The Buffalo Bills defense put the clamps on the New England Patriots offense in Thursday night’s 24-10 victory in Foxborough, holding the Pats to a measly 242 yards.
Safety Jordan Poyer said the Bills knew they’d be in an excellent position to win if they stopped the run and forced Mac Jones to throw.
“That’s why we play the game,” Poyer said, via the official transcript. “We want to get them in a situation where we feel good about it, and we want to be able to stop the run and get Mac in a one-dimensional game where he is trying to win the game with his arm. … We got it done.”
The Bills held Jones to 195 yards on 22-of-36 passing for 5.4 yards per attempt. The lone big play from the Pats came on a 48-yard touchdown to DB-turned-WR Marcus Jones on a short toss in the first quarter that Buffalo’s defense misplayed.
After that flub, the Bills dominated, forcing three-and-outs, holding New England to a piddling 3-of-12 on third downs and surrendering only a field goal in the final three quarters.
With Von Miller placed on injured reserve ahead of the game, the Bills needed players up front to step up.
“We had a good week of practice and we came out flying around,” linebacker Matt Milano said. “The defensive line held it down and was controlling the line of scrimmage. Greg [Rousseau] played well, A.J. [Epenesa] stepped up and made some big-time plays. It was a super performance. The defensive line went crazy tonight, and when they do, that it helps everyone out. The rush and coverage working together.”
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier trusted the Miller-less crew would get the job done. The Bills DC sent blitzers on just 8.1 percent of Jones’ dropbacks while playing zone 91.9 percent of the snaps, per Next Gen Stats. The combination of getting pressure with four (even if it netted just one sack) and coverage on the back end led to a dismal day for Jones, leading to sideline frustration at one point.
“He’s a good quarterback, he makes plays when he needs to,” Milano said of Jones. “We had the rush in his face all night tonight. It’s hard to make things happen when you have guys in your face. It was a combination of both stopping the run and getting him off his spot. Guys were just making plays on the ball. The combination of that and the rush and coverage were working together.”
Making the Patriots one-dimensional has become easier in recent weeks, particularly due to their blocking struggles. For the second time since the beginning of the 2021 season, the Patriots have had back-to-back games of 60 or fewer rush yards.
Until Jones proves he can consistently lead a potent passing game, expect more defenses to follow the Bills’ defensive script.
Image & Story Credit: nfl.com