FOXBORO, Mass. (WROC) — After leading the Bills to an unlikely late lead, Josh Allen was screaming at his defense on the sideline, trying to fire them up, imploring them to finish the game.
Sure, they were down a couple of starters. But it was only Mac Jones on the other sideline. Yet, the Bills allowed one of the worst offenses in the NFL to drive the length of the field in the final two minutes for a game-winning touchdown handing Buffalo a loss that merits a little bit of panic.
“I think the first play was a huge play for them,” said Bills head coach Sean McDermott. “They throw a screen… we didn’t do enough to leverage the formation and make the tackle when we needed to make it.”
Rhamondre Stevenson opened the drive with a 34-yard catch and run on a running back screen. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips had a prime opportunity to make a tackle for what would have only been about a seven-yard gain.
“I feel like we didn’t do a good job tackling,” said cornerback Taron Johnson. “There were some missed tackles that we had. I’d say that’s probably the biggest thing. Missed tackles and execution.”
The Patriots only needed a field goal to force overtime. But the Bills never even pressed the Patriots into making a decision as New England faced third down once, which was converted on a 14-yard pass from Jones to Hunter Henry.
“It’s a situation that as a defense we like to feel we can thrive in,” said safety Jordan Poyer. “Those are the types of situations that you want to be in, at the end of the game to be able to close the game out for your team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that way today.”
The Bills got the key defensive stop last week against the Giants as time expired at the one-yard line. It was a different story against the Patriots, as this time Johnson failed in one-on-one coverage leading to a touchdown to Mike Gesicki.
“We had the opportunity to win the game at the end and we just needed a stop,” said safety Micah Hyde. “It was total collective failure of not getting the ball back or not stopping them. I’m not going to make excuses for injury or none of that. This is the life of an NFL player.”
“We knew it was going to be one of those games where until the clock hit zero we were going to have to keep our edge and composure,” said center Mitch Morse. “We didn’t give the defense an opportunity earlier in the game to put them out of that position.”
This is not just one bad game for the Bills. This is two weeks in a row where the Bills took a one-win team to the final play.
“We’ve got to stop playing down to everyone else,” said defensive Jordan Poyer. “We’ve got to do everything that we can to play Buffalo Bills football. That’s something we haven’t done the last two weeks, even though we won last week.”
The Bills will have a short turnaround as they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Thursday Night Football.