BUFFALO, N.Y. (WPRI) — Unlike other AFC East road trips to face the Dolphins and Jets, Tom Brady and the Patriots have largely dominated the Bills in Western New York since the early part of the dynasty.
Patriots get on the board first. After an interception by Devin McCourtey, Brandon Bolden ran it in from four yards out. Stephen Gostkowski yet again missed another extra point, giving the Pats a 6-0 lead.
After not allowing a first down on the Bills next possession, J.C. Jackson blocked the punt which was then recovered by Matthew Slater in the end zone for the TD, giving them a 13-0 lead.
New England has lost just one game in Buffalo since 2003 and in those wins averaged close to 20 points better. But for Sunday, throw that all out the window. It’s the first time the Patriots are facing a 3-0 Bills squad and they’re fully aware Bills Mafia has long awaited the chance to down their archrival on home turf.
Sunday’s game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and will air live on WPRI 12. Beforehand, make sure to tune into Fox Providence at 11:30 a.m. for Eyewitness Sports’ New England Nation pregame show. Yianni Kourakis, Ruthie Polinsky, Morey Hershgordon and Andy Gresh dissect the matchup and preview the game just before kickoff. Later on, flip to the Patriots Wrap at 11:15 p.m. on WPRI 12 for all your postgame analysis and a recap from around the NFL.
Below are some notes and quotes from this past week leading up to Sunday’s game:
1. With one more touchdown catch, Phillip Dorsett will set a new career-high for touchdowns in a season. His best was three in 2018.
2. If the Patriots’ defense prevents the Bills from scoring a touchdown, they will become the first team in the NFL’s modern era to start the season with four straight games without allowing a rushing or passing touchdown.
3. The Patriots are 88-24 against AFC East teams since 2001.
Devin McCourty on the atmosphere: “I think as an away team—if you like that type of atmosphere where everybody’s against you, you know it’s going to be just you and your guys there for three hours trying to get a win—when you can get a win in that environment, I think it builds great character. It bonds a team together, but it’s going to be tough.
“We know how hard it is,” he continued. “We went there last year on Monday night. It was a back-and-forth, low-scoring, tough game. I think that’s the type of battles they want to have there, and the crowd was in it from the beginning to the end. So, we know it’s going to be the same type of game Sunday. They’ll be ready to go. I think this is only their second home game anyway and it’s a division game coming. They’ll be in there breaking tables probably from 8 a.m. all the way throughout, so we’ll get their best shot on the field and their fans.”
Tom Brady on the loss of fullback James Develin: “He’s a hell of a player, great teammate. I mean, he’s everything you would look for in a teammate, person. We hate not having him out there. So, he’ll be able to play a role, not necessarily on the field, but for us in the locker room and practice and so forth because he’s just got a great spirit about him. His energy…everything we ask him to do is so selfless. I think that particular position—there’s not a lot of glory in playing fullback in the NFL—but he embraced that role and I think he gained the love and trust and respect of his teammates for that, and we feel the same way about him.”
Bill Belichick on Buffalo QB Josh Allen: “He’s like a running back. He breaks tackles, he’s got good speed, good power, and he’s shifty and he avoids and breaks a lot of tackles. That’s another dimension. A sixth receiver in the passing game, if you will, and gives you another blocker in the running game when they have designed run plays for him. They’ve hit a lot of them at critical times, a lot of big plays, touchdowns, red area, third-down conversions, things like that. They use them in some timely ways, well-designed plays that create problems for the defense. He adds that element to their offense and they’ve used it very effectively.”