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HomeNFLJosh Allen and Stefon Diggs lead the AFC East after cruising past...

Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs lead the AFC East after cruising past New England.

Almost a year later, Buffalo delivered another thrashing, this time in Foxborough. Looking to take a temporary lead in the crowded AFC East, Josh Allen and company didn’t have a perfect night on Bill Belichick’s turf.

But they never needed to, cruising past New England 24-10 in their first meeting of the 2022 season thanks to a couple of flawless connections to star wide receiver Stefon Diggs and a stellar defensive performance for much of the night.

Mac Jones and the home team, fresh off a promising outing against the Vikings on Thanksgiving, threatened to take the Bills to the wire early on, taking an early lead on a trick touchdown to cornerback Marcus Jones.

That gadget score proved to be New England’s last reliable, explosive play until late in the fourth quarter, working against a Bills “D” missing injured pass rusher Von Miller. Meanwhile, Allen played with fire on occasion but never lost control of the game, relying on rookie running back James Cook, who emerged as a runner and receiver.

Stefon Diggs did his thing. As usual, Josh Allen was a big reason, and his efforts were never more valuable than on Buffalo’s second touchdown of the night, a highlight-reel scramble in which Allen found Gabe Davis in the end zone after waiting until the last second on the sideline.
But Diggs is so often the sparkplug for otherwise stalled drives, and his stats (seven catches, 92 yards, one touchdown) would’ve been even better if it hadn’t been for a ticky-tack holding call.

James Cook led the backfield with 20+ touches, and Isaiah McKenzie was an effective safety valve. Of course, the defense deserves just as much, if not more, credit.Despite only recording one sack late in the fourth quarter, that unit was dominant on third downs, suffocated the Pats’ signature ground game, and received big-time pressures and/or deflections from veterans like Tremaine Edmunds and Jordan Poyer.

A week after teasing an offensive revival against Minnesota, the offense has returned to Earth – and perhaps even into the Earth, as in a grave. Mac Jones got off to a good start, and his creative use of speedy corner Marcus Jones paid off with six points.

Rhamondre Stevenson also demonstrated toughness on every carry. But, once again, there was no real downfield rhythm to their attack; until the final minutes, four of their top five offensive pass catchers averaged less than nine yards per reception.

Belichick’s and/or Matt Patricia’s play-calling and clock management in key moments, such as just before halftime, didn’t help. Defensively, keeping Buffalo under 30 points may be considered a success, but special teams hurt them as well, with Nick Folk missing a 48-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter.


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