September 29, 2019 / 8:46 PM / 15 days ago

Patriots struggle but knock off Bills

EditorsNote: Tweaks fifth graf on Allen; Tweaks sixth graf

Sep 29, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen warms up prior to a game against the New England Patriots at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

J.C. Jackson recorded two interceptions and blocked a punt that led to a touchdown, as the New England Patriots posted a 16-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Brandon Bolden rushed for a 4-yard touchdown, and the Patriots benefited from four interceptions and five sacks to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2015.

New England remained perfect despite mustering just 224 yards of total offense, with Tom Brady completing 18 of 39 passes for 150 yards while throwing his first interception of the season.

Josh Allen’s 1-yard touchdown plunge in the third quarter was the first score allowed by the Patriots defense, which was the NFL’s first team in the Super Bowl era that did not permit a rushing or passing touchdown through the first three games of a season.

Allen, however, sustained a concussion early in the fourth quarter after he was drilled on a helmet-to-helmet hit by New England cornerback Jonathan Jones, who was whistled for an unnecessary roughness penalty.

Matt Barkley replaced Allen and completed 9 of 16 passes for 127 yards before being intercepted by Jamie Collins on the final drive for the Bills (3-1), who were bidding for their first 4-0 start since 2008. Instead, they have lost six straight to New England and are 4-34 against the Patriots since December of 2000.

Buffalo’s Frank Gore rushed for 109 yards to become the fourth NFL player to eclipse 15,000 in his career on the ground. The 36-year-old, who has 15,021 rushing yards in his 15-year career, reached the milestone on a 41-yard gain up the middle in the second quarter to join Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (18,355 yards), Walter Payton (16,726) and Barry Sanders (15,269).

The Bills had 375 yards of total offense.

Devin McCourty intercepted a pass for the fourth straight game to tie Mike Haynes’ team record in 1976 and set up the Patriots’ first touchdown. Bolden scored off a fly sweep with 7:35 remaining in the first quarter, although Stephen Gostkowski misfired on the extra-point attempt.

New England stopped Buffalo on its next drive, and Jackson blocked Corey Bojorquez’s punt, resulting in Matthew Slater scooping up the ball and racing into the end zone. The touchdown was the first in 12 NFL seasons for Slater.

Steven Hauschka drilled a 46-yard field goal two minutes before halftime, and Allen’s 1-yard score trimmed the Patriots’ lead to 13-10. New England’s Josh Gordon reeled in a 31-yard pass to set up Gostkowski’s 23-yard field goal late in the third.

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