The Patriots will be the second seed in the AFC playoffs this year and they can thank running back LeGarrette Blount for making sure they got that first round bye.
Blount ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots beat the Bills 34-20 to assure that they remained in front of the Bengals and Colts in the AFC pecking order. Blount’s exploits didn’t end with offense, however. He also followed both of the Bills’ second half touchdowns with long kickoff returns that put the Patriots in position for points.
He took one kick 83 yards and the Patriots cashed it in with a Shane Vereen touchdown. Buffalo answered with a touchdown to cut the lead to 24-17, but Blount went 62 yards to set up a Patriots field goal that extended the lead to 10 points. Finally, Blount went 35 yards for a touchdown with 2:31 to play to make the final academic.
Tom Brady was 14-of-24 for 122 yards with a touchdown and an interception that came when Vereen bobbled a ball right into Bills linebacker Manny Lawson’s hands. With Stevan Ridley adding 74 yards to Blount’s output, there wasn’t much call for the Patriots to test things through the air in a driving rain.
The Patriots have some injury issues to sort out during the bye week. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson left with a foot injury and linebacker Brandon Spikes has a knee injury that forced him out of the game in the fourth quarter, but they’ll have extra time to heal up thanks to Sunday’s win.