yard line. Incomplete passes to Knox and Gabriel Davis turned the Bills away again.
A fumbled hand-off from Allen to Matt Breida led to a turnover as Lawrence Guy helped spark the Patriots first scoring drive of the game. Two plays after the turnover, Damien Harris broke through the line of scrimmage on third-and-five and raced 64 yards to the end zone. Brandon Bolden scored to convert the two-point attempt as the Patriots took an 8-0 lead.
A muffed punt catch from N’Keal Harry then set up the Bills’ first score of the night. It was Harry’s first career punt return, and the ball glanced off his facemask after he tried to get out of the way. Siran Neal recovered for the Bills at the New England 14. The Bills kicked the extra point after Davis scored to make it an 8-7 game.
Patriots kicker Nick Folk kicked a 41-yard field goal downwind on the next possession to extend the lead to 11-7, which carried into halftime.
Bass converted a 35-yard attempt downwind that cut the lead to 11-10 with 6:35 left in the third quarter. After changing ends, Folk added a 34-yard kick downwind in the fourth quarter to make it a 14-10 lead with 13:01 left to play.
Jonnu Smith had a 12-yard catch and Brandon Bolden a 7-yard catch as the only passing offense of the night for New England.