Utilizing their ball-control offense to eat up the time of possession, the New England Patriots took care of business Sunday with a 20-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. They're now tied with the New York Jets for first place in the AFC East at 6-3 while Buffalo lost its third straight game to fall to 5-4.
The Patriots sealed the win with a 19-play scoring drive that shaved more than nine minutes off the clock.
“It was good time management and real good execution when we needed it, especially in the second half,” head coach Bill Belichicktold the Boston Globe.
The only bad news from the win is the loss of linebacker Adalius Thomas, who reportedly broke his arm in the second quarter and may miss the rest of the season.
“It’ll be a big loss for us if he’s not out there,” defensive end Richard Seymourtold the Boston Herald.
With our without Thomas, the Patriots will now prepare for Thursday's showdown against the Jets. A win gives them sole possession of first place in the division.
“I think what’s helped us continue to win is what helps us continue to bounce back when we lose,” linebacker Tedy Bruschitold the Providence Journal.
The long scoring drive at the end of the game gave the defense a chance to rest, which is one of the many benefits of running a ball-control offense this late in the season.
“They took about 10 minutes off the game clock for us to get fresh and rest up, and that was key,” safety James Sanderstold the Attleboro Sun Chronicle.
The performance of BenJarvus Green-Elliscertainly helped. The rookie running back rushed for a career-high 105 yards and also scored on that game-clinching drive.
“We were just calling plays, and I was just out there having fun and enjoying myself,” Green-Ellis told the MetroWest Daily News.
While it may not look pretty, it works.
“We’re winning ballgames,” quarterback Matt Casseltold the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
Minus the glitz and glamour from last year, the Patriots are relying on their performance in the trenches to win games. The offensive line deserves credit for Sunday's victory, especially for its performance on the team's final scoring drive.
“They’re fun to watch. It’s fun to be behind them. We did our job,” fullback Heath Evanstold the New Bedford Standard-Times.
The defense took advantage, limiting the Bills to just 168 yards of total offense.
“We played the game the way we wanted to on defense,” cornerback Ellis Hobbstold the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.