Patriots Vs. Bills Live: Updates, Analysis, Highlights From Week 16 Matchup

Full coverage of Pats-Bills from Foxboro


December 28, 2020

Fourth quarter, 7:32, Bills 38-9: Jarrett Stidham jogs back onto the field at the midway point of the fourth quarter. His last drive went nowhere: 6-yard completion, incompletion, sack, punt.

Fourth quarter, 9:30, Bills 38-9: Some injury updates from the Patriots:

We also haven’t seen Josh Uche or Terez Hall in the second half.

J.C. Jackson returned to the field after watching one Bills drive from the sideline.

Fourth quarter, 13:15, Bills 38-9: Jarrett Stidham went 2-for-5 for 28 yards on his first drive, which was extended by a roughing the passer penalty before culminating in a punt.

The Bills followed by staging a 10-play, 85-yard drive that consumed the rest of the third quarter and ended with Stefon Diggs’ third touchdown of the night.

This score came against Jason McCourty, not J.C. Jackson, because Jackson was not on the field. He spent the entire drive on the sideline, replaced at cornerback by Joejuan Williams.

The drive also featured another appearance by a wide-open Lee Smith, who set up Diggs’ touchdown with a 25-yard catch-and-run — his longest reception since 2018.

Add two more names to the Patriots’ ever-growing injury list. Safety Devin McCourty is questionable to return with a shoulder injury, and right guard Shaq Mason hasn’t been spotted on the field or the sideline. His ailment has not been announced.

Third quarter, 8:21, Bills 31-9: After a Bills punt, it’s now Jarrett Stidham time.

This is the earliest the second-year QB has entered any game in his NFL career.

Third quarter, 9:29, Bills 31-9: This is a thorough butt-kicking.

Stefon Diggs just beat J.C. Jackson again to score his second touchdown of the night, and the rout officially is on.

This reaction from Bill Belichick — after the Patriots lost a fairly obvious challenge — about sums it up:

Injuries also are beginning to pile up for New England. They played the opening drive of the third quarter without linebackers Terez Hall, Josh Uche and Tashawn Bower. Remember, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy both are inactive.

On the other side of the ball, the Patriots are sticking with Cam Newton, at least for the time being. Their offense followed up Diggs’ score with a quick three-and-out.

Halftime, Bills 24-9: The Patriots’ offense continued to sputter in the final minutes of the first half.

Tight end Devin Asiasi — who still is searching for his first NFL reception — appeared to release too early on a safety blitz, giving Dean Marlowe a clear lane to sack Cam Newton.

Two plays later, Newton bounced a pass to N’Keal Harry while scrambling on third down. He’s just 5-for-10 for 34 yards tonight (though his pass-catchers have not helped matters with multiple drops).

If the Bills can tack on another touchdown to open the third quarter, this game could be as good as over.

Second quarter, 3:49, Bills 24-9: J.C. Jackson had been getting the better of star wideout Stefon Diggs.

Not so on that latest Bills drive.

Diggs beat Jackson once for 17 yards, then again for a 50-yard touchdown.

This game is unraveling in a hurry for New England.

Second quarter, 5:32, Bills 17-9: The Bills extended their lead with a touchdown pass to blocking tight end Lee Smith.

Smith, a Patriots fifth-round draft pick in 2011, was wide, wiiiide open on the play as Adrian Phillips, Josh Uche and Kyel Dugger all gravitated toward Dawson Knox and the McCourty twins doubled Gabriel Davis.

Knox hauled in an impressive fourth-down catch earlier in the drive after a last-second timeout by Bill Belichick negated a long touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis.

J.C. Jackson was in coverage on Davis on that play, but he’s done an excellent job against Stefon Diggs thus far:

Josh Allen’s legs have been the biggest X-factor in this game so far. The Bills QB has rushed for 22 yards on fourth-and-1 and 11 yards on third-and-7.

Second quarter, 10:39, Bills 10-9: Cam Newton has been far from perfect this season. But he still has the ability to make plays like this:

Newton broke four tackles — including a backfield escape from Mario Addison — to record his 12th rushing touchdown of the season.

It was the third highlight-reel run of the Patriots’ latest drive, which also featured this 21-yarder by a resurgent Sony Michel:

… and a career-long 28-yarder by undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor, who has a bright future ahead of him:

Nick Folk misfired on the extra point, however, so the Bills still hold a one-point lead.

Second quarter, 14:50, Bills 10-3: Self-inflicted errors doomed the Patriots on that latest Bills possession.

First, the Patriots forced what should have been a three-and-out but neglected to cover either Bills gunner on the ensuing punt.

This likely was a calculated risk by the Patriots, but Buffalo capitalized, firing a pass to a wide-open Siran Neal for a first down.

Later in the drive, defensive tackle Adam Butler jumped offsides twice in a four-play span.

The first came on a 22-yard Josh Allen scamper on fourth-and-1 — with the Patriots loading up to stop a sneak, Allen faked a handoff and took off around the edge — and the second negated an end-zone interception by J.C. Jackson.

The Bills had their own issues during the drive — Taiwan Jones and Dawson Knox both dropped touchdown passes — but ended it with a 5-yard touchdown run by Zack Moss.

First quarter, 6:43, 3-3: The Bills got a 49-yard kick return by Andre Roberts and drove deep into Patriots territory, but New England’s defense held in the red zone.

Devin McCourty and Jonathan Jones teamed up to bring down Devin Singletary on third-and-2 from the 3, prompting Buffalo to send out the field-goal unit.

J.C. Jackson shadowed top receiver Stefon Diggs throughout the drive, and rookie Josh Uche got the start at inside linebacker alongside Terez Hall — a spot we’ve hardly seen him play since training camp.

Uche will be a player to watch tonight.

First quarter, 12:44, Patriots 3-0: A ghastly drop by Damiere Byrd prevented the Patriots from opening the game with a touchdown.

Cam Newton delivered a deep ball to a wide-open Byrd off a throwback double pass that clanged off the receiver’s chest. New England ultimately settled for a Nick Folk field goal.

Sony Michel, who ran very well last week, ripped off a 29-yard run during the drive. He’s making the most of his opportunities with Damien Harris out.

First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Bills won the coin toss and deferred. Donte Moncrief will receive the opening kickoff as we get underway here in Foxboro.

7:45 p.m.: Cam Newton commanded the first-team offense during warmups. He’ll get the start tonight, as expected.

How short will Newton’s leash be, though? Will Bill Belichick be quick to turn to Jarrett Stidham if the veteran QB struggles early?

Rookie Justin Herron appears poised to make his second consecutive start at left tackle. The Patriots’ offensive line in warmups went Herron, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and rookie Mike Onwenu.

6:45 p.m.: The Patriots will be without several important players tonight:

Harris, New England’s leading rusher, will miss his second consecutive game as he nurses an ankle injury. In his stead, Sony Michel will look to build on the strong showing he had last Sunday in Miami, with James White and J.J. Taylor also mixing in.

Guy (shoulder) and Bentley (shoulder) are two important cogs in a Patriots front seven that’s been gashed on the ground of late (and allowed 190 rushing yards to the Bills in Week 8). They’re both unavailable tonight. Losing Calhoun (knee) removed one body from the Patriots’ edge rusher rotation.

Starting center David Andrews is active — a big boost for New England’s O-line. Martin, who just signed a few hours ago, sits out.

Wide receiver/kick returner Donte Moncrief returns to action after missing last week’s game with a thigh injury. Cornerback Joejuan Williams also is back after a healthy scratch.

Here are the Bills’ inactives:

6:30 p.m.:

Inactives will be announced at 6:45 p.m.

5:30 p.m.: Some pregame Patriots transactions:

And a look at what you’ll see in Gillette Stadium’s south end zone tonight:

Noon ET: The New England Patriots were officially bounced from the playoff race last week, but their season isn’t over just yet.

New England still has two games left to play, the first of which will take place tonight at Gillette Stadium against the AFC East champion Buffalo Bills.

The 11-3 Bills have won seven of their last eight games, including a 24-21 win over the Patriots back in Week 8. The Pats reeled off four wins in five weeks after that loss but have since nosedived, dropping back-to-back must-win games against the Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins to fall to 6-8 on the season.

A total of 20 players are listed as questionable for the Patriots, who also lost star cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a season-ending injury last week:

C David Andrews (calf)
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (shoulder)
OLB Tawshawn Bower (ankle)
DT Adam Butler (shoulder)
LB Shilique Calhoun (knee)
LS Joe Cardona (ankle)
DT Byron Cowart (back)
OT Jermaine Eluemunor (ankle)
K Nick Folk (back)
DT Lawrence Guy (shoulder)
RB Damien Harris (ankle)
OL Justin Herron (ankle)
CB J.C. Jackson (knee)
LB Anfernee Jennings (shoulder)
CB Jonathan Jones (neck)
G Shaq Mason (calf)
WR Donte Moncrief (thigh)
DE John Simon (hamstring)
WR Matthew Slater (knee)
RB J.J. Taylor (quadricep)

Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. ET. Click the link below to read our full game preview, and follow along here throughout the day for up-to-the-minute pre- and in-game coverage.

Boston Celtics Guard Payton Pritchard
Previous Article

Celtics Rookie Payton Pritchard Feels ‘Mentally Prepared’ For NBA

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris
Next Article

Patriots-Bills Inactive List Reaction: Damien Harris, Key Defenders Out

Picked For You