FOXBORO (WGGB) — The New England Patriots were hoping to clinch one of the top two spots in the AFC playoffs Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. A win would secure a bye in the first round of the playoffs for the AFC East champions.
While Tom Brady has a strong record against the Bills, it was running back Legarrette Blount who was the difference maker for New England on Sunday’s 34-20 victory.
The two teams traded scores throughout the second half. After a late Bills field goal, the Patriots recovered a surprise onside kick from Buffalo, who had used their final timeout the previous possession. That’s when Legarrette Blount rumbled down the left sideline for his second touchdown of the day.
Blount took advantage of a porous Bills run defense in the second quarter, as he ran 36 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Blount had a season-high 189 yards on 24 carries on Sunday.
But the Bills didn’t make it easy for New England. The offenses were quiet after halftime, until Buffalo quarterback Thad Lewis threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Graham late in the 3rd quarter. That brought the score to 16-10.
The Patriots answered in the 4th, on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Shane Vereen. The Patriots completed a two-point conversion to take a two-touchdown lead. Buffalo answered with a 5-yard touchdown run from Fred Jackson.
The win gives the Patriots a 12-4 record on the season and gives them a first-round bye when the playoffs start next week. A loss would have meant New England would have to host Kansas City.