ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills didn’t just beat the New England Patriots. They made a statement to the entire NFL.
The Bills dominated the teams’ third meeting in 41 days, winning 47-17 to move on to the divisional round of the playoffs. Buffalo scored a touchdown on all seven of its possessions, becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to score a TD on each of its first seven drives of a playoff game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
With the victory, the Bills have beaten the Patriots twice by double digits in a single season (33-21 in Week 16), becoming the first team to do so since Bill Belichick became head coach.
Dating back to that matchup in Week 16, the Bills’ last 13 drives against the Patriots yielded 11 scores (10 touchdowns and a field goal). During that stretch, the only thing that stopped the Buffalo offense was the clock.
Not only did the offense put up an impressive performance, but the Bills continued to show improvements in areas that have caused issues throughout the season. The running game was effective, and the offensive line that has had a roller-coaster campaign set the tempo.
But the most impressive part of the game for the Bills was the performance of quarterback Josh Allen. Coming into Saturday’s tilt, one of the big questions was whether Allen could step up in freezing temperatures. He did far more than that with temperatures below 10 degrees throughout the game, putting together one of the best performances of his career.
Allen continued his stellar performance against the Patriots from a few weeks prior, completing 21 of 25 passes (84%) for 308 yards and five touchdowns, in addition to six carries for 66 yards. It is the highest completion rate in a playoff game with 25 or more attempts since Aaron Rodgers‘ 86.1% in the 2010 divisional playoffs.
Allen became the third player in the Super Bowl era with at least 150 pass yards and 50 rush yards in a single half of a playoff game, per Elias, and he joined Drew Brees (2009) and Russell Wilson (2020) as the only quarterbacks to throw for five touchdowns against a Belichick-coached team.
Allen’s performance included two touchdown passes to tight end Dawson Knox and one to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, whose score was his first TD in the postseason, coming in his 14th career playoff game with his fifth different team.
Allen’s fifth touchdown was a 1-yard throw to reserve offensive lineman Tommy Doyle. All five of the signal-caller’s touchdown throws came in play-action, the most by any player in a regular-season or playoff game since 2006, when ESPN began tracking play-action. Allen has gone four straight games without being sacked.
Buffalo running back Devin Singletary ran for two touchdowns behind an offensive line that dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the contest.
The Bills’ defense limited rookie quarterback Mac Jones throughout the game, including forcing two interceptions.
The Bills will now head to the divisional round of the playoffs for a second straight season with a perfect record in home playoff games under McDermott.
With a Chiefs win on Sunday night, the Bills would travel to Kansas City, the site of Buffalo’s 2021 AFC Championship Game loss.
Buffalo is 0-3 in road playoff games since McDermott became head coach.
With a Pittsburgh Steelers win at Kansas City, however, the Bills would host the Cincinnati Bengals next week.