The Patriots didn’t play their prettiest game of the year on Sunday afternoon in Buffalo, but the final score still looked pretty good.
New England got a pair of rushing touchdowns from Rex Burkhead in the second half after failing to reach the end zone in the first 30 minutes of play and their defense kept the Bills from scoring any touchdowns of their own in a 23-3 win. That pushes the Patriots to 10-2 on the season and keeps them fixed on landing the top seed in the AFC.
Burkhead ran 12 times for 78 yards and Dion Lewis added 92 yards on 15 carries as the Patriots ground the Bills down over the course of the afternoon. Tom Brady was 21-of-30 for 258 yards and threw his fourth interception of the season late in the proceedings.
That play ended with a late hit by tight end Rob Gronkowski on cornerback Tre'Davious White, who made the interception. White was down on the sideline after the play was over and left the game to be evaluated for a head injury after Gronkowski took a flying leap onto him.
It was a play that probably should have led to an ejection. It will likely lead to further discipline from the league and marred an otherwise fine day for Gronkowski, who finished with nine catches and 147 receiving yards against a Bills defense that didn’t have an answer for him.
The Bills offense didn’t have many answers either and Tyrod Taylor left on a cart with a knee injury. That could lead to rookie Nathan Peterman‘s second start of the year and, depending on the severity of the injury, could be Taylor’s final action with the Bills.
Taylor and the offense had played poorly enough that the Bills may have gone to Peterman under any circumstances. The rookie did lead one nice drive, but the memory of his previous start makes it hard to feel good about Buffalo’s chances of landing a Wild Card despite the relatively shoddy state of the race for the sixth playoff spot in the AFC.