Final, Patriots 25-6: It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but the New England Patriots took care of business Monday night at New Era Field, defeating the Buffalo Bills 25-6 to improve to 6-2 on the season.
Both Patriots touchdowns came in the fourth quarter, with James White running one in from 1 yard out and Devin McCourty returning an interception 84 yards to paydirt to ice the game.
Next up for the Patriots is a matchup with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers next Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
Fourth quarter, 2:45, Patriots 25-6: Stephon Gilmore’s 11th pass breakup of the season resulted in a turnover on downs for Buffalo. The Patriots followed with a three-and-out.
Fourth quarter, 5:54, Patriots 25-6: After officials (correctly) overturned what would have been a sensational one-handed catch by Bills tight end Jason Croom, Devin McCourty darted in front of a third-down pass by Derek Anderson, intercepted it and took it 84 yards to the house.
The Patriots have recorded at least one interception in all eight games this season.
Moments after McCourty crossed the goal line, the legions of Bills fans in attendance began high-tailing it toward the exits. This one is over, boys and girls.
Fourth quarter, 9:58, Patriots 18-6: Ah, look! A touchdown!
After 50 minutes of action, the Patriots finally found the end zone, with James White plunging over the line from 1-yard out to cap a 10-play, 85-yard scoring drive.
New England went for two but was unsuccessful, with linebacker Julian Stanford picking off Tom Brady’s pass attempt. Guard Ted Karras forced a fumble as he tackled Stanford in the end zone, but Buffalo recovered.
The Patriots reeled off several big plays to set up White’s touchdown, including a 9-yard catch-and-run by James White on third-and-8, a 26-yard completion to Julian Edelman on third-and-6, a 22-yard run by Cordarrelle Patterson and a 20-yard strike to Chris Hogan.
Hogan displayed great body control to make the catch along the sideline before being pushed out at the Bills’ 1-yard line.
Fourth quarter, 14:48, Patriots 12-6: The Bills picked up one first down — on a 13-yard pass to Zay Jones — but nothing more on their latest possession.
Linebacker Elandon Roberts had what should have been an easy interception slip through his hands for the second time in two weeks. He still came up with a pass breakup, though, forcing the Bills to punt.
Third quarter, 2:03, Patriots 12-6: A huge defensive play by Kyle Van Noy gave the Patriots excellent field position, but they were forced to settle for yet another field goal after stalling inside the Bills’ 10-yard line.
Van Noy, who took a blocked punt back for a touchdown last week, blew past Bills left guard Dion Dawkins to strip-sack Derek Anderson.
Patrick Chung recovered for the Patriots, and Tom Brady delivered a 22-yard strike to Rob Gronkowski on the next play. It was a highlight-reel catch for Gronkowski, who’s been held in check for much of the night, and was upheld following a Bills challenge.
The Patriots managed zero yards on their next three plays, though, with heavy pressure forcing Brady to throw the ball away on third down from the Buffalo 7.
Third quarter, 3:42, Patriots 9-6: Tom Brady misfired to an open Julian Edelman on third-and-8, forcing the Patriots to punt.
One play earlier, Brady tried to hit Rob Gronkowski, but the two could not connect, either. Gronkowski has caught just two passes on seven targets tonight.
The Patriots played that drive with Ted Karras at right guard. Shaq Mason suffered a calf injury and is questionable to return.
Third quarter, 7:36, Patriots 9-6: The Patriots have done a fantastic job of shutting down LeSean McCoy tonight. The Bills running back has managed just 13 rushing yards on 12 carries.
The fact that 12 of those yards came on McCoy’s first carry of the game illustrates how successful New England has been at halting him in the backfield. Trey Flowers muscled past tight end Logan Thomas to drop McCoy for a 3-yard loss during Buffalo’s latest possession, which resulted in a three-and-out.
Injury update: Elandon Roberts has a groin injury and is questionable to return.
Third quarter, 9:16, Patriots 9-3: Corey Bojorquez’s punt pinned the Patriots at their own 5-yard line, and the Bills forced a three-and-out.
A 31-yard return by Micah Hyde gave Buffalo prime field position at New England’s 35-yard line.
Third quarter, 11:15, Patriots 9-3: Eventful opening drive of the second half for Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
Benjamin was flagged for an illegal blindside block on Devin McCourty, negating a big gain by LeSean McCoy, then beat Stephon Gilmore for a 40-yard reception, then dropped a pass and was called for offensive pass interference on the same play, forcing the Bills to punt.
One injury situation we’re monitoring: Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts was examined in the sideline medical tent before slowly walking to the locker room. Special teamer Nicholas Grigsby played in his place during the drive, dropping McCoy for a 5-yard loss on one play.
Bills rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds has been ruled out for the rest of the game with a concussion.
Halftime, Patriots 9-3: Stephen Gostkowski closed out the first half by missing a 50-yard field goal wide right.
The Patriots have doubled up the Bills in terms of yardage (221-99) but still are searching for their first touchdown. Their running game has been nearly nonexistent without the injured Sony Michel (32 yards on 10 total carries in the first half), and their passing game primarily has run through James White and Julian Edelman, who have accounted for 14 of Brady’s 20 completions and 128 of his 202 passing yards.
Rob Gronkowski and Josh Gordon have combined for just four catches on 10 targets.
The Bills will receive the second-half kickoff.
Second quarter, 1:33, Patriots 9-3: A barnburner, this is not.
We’re still awaiting our first touchdown as the first half winds down. The Bills now are on the board, though, thanks to a 47-yard field goal by Stephen Hauschka.
Patrick Chung helped force the field-goal try with an excellent three-play stretch:
The Patriots have almost completely neutralized LeSean McCoy in the running game tonight, holding the perennial Pro Bowler to 14 rushing yards on eight carries.
Second quarter, 5:42, Patriots 9-0: The Bills’ defense has done an admirable job keeping the Patriots out of the end zone tonight, forcing them to settle for field goals on three consecutive possessions.
The Patriots’ latest drive featured Rob Gronkowski’s first catch of the game — an 11-yarder that brought New England to the verge of the red zone. Each of Tom Brady’s first three passes to his star tight end had fallen incomplete.
Second quarter, 10:09, Patriots 6-0: The Patriots forced their first three-and-out of the night, with Stephon Gilmore swatting away a deep ball intended for Kelvin Benjamin.
Gilmore, who entered tonight tied for second in the NFL with nine pass breakups, is putting together a superb season in the Patriots’ secondary.
Patrick Chung came within centimeters of blocking Corey Bojorquez’s punt, resulting in a short kick that gave New England possession at its own 38-yard line.
Second quarter, 11:47, Patriots 6-0: Another lengthy Patriots drive culminated in a Stephen Gostkowski field goal, this one from 40 yards out.
New England’s latest possession spanned 11 plays and 58 yards, 29 of which came on a long completion to Chris Hogan.
Tom Brady also scrambled 8 yards for a first down on third-and-7. He needs just 3 more rushing yards to crack 1,000 for his career.
The drive stalled after rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds dropped James White for a 3-yard loss on second-and-8 and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips snuffed out a Julian Edelman screen pass on the ensuing play.
First quarter, 1:40, Patriots 3-0: Stephen Gostkowski opened the scoring with a 25-yard field goal, capping a 15-play, 73-yard drive.
The Patriots narrowly avoided disaster multiple times during the drive. The Bills failed to haul in two potential interceptions, and a Brady fumble — off a Lorenzo Alexander strip sack — deflected right to Patriots center David Andrews.
James White continues to be the Patriots’ most reliable receiver — he’s already up to five catches on five targets for 44 yards — but, interestingly, has yet to carry the ball. Kenjon Barner hasn’t, either, as all five New England handoffs thus far have been to wide receivers (four to Cordarrelle Patterson, one to Julian Edelman).
Brady threw a nice block on Alexander on Edelman’s 6-yard end around, though the linebacker knocked him to the ground in the process.
The Patriots appeared to recover a fumble on the kickoff that followed Gostkowski’s field goal, but video review showed return man Marcus Murphy was down before the ball came loose.
Buffalo failed to generate points on the ensuing drive, picking up 24 yards on a pass to LeSean McCoy but punting four plays later.
First quarter, 10:01, 0-0: The Patriots and Bills traded punts after two eventful opening drives.
During New England’s first possession, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson lined up at running back in an I-formation and took two handoffs. Josh Gordon also was on the field during that series despite a pregame report that he would be benched for much of the first quarter as punishment for tardiness this week.
Tom Brady converted on third down on a quick pass to James White but couldn’t hit Gordon deep downfield on the next third down, resulting in a Ryan Allen punt.
Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll also got creative during his team’s first turn with the ball, employing a Wildcat formation on multiple snaps with quarterback Derek Anderson split out wide. Buffalo managed to pick up two first downs but was forced to punt after an Anderson deep ball off a reverse flea flicker fell incomplete on third-and-9.
Daboll is a former Patriots assistant, having coached New England’s tight ends from 2014 to 2016.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Bills won the coin toss and chose to defer. The Patriots will receive the opening kickoff on a cold and windy night in Buffalo.
6:48 p.m.: In a surprising development, linebacker Dont’a Hightower is among the Patriots’ seven inactives tonight.
Hightower, who played in each of New England’s first seven games, was limited in practice this week with a knee injury and was listed as questionable entering game day.
The rest of the Patriots’ inactives already had been announced.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski officially is active after sitting out last week’s game with a back injury. Edge rusher John Simon also returns after missing two games with a shoulder injury.
Simon should play a significant role tonight with Hightower sidelined. Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts likely will start at linebacker.
6:18 p.m.: The Patriots did not wind up promoting Kenneth Farrow from the practice squad, so they’ll enter tonight’s game with just two active running backs: James White and Kenjon Barner.
White and Barner both set career highs in carries (11 and 10, respectively) last week after Sony Michel went down with a knee injury on the first play of the second quarter.
5:50 p.m.: Don’t expect to see much of Josh Gordon in the early going tonight. The wide receiver reportedly will be kept off the field for much of the opening quarter as punishment for tardiness.
This is the first negative development for Gordon since he joined the Patriots last month. His off-the-field issues in Cleveland were well-documented, but he’d received nothing but positive reviews from his New England teammates and coaches.
Gordon was among the first Patriots players on the field tonight, running through his pregame warmup routine close to three hours before kickoff.
Expect an increase in snaps for Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett during Gordon’s temporary benching.
3 p.m. ET: Greetings from New Era Field, which in just a few short hours will host Buffalo’s first Monday night game since 2008.
A raucous atmosphere is expected as the New England Patriots, who sit atop the AFC East at 5-2 and are riding a four-game winning streak, visit the division rival Bills, who were steamrolled by the Indianapolis Colts 37-5 last week to fall to 2-5 on the season.
Six of the Patriots’ seven inactives already have been announced, with running back Sony Michel, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, tight end Jacob Hollister, cornerback Eric Rowe, offensive lineman Brian Schwenke and defensive end Geneo Grissom all being ruled out due to injury.
Six others are listed as questionable for New England: tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Josh Gordon, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, offensive tackle Trent Brown and defensive ends Deatrich Wise and John Simon.
The Bills will be without quarterback Josh Allen, running back Taiwan Jones and defensive end Trent Murphy but should have LeSean McCoy available after the Pro Bowl running back cleared concussion protocol over the weekend.
New England is looking to continue its long-held dominance over Buffalo, which is 3-28 against Tom Brady-led Patriots teams. The Bills have not won a game Brady started and finished since 2011.
The odds of the home team snapping that drought tonight are slim. The Patriots are pegged as 14-point favorites over the Bills, who currently have career backup Derek Anderson guiding the NFL’s worst offense.
Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. ET. For full pregame coverage, tune in to our “Pregame Chat” live on NESN.com and NESN’s Facebook page at 6 p.m.
Thumbnail photo via Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports Images