Final, Bills 16-0: And that will do it. The Bills hand the Patriots their first shutout loss since 2006 and their first in Foxboro since 1993.
Tight end Martellus Bennett was one bright spot for New England, catching five passes for 109 yards to lead all receivers. Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett completed 17 of 27 passes for 205 yards.
Brissett almost certainly will head back to the bench next Sunday, as Tom Brady officially will be eligible to return from his four-game Deflategate suspension.
Fourth quarter, 2:48, Bills 16-0: One of the most promising Patriots drives of the day stalls at the Buffalo 21.
The Pats lost running back Brandon Bolden to an apparent left knee injury during the series and also saw LeGarrette Blount and Martellus Bennett go down with injuries of their own, though Blount and Bennett both returned within a matter of plays. — Z.C.
Fourth quarter, 7:02, Bills 16-0: The Bills drive the ball 46 yards and drain 5:17 off the clock, but they’re forced to punt. Danny Amendola fumbles the return but quickly dives on the ball, giving the Patriots a first down at their own 24.
This basically is a must-score drive for New England. — Z.C.
Fourth quarter, 13:10, Bills 16-0: Rob Gronkowski’s first reception of the season (and first target of the day) gives the Patriots a first down on third-and-7, but their drive quickly stalls. Two incompletions and a Zach Brown sack force Ryan Allen to punt it away once again. — Z.C.
Third quarter, 0:28, Bills 16-0: The Bills increase their lead on a 44-yard field goal. The Patriots’ defense is bending but not breaking. Their offense isn’t doing much of anything.
Third quarter, 4:55, Bills 13-0: Brissett had wide receiver Danny Amendola wide open on third-and-19 and sailed his pass. The Patriots were forced to punt, and the Bills have the ball on their own 30-yard line. Time is running out for a Patriots comeback. They need a turnover.
Third quarter, 7:15, Bills 13-0: The Bills missed a field-goal attempt, and now the Patriots have the ball at their own 37-yard line. The Patriots might want to score soon.
Third quarter, 10:27, Bills 13-0: The Patriots marched 46 yards down the field, but Stephen Gostkowski missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt. The Bills have the ball on their own 30-yard line.
Patriots rookie QB Jacoby Brissett had his head bounce off the turf after a late slide, but he didn’t come out of the game.
Third quarter, 14:07, Bills 13-0: The Patriots forced a punt after a three-and-out from Buffalo. They gave up just 2 yards on a pass to LeSean McCoy. The Patriots now have the ball on their own 24-yard line.
End of the first half, Bills 13-0: This is about as bad as anyone could have expected the Patriots to look today. The defense has been a sieve, letting up 251 yards, and their offense has just 97 yards.
They’re lucky to trail just 13-0 at the half.
Second quarter, 4:00, Bills 13-0: The Patriots forced a punt but not before letting four minutes drain off the clock. The Patriots can’t kneel on it here, because they aren’t getting the ball to start the second half.
Second quarter, 5:00, Bills 13-0: The Patriots were in the red zone when center David Andrews pushed them back 10 yards with a holding penalty. Jacoby Brissett lost a fumble on the next play, and the Bills have the ball on their own 9-yard line.
The Patriots got down the field on a 58-yard pass from Brissett to tight end Martellus Bennett.
Second quarter, 7:46, Bills 13-0: The Bills increased their lead again on a 43-yard field goal. The Bills were going down the field with ease before the Patriots forced two consecutive incompletions to halt their progress.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower had a key quarterback hit on third down, forcing an errant throw from Tyrod Taylor.
Second quarter, 12:26, Bills 10-0: The Patriots were forced to punt again after a three-play drive in which they lost 1 yard.
Second quarter, 14:49, Bills 10-0: The Bills took a two-score lead on a field goal but made a strange decision late in the drive.
They faced third-and-21 and picked up 13 yards on a short pass to running back Mike Gillislee. Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers was flagged for a neutral-zone infraction, but the Bills declined the penalty and kicked a 34-yard field goal.
They could have accepted and faced third-and-16 with the possibility of picking up a first down. At worst, it would have been a 42-yard field goal.
First quarter, 3:47, Bills 7-0: The Bills forced a three-and-out on the Patriots’ second drive.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman saw his first career snap at quarterback, running the read option for a 1-yard gain on second down. It’s possible we’ll see more of that this afternoon with Brissett as the Patriots’ only quarterback.
First quarter, 5:31, Bills 7-0: The Bills are out to an early lead after an 11-play, 68-yard drive that resulted in a 7-yard touchdown pass to running back LeSean McCoy from QB Tyrod Taylor.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who is coming off a two-game injury absence, gave up three receptions on the series, including the touchdown.
First quarter, 12:40: The Patriots began the game with a 90-yard catch-and-run by Julian Edelman … but the play was called back when wide receiver Chris Hogan was called for holding and pass interference. They were pushed back to the 5-yard line after beginning the drive at the 9 because of a poor decision by kick returner Cyrus Jones to bring the ball out of the end zone.
The Patriots ran the ball three times for 13 yards before punting.
First quarter, 15:00: The Bills won the coin toss and chose to defer, so the Patriots will receive the kickoff. Let’s go.
12:54 p.m.: Here’s more footage of the fight.
12:10 p.m.: Patriots rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell got into a pregame scrap with Bills safety Robert Blanton. Other Bills defensive backs rushed over to get into it. Bills and Patriots coaches broke it up.
The fight began when Blanton shoved Brissett as the QB and Mitchell ran down the sideline. Mitchell then got in Blanton’s face.
Here’s footage of the fight.
11:32 a.m.: Here are the Patriots’ inactives:
Guard Jonathan Cooper
CB Eric Rowe
RB D.J. Foster
TE Greg Scruggs
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
LB Elandon Roberts
OT LaAdrian Waddle
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower is active for the first time since Week 1. TE/college QB AJ Derby also is active.
11:23 a.m.: Here’s a look at Brissett during pregame warmups. You’ll see he has his injured right thumb taped. — Zack Cox
10:32 a.m.: A league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Jacoby Brissett will start at quarterback for the Patriots.
Garoppolo will be inactive, according to Schefter.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman will be the Patriots’ backup quarterback for the second consecutive game.
10:14 a.m.: NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports it’s an “uphill battle” for Jimmy Garoppolo to start. Neither Garoppolo nor Jacoby Brissett has taken the game field yet at Gillette Stadium.
8 a.m. ET: The New England Patriots — either by design or necessity — aren’t giving the Buffalo Bills time to prepare for a starting quarterback.
The Patriots reportedly won’t know whether Jimmy Garoppolo or rookie Jacoby Brissett is starting at quarterback until pregame warmups. The Bills had to prepare for both quarterbacks, plus emergency option Julian Edelman, this week.
Our guess: Garoppolo will start. But we’ll find out like everyone else when the Patriots’ offense finally takes the field in the 1 p.m. game.
Our projections for inactives: TE/DE Greg Scruggs, CB Eric Rowe, LB Elandon Roberts, OT LaAdrian Waddle, Guard Jonathan Cooper, RB D.J. Foster, TE AJ Derby.
If Cooper finally is ready to go, rookie guard Ted Karras would take his place.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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