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Week 16 Game Recap: Buffalo Bills 17, New England Patriots 24


What you need to know

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo fell just short of beating the Patriots on the road on Sunday night. Josh Allen threw two touchdown passes, one to Tackle Dion Dawkins and another on a deep ball to John Brown. Allen missed two other critical scoring opportunities by overthrowing Dawson Knox. Buffalo’s offense was held to low volume as their defense struggled to get New England’s offense off the field. Devin Singletary was held in check and Brown was held in check outside of his long touchdown. Cole Beasley was the leading receiver and drew 12 of Buffalo’s 26 pass attempts.

New England Patriots

Simple - can the Patriots continue the good offensive momentum?

Buffalo Bills

QB Josh Allen, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 26 - 208 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 43 - 0
Josh Allen threw two touchdowns against the Patriots but missed key opportunities in a road loss on Saturday. Allen’s first touchdown was a gadget play throwback to Tackle-eligible Dion Dawkins late in the first half. He then hooked up with John Brown on a double move for a 53-yard touchdown in the second half to take the lead. Allen was held to low volume because the Bills could not get the New England offense off the field but missed two critical opportunities to Dawson Knox in the end zone for a touchdown. Both targets were in the end zone and the last one would have given the Bills the opportunity to tie the game. Allen has played better this season, and made tough throws on the run and in windows, but continues to miss big opportunities in the air because of his inaccuracy. Allen will get the Jets in week 17 at home, but the Bills have nothing to play for with a 5 seed locked in, so his playing time is important to monitor this week.

RB Devin Singletary, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 46 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets)
Devin Singletary was held in check by a strong defensive effort from New England on the road on Sunday night. He ran tough, including multiple powerful interior runs, but was held to only 15 carries as the Buffalo offense could not get New England’s offense off the field. Singletary caught his only target but was held to only two receiving yards. Buffalo has nothing to play for in week 17 with a 5 seed locked up, so news about Singletary’s workload during the week is important to watch if you have a week 17 championship.

WR Cole Beasley, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 108 - 0 (12 targets)
Cole Beasley had a strong game against the Patriots as New England focused on John Brown. The defensive focus created a funnel in Beasley’s direction as he was targeted on 12 of Josh Allen’s 26 attempts. Beasley had a long catch and run for 28 yards on a slant on an RPO, and made multiple perimeter catches, including two big catches on the final drive of the game. With Buffalo locked into a 5 seed, Beasley’s status is important to monitor during the week as Buffalo has nothing to play for in week 17 and could look to preserve Beasley for the playoffs.

WR John Brown, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 53 - 1 (4 targets)
John Brown was a focal point of New England’s defense and was held to only one catch on four targets. Brown made the catch count, with a good double move for a 53-yard touchdown in the second half. He was later overthrown in double coverage and should have had a catch on a short target in tight coverage, but the ball went off his hands. Brown did have a short end around rush for three yards. With Buffalo locked into a 5 seed, Brown’s status for week 17 is important to monitor during the week.

TE Dawson Knox, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 33 - 0 (4 targets)
Dawson Knox had a highlight 33-yard catch that was held just short of the end zone after initially being ruled a touchdown. Knox had two other opportunities for touchdowns but was overthrown on both targets in the end zone. He also dropped a ball in the flat. Knox has shown flashes this season and could benefit from another year of development and improved accuracy from Josh Allen.


New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 33 - 271 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0
It took til Week 16 for the Pats to have a good offensive performance in all phases. Surprisingly, it was against the Bills, who let up their worst defensive day from an efficiency standpoint against the Pats. This was easily one of Tom Brady’s best games this year, as he was on target with smart decisions. Protection was so-so, but he managed to make it work. His lone touchdown was a play action pass to Matt LaCosee in 1 on 1 coverage with a nice catch by the tight end. Perhaps Brady’s best play was a slick pocket move to set up Julian Edelman’s two point conversion. The main downside of the day for the offense was not converting touchdowns, instead settling for field goals. It’s just one game, but it was a step in the right direction against a playoff team.

RB Sony Michel, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 96 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets)
Another solid day for Sony Michel, who once again ran hard and made a couple good moves that displayed good vision more than anything else. His long run was a 25 yarder with a nice move slithering between offensive linemen. Other than that, it seems like he’ll never be a big play guy, but he’s definitely more reliable than earlier in the year.

RB Rex Burkhead, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 20 - 1, Rec: 4 - 77 - 0 (4 targets)
Burkhead’s game went from bad to good in a hurry. He fumbled early in the game on a careless play, but ran with authority thereafter. This included a very nice effort on a third down run to get a first down, and his touchdown saw him bounce off a couple hard tackles in one of the better 1 yard touchdowns you’ll see of late.

RB James White, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 24 - 0 (5 targets)
James White wasn’t used much in this game, as his usage has been fairly sporadic depending on flow and effectiveness of other players. Here, with over 30 rushes and efficiency from Tom Brady, his number just wasn’t needed as often.

WR Julian Edelman, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 72 - 0 (6 targets)
Though he was more involved than last week, Edelman is still clearly playing hurt. He did commit a drop and left the game in the 3rd quarter for a while with an injury, but as usual, he played it tough. A potential bye in the playoffs will really help.

WR NKeal Harry, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 18 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets)
It doesn’t look like it in the box score, but Harry actually had a decent game. He had an 18 yard end around thanks to a crushing block by Tom Brady of all people, and narrowly missed an amazing third down catch due to DPI. If anyone has the potential to really get this offense going, it’s him, and he’s definitely better than most of the receivers on this team.

WR Mohamed Sanu, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (5 targets)
If Sanu isn’t one of the worst receivers in the NFL, he’s sure playing his way into the conversation. Mental errors, bad routes, lack of separation, and more are just some of the things we’re seeing from him on a weekly basis. Once again, as with the Chiefs game, he ran a critical third down route short of the sticks and couldn’t convert. He then completely missed his blocking assignment on the 4th down play which would have resulted in a first down. Another one of his lapses included a near fumble on a punt return. At this point, he needs to start seeing reduced snaps.