The Bills: Their manhandling of the Patriots was a resounding reminder of what a masterful job of team building has been performed in Buffalo since 2018, when the Bills had a rookie Josh Allen and a whole lot of money being paid to players who were no longer on the team. The Bills are the new boss of the AFC East, and it was hard not to feel like they were delivering a message with this stomping. But the Bills have been talking about the Chiefs being kings of the AFC hill since they lost the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium last year. The Bills have won five in a row, but their two best performances of the year came in their last two games against the Patriots — there were real struggles against the Falcons and Jets at home in the final two games of the regular season. Now it’s time to play like this against an even greater opponent than the Patriots next week — likely the Chiefs again.
Josh Allen: He rifled passes, he broke ankles, there was nothing the Bills quarterback couldn’t do Saturday night. Allen was a one-man wrecking crew — throwing for 308 yards and rushing for 66 more — but the Bills’ offense collectively was unstoppable. They scored a touchdown on each of their four first-half possessions, running out to a 27-0 lead. Getting out to a lead was a point of emphasis for the Bills, who wanted to force the game into Mac Jones’ hands. Done. Then they kept going. The Bills haven’t punted against the Patriots since early in the third quarter of the first meeting between these teams this season. The Bills finished with a perfect offensive performance, scoring a touchdown on every single drive until the kneel down. Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips raved about the offense saying, “That sounds like some Pop Warner stuff. Maybe you did it on Madden.”
Micah Hyde: The Bills’ safety gets singled out from an outstanding overall defensive effort because of one of the most athletic and timely plays you’ll ever see. With the Bills leading by a touchdown, but the Patriots moving the ball at will on their first possession of the game, quarterback Mac Jones had the Patriots with a first down at the Bills’ 34-yard line. He heaved a pass toward Nelson Agholor, who was streaking down the left sideline — wide open — into the end zone. Hyde had an angle and raced to the spot where Agholor would have met the pass. Tracking the ball all the way, Hyde made Willie Mays-style catch, turning a certain touchdown into a jaw-dropping interception that ended the Patriots’ early momentum. The Patriots’ offense never recovered their rhythm.
The Bills’ coordinators: Both offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier are candidates for head coaching jobs. This game will be a nice line on their résumés.
The Patriots: Yes, they got blown out in the wild-card game, but the Patriots rebuilt in one season and went to the playoffs with a rookie quarterback. This game exposed their holes, but that is a win by any measure except maybe the one where Tom Brady is the measuring stick.