The versatile striker helped his team well by throwing two kicks until the touchdown.
Buffalo Bills (13-3) – New England Patriots (8-9): 35-23
The Bills can thank their raiser. In a game dedicated to Damar Hamlin, Naheim Hines was the driving force behind his team, reviving two engagements for explosive touchdowns and keeping Buffalo afloat for much of the game. Josh Allen and the defense took time to really take the game on their own but were able to close the debate in the last round by forcing New England to over-rev. The New Yorkers validate their ticket as the second team of the AFC against valiant division opponents. But beware, some mistakes could be expensive if they were repeated once the playoffs came.
For the Patriots it will be a heartbreaking elimination. Long in the match, they failed in the heart of their game by conceding the two raises and two bombs for touchdowns. Belichick’s men are therefore giving up their qualifying spot to the Dolphins and will watch the post-season from their couch. But the team showed qualities and was not unworthy. Only, led, mistreated, they did not know how to raise their game and faltered at the end of the game, losing two balls at crucial times.
In a game with heavy emotional significance, Buffalo explodes from the kickoff. On the relaunch of commitment Naheim Hines (235 yards, 2 TD) crosses the entire field, crosses the line, and the stadium ignites. Yet New England, which is playing its potential qualification in the playoffs, is not crushed by the weight of the event. After a solid offensive series, Mac Jones (26/40, 243 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT) finds Jakobi Meyers (32 yards, 1 TD) at altitude at the bottom of the in-goal for the equalizer. But despite a defense that works very well, Bill Belichick’s men fail to contain the New York attack. Josh Allen (19/31, 254 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT) built a long drive on the talent of Stefon Diggs (104 ayrds, 1 TD) and Gabriel Davis (39 yards) to find himself a few yards from the paint at the when changing sides. 7-7 at the whistle.
From the start of the second round, Dawson Knox (13 yards, 1 TD) is alerted in the in-goal and creates the break. But despite this advantage, the Patriots continue to play fair. The defense remains difficult to maneuver, and Mac Jones distills a clean game which, without glitter, managed to keep his team in the game. The young quarterback thus reduced the score by finding DeVante Parker (79 yards, 2 TD) with a few minutes to play. And even if the last seconds are used by Buffalo to nibble ground and get closer to the red zone, the pressure forces an errant pass from Allen which lands in the hands of Devin McCourty (5 TKL, 2 PD). The two teams left tied 14-14 at the break.
The Patriots too short
Upon returning from the locker room, New England immediately returns the courtesy to Buffalo. Behind a good Rhamondre Stevenson (82 yards) the Patriots progress, but Mac Jones ignites and tests the depth. The sanction falls, it is Tre’Davious White (4 TKL, 1 PD) who is at the other end of the forced pass. And yet fate seems to play for visitors. As soon as the leather recovered, Devin Singletary (32 yards) lost the ball on a big contact and returned possession in the red zone. A twist of fate that only costs 3 points and only lasts a few seconds. Because Naheim Hines repeats his exploit of the first period, crosses the whole field and scores his second touchdown on special teams. The Bills drive the point home when Allen escapes on a winding and finds John Brown (42 yards, 1 TD) in the in-goal on a 42-yard bomb. Buffalo has a warm hand. 28-17 in the final rotation.
Belichik’s men attack the last round with the bit in their teeth. They build a long series, transform a fourth attempt and conclude with a score from Parker on a rainbow of 26 yards. The 2-point conversion is missed, but the Patriots hang on and the comeback still seems possible. However, the hammer blow comes on a 3rd & 10: Allen fires the long pass to Diggs who scores on a reception from 49 yards. The gap widens as the clock ticks down. But is it enough? A messy punt lands in the hands of the Patriots and they can again position themselves positively. Yet hope is fading. Arrived at the gates of the red zone, Mac Jones forces a full center pass which is intercepted by Matt Milano (8 TKL, 2 PD). And for good measure, Tremaine Edmunds (7 TKL, 3 PD) imitates his comrade to close the debate. The step was too high for New England, who faulted on special teams and were forced to force their football in the last quarter.
— DNA of Sports.com – NFL News 🏈 (@DNA of Sports) January 8, 2023