The Buffalo Bills moved into first place in the AFC East after beating the New England Patriots 33-21 on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
On Monday, an AFC executive provided his thoughts on the Pats' performance.
"New England could not go toe-to-toe with Buffalo," the executive said, per The Athletic's Mike Sando. "They needed an element to boost them—special teams, or the weather, or something like that—and they did not have it. It’s tough to beat Buffalo when their formula for four downs is hitting."
New England's defense in particular had no answer for Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who completed 30 of 47 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns despite missing wide receivers Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley after they were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Allen also added 64 rushing yards.
New England excelled running the ball, with Damien Harris rushing for 103 yards and three touchdowns, but rookie quarterback Mac Jones completed just 14 of 32 passes for 145 yards and two interceptions.
Buffalo also outgained New England 428-288 and possessed the ball for over 35 minutes. The Bills also led for the game's final 39 minutes.
The Pats may have been a step or two behind the Bills on Sunday, but they did go toe-to-toe with Buffalo earlier this year, taking down their AFC East rivals 14-10 on a cold and windy December night in Orchard Park, New York.
New England called for 46 rushing attempts versus three passes as the Pats ran for 222 yards. Allen struggled throwing in the windy conditions, going 15-of-30 for 145 yards and one touchdown.
However, the Bills are now in the driver's seat for the division crown. While both teams have 9-6 records, Buffalo has the tiebreaker edge thanks to a better division record. The Bills are also playing good football after an uneven first 13 games that saw them start 7-6.
Meanwhile, the Pats are going in the wrong direction, losing 27-17 to the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 18 before falling to Buffalo. They are still in great position to earn a playoff berth, but New England's chances to win the division are now out of its hands barring a Buffalo loss.
The Bills will close the season by hosting the Atlanta Falcons (7-8) and New York Jets (4-11) at Highmark Stadium. The Pats will host the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) before visiting the Miami Dolphins (7-7), who play at the New Orleans Saints (7-7) on Monday.