NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 Game Recap: Buffalo Bills 33, New England Patriots 21

Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA;Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (23) celebrates after intercepting a pass in the last seconds of play against the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

With the AFC playoff picture constantly shuffling, the Buffalo Bills avenged their wind-impacted loss to the New England Patriots three weeks ago and downed their division rival, 33-21, in Week 16.

Buffalo moved up to the No. 4 seed after the victory, whereas New England fell to the No. 6 spot with two regular-season games remaining.

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Buffalo Bills

Quarterback

Josh Allen is on track to earn his third 90.0-plus game grade of the season after tossing four big-time throws and making only one turnover-worthy play. His average depth of target was just 7.3 yards downfield — only the fifth time this season he's fallen below 8.0.

Target Depth Comps./Atts. Yds. TDs
Behind L.O.S 6/7 36 0
Short (1-9) 17/22 174 1
Medium (10-19) 6/9 76 2
Deep (20+) 1/3 28 0
Running Back

Devin Singletary handled the bulk of the backfield work, both on the ground and through the air. His 12 rushing attempts went for just 39 yards, although he forced two missed tackles and tallied 24 of those yards after contact. Singletary also caught five of his six targets for 39 yards.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

While Stefon Diggs is often the star of the show, fifth-year receiver Isaiah McKenzie took center stage in Week 16. He hauled in 11 of his 12 targets for 125 yards and a score. The performance is set to earn him a 90.0-plus game grade.

New England held tight end Dawson Knox to just two catches on three targets for 11 yards.

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via Kent Weyrauch

Offensive Line

Buffalo's offensive line held up well in the contest, surrendering 11 pressures and no sacks. Tackle Daryl Williams and center Mitch Morse were the only linemen to allow more than a single pressure.

Defensive Line

Ed Oliver was the lone Buffalo lineman to register a sack, although the unit still racked up 12 quarterback pressures — including four hits. Harrison Phillips stood out in run defense, making three stops and two tackles for loss or no gain. He is on track to be the unit's highest-graded member.

Linebackers

The Bills' linebackers fared well in coverage, allowing four catches on 10 targets for just 32 yards. But in run defense, both Tremaine Edmunds‘ and A.J. Klein‘s average tackles came more than five yards past the line of scrimmage.

Secondary

No Buffalo cornerback conceded more than 50 yards in coverage. Safety Micah Hyde led the way with two interceptions and just one catch allowed. Cornerbacks Taron Johnson and Levi Wallace combined to give up three catches on nine targets into their coverage.

New England Patriots

Quarterback

Mac Jones is unquestionably the best rookie quarterback of the 2021 bunch at this point of the season, but a shaky 53.3% adjusted completion percentage and a turnover-worthy play didn't help his cause in Week 16. While he entered Sunday with an 81.5 PFF grade (10th), this will likely be his third outing in the past four weeks that earns a sub-55.0 game grade.

Running Back

Damien Harris took 18 carries for 103 yards and three touchdowns to buoy the Patriots' offense on a day when the passing attack just wasn't clicking. While his efforts fell short, he is set to improve on his 84.7 season grade.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

It was an ugly day for New England's passing attack. Jakobi Meyers managed to haul in six of his nine targets for 59 yards, 25 of which came after the catch. Tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, meanwhile, were held to a combined one catch for nine yards on six targets.

Offensive Line

The Patriots gave Mac Jones plenty of time to throw in the contest. He averaged 3.18 seconds before passing (pending review), which would be his highest mark of the season. The offensive line allowed just six pressures in total, and none were sacks.

Player Pass-Blocking Snaps Total Pressures Allowed Sacks Hits Hurries
T Isaiah Wynn 36 2 0 0 2
T Trent Brown 36 2 0 2 0
G Ted Karras 36 1 0 0 1
C David Andrews 36 0 0 0 0
G Shaq Mason 36 1 0 0 1

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Defensive Line

Christian Barmore salvaged a quiet day for New England's defensive line, recording six of the unit's eight pressures on the day. He won on nearly one-third of his pass-rushing reps, while no other lineman did so more than 20% of the time. Barmore also posted two stops in run defense.

Linebackers

Each of Ja'Whaun Bentley, Kyle Van Noy and Dont'a Hightower missed a tackle in run defense. And in coverage, they combined to allow eight catches on 10 targets for 72 yards.

Secondary

Josh Allen picked on both Myles Bryant and J.C. Jackson. The former saw 11 targets into his coverage, from which he allowed nine catches and 89 yards. The latter handled nine targets, giving up five catches for 69 yards and a score.

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