Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson is tackled by Bills Jordon Poyer after a short gain.  New England ran the ball 47 times in a 14-10 win.

Patriots get first shot at Bills since lopsided playoff game

Last time the New England Patriots clashed with the Buffalo Bills, they found themselves caught up in one of their most unforgettable games in recent memory.

But for all the wrong reasons.

Buffalo displayed sheer and utter dominance in the AFC wild-card game back in January, but now the Patriots will finally get a chance to avenge that loss on Thursday night when they face the Bills in Foxborough, Mass.

New England (6-5) never found out how to contain Buffalo’s high-powered offense in the 47-17 setback in last season’s playoffs, allowing seven touchdowns on all seven of the Bills’ possessions. The only “stop” the Patriots could muster was at the end of the game, when backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky kneeled to run out the clock.

Josh Allen threw for 308 yards and more passing touchdowns (five) than incompletions (four) that day.

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson is eager to get back out on the field against Buffalo (8-3) to try and rinse the loss out of New England’s system.

“I’m not gonna just dwell on something that’s in the past, but it was definitely in my mind how we ended the season off last year,” Stevenson said. “I feel like we get a chance to go out there and put a different game on film.”

The meeting with the Bills caps a hectic portion of the schedule for the Patriots, as they will be playing their third game in 12 days. New England pulled out a 10-3 win against the New York Jets on Nov. 20 before falling 33-26 to the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving.

It will also be the first time in franchise history that the Patriots play back-to-back Thursday nights.

Things have been hectic for Buffalo over the last two weeks as well, as it had its game against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 20 moved to Detroit due to record snowfall, and then had to square off against the Lions, again in Detroit, just four days later.

The Bills won both games and now sit in a tie for first with the Miami Dolphins atop the AFC East. But their hold on the division could be in jeopardy as they approach a critical three-game stretch.

Buffalo will face the three other teams in the division over the next three weeks, beginning with New England before returning home to face the Jets and Dolphins.

“We just got to look at it one game at a time. We got this one (against the Patriots) and take care of the rest when it comes about,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said. “Obviously big division rival game this week, and like I said we’re excited to play on the road (in) New England.

“This is what NFL football’s about.”

For the inaugural game of the gauntlet, Buffalo could be without linebacker Von Miller, who missed Tuesday’s practice with a knee injury. Offensive tackle Dion Dawkins (ankle) and tight end Quintin Morris (illness) also didn’t participate.

Running back Damien Harris (thigh), safety Jabrill Peppers (illness) and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (foot) missed the Patriots’ practice on Tuesday. A thigh injury forced center David Andrews to be limited along with receiver Jakobi Meyers (shoulder) and cornerback Jalen Mills (groin).

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2022; East Rutherford,NJ, USA;  New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) scrambling in the second half against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Jets take another shot at ending Patriots’ hex

When the New York Jets clashed with the New England Patriots in Week 8, it looked as if the Jets were in prime position to shake a 12-game losing streak against their AFC East rivals.

New York was riding a four-game winning streak, quarterback Zach Wilson was playing with confidence, and the Jets were playing at home — which happens to be the only place they’ve been able to win a regular-season game against New England over the past 13 years.

The result? A 13-game losing streak against the Patriots.

However, New York will have another chance to snap the skid when it travels to Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday for a meeting with the Patriots.

Both teams are coming off their bye week.

The Jets (6-3) bounced back from their loss against New England (5-4) with an impressive 20-17 home victory over the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 6.

James Robinson scored his first touchdown as a Jet late in the third quarter against Buffalo. After Tyler Bass’ field goal leveled the game at 17-all, the Jets’ Greg Zuerlein made good on a 28-yarder with just under two minutes remaining for the winning points.

With the Jets coming off the win and a week of rest, coach Robert Saleh said his team is better than it was the last time out against the Patriots.

“I feel like we’ve gotten better every week,” Saleh said. “It still comes down to being able to execute and do our job and do right longer. You’d like to think with every passing day, you get a little bit better.”

Getting better as the season progresses has been something New England has been able to accomplish, as the Patriots have won four of their past five games after a 1-3 start.

The Patriots went into their bye week on a high note following a 26-3 romp over the visiting Indianapolis Colts.

Matthew Judon and Josh Uche headlined a masterclass defensive performance, as they each recorded three sacks. Jonathan Jones blocked a punt and returned an interception 17 yards for a TD as New England prevented the Colts from converting any of their 14 third-down opportunities.

It might be harder for the Patriots to apply pressure against New York, though, as New England coach Bill Belichick noted that the Jets have tuned up their offensive line since the teams last met.

“They played Buffalo — that’s the only game we’ve seen — (and they) did a good job defensively against a very explosive Buffalo offense,” Belichick said. “Did a good job in the kicking game, protecting the ball, especially their quarterback.”

The Sunday game will open a busy stretch for the Patriots, who will play three games in a 12-day span. Following the meeting with New York, New England will visit the Vikings on Thanksgiving before returning home to play the Bills on Dec. 1.

“We’re focused on the Jets right now,” Belichick said. “Worry about next week next week.”

Defensive lineman DaMarcus Mitchell could miss the beginning of that stretch, as he did not practice on Wednesday due to an illness. Fellow defensive lineman Christian Barmore (knee), safety Kyle Dugger (ankle) and Uche (hamstring) were all limited.

Wide receiver Corey Davis didn’t participate in the Jets’ practice on Wednesday because of a knee injury. Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (elbow) and guard Nate Herbig (shin) also sat out.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2022; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick  before the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick becomes second-winningest coach in NFL history

Bill Belichick earned his 325th win (regular season and postseason) on Sunday, becoming the second-winningest coach in NFL history.

The New England Patriots (4-4) defeated the New York Jets (5-3) 22-17 in East Rutherford, N.J., giving Belichick sole possession of second place on the all-time list. He passed the legendary George Halas (324 wins), who coached the Chicago Bears for 40 years.

It was also the Patriots’ 13th straight win against New York.

Belichick, 70, is in his 23rd season as New England’s coach after spending five seasons (1991-95) with the Cleveland Browns. Under Belichick, the Patriots have won six Super Bowls and have finished first in the AFC East 17 times.

The all-time leader in wins is Don Shula (347), who spent 26 seasons coaching the Miami Dolphins after seven seasons with the Baltimore Colts.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) runs with the ball against New York Jets defensive end Carl Lawson (58) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots extend dominance over Jets as Belichick passes Halas in wins

Bill Belichick became the second-winningest coach in NFL history and Nick Folk kicked five field goals as the New England Patriots pulled off a 22-17 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

Belichick earned his 325th win (regular and postseason) to pass George Halas (324) on the all-time list. New England (4-4) also won its 13th straight game against the Jets (5-3).

Folk, who played for New York for seven seasons, made field goals of 31, 42, 49, 45 and 52 yards. Mac Jones completed 24 of 35 passes for 194 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and Rhamondre Stevenson finished with 143 yards from scrimmage (72 receiving, 71 rushing).

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson struggled despite throwing for 355 yards and two touchdowns. He completed just 20 of 41 passes and threw three interceptions. Garrett Wilson hauled in six of those completions for 115 yards, and Tyler Conklin had two receiving scores.

Following halftime, the Patriots’ offense came out roaring, driving 62 yards in six plays to claim a 13-10 edge. Jones capped the march with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers and, after Greg Zuerlein missed a 45-yard field goal, Folk made it a two-score game with a pair of field goals.

Zach Wilson threw a 9-yard touchdown to Conklin with 1:51 remaining, but the Jets could not recover the ensuing onside kick.

New York took a 10-3 advantage with 12 minutes left in the second on Zach Wilson’s 8-yard TD pass to Conklin.

Cornerback Michael Carter II seemed to extend that lead when he intercepted Jones and sprinted 84 yards to the end zone, but the pick-6 was nullified due to a roughing the passer penalty.

Folk then put a 42-yard field goal through the uprights five plays later, pulling the Patriots within 10-6 as time expired in the first half.

The Jets reached the New England 12 on their second drive of the game thanks to Garrett Wilson’s 54-yard reception, but they had to settle for Zuerlein’s 28-yard field goal to open the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) lines up for the snap against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Bailey Zappe guides Patriots past Browns 38-15

Bailey Zappe threw for a career-high 309 yards and the visiting New England Patriots held on to a late lead to defeat the Cleveland Browns 38-15 on Sunday afternoon.

Zappe completed 24 of 34 passes and tossed two touchdowns to lead New England (3-3) to its second consecutive win. Rhamondre Stevenson finished with 76 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, and four receivers eclipsed the 60-yard mark.

It was the 324th victory (including postseason) for Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who is now tied with George Halas for the second-most wins in NFL history.

Down 24-6 heading into the fourth, Cleveland (2-4) pulled within 24-15 thanks to a 51-yard field goal from Cade York and Amari Cooper’s 15-yard touchdown reception from Jacoby Brissett. The Browns then attempted an onside kick and recovered, but the call was overturned upon review.

Rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton then rushed for a 19-yard touchdown and Stevenson later added a 6-yard score on the ground to put the game out of reach.

Brissett threw for 266 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on 21-of-45 passing for Cleveland, while Nick Chubb was held to 56 yards on 12 rushes.

The Patriots put together an impressive seven-play, 75-yard drive to open the second half. Zappe connected with Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry for gains of 53 and 13 yards, respectively, before hooking up with Thornton in the end zone from 2 yards out.

It was Thornton’s first career touchdown.

Brissett then threw an interception with 7:01 left in the third, and New England took advantage of the takeaway. Zappe found a wide-open Henry on a 31-yard touchdown to blow the game open, giving the Patriots a 24-6 advantage.

New England took a 10-3 lead with 3:23 left in the first half thanks to Stevenson’s 31-yard rushing touchdown. York then made good on a 48-yard field goal with 26 seconds left to pull the Browns within 10-6 heading into the break.

Myles Garrett sacked Zappe at the end of the first quarter to become the all-time leader in sacks in Cleveland franchise history at 62.5. He finished the game with two sacks to reach 63.5 but then left the game with an apparent left shoulder injury.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) strip sacks Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Bailey Zappe, defense come up big as Patriots blank Lions

Bailey Zappe threw a touchdown in his first career NFL start and Kyle Dugger returned a fumble for a touchdown as the New England Patriots cruised to a 29-0 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.

Zappe completed 17 of 21 passes for 188 yards and also threw an interception as New England (2-3) snapped a two-game losing streak. He connected with Jakobi Meyers for a 24-yard TD at the end of the third quarter to officially put the game out of reach.

Meyers finished with seven catches for 111 yards, while Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for a career-high 161 yards on 25 carries.

Nick Folk added five field goals.

The Lions (1-4) mustered 312 yards of total offense. Jared Goff finished with 229 yards and one interception on 19-for-35 passing, and Jamaal Williams carried the ball 15 times for 56 yards. Josh Reynolds hauled in six catches for 92 yards.

In a last-chance effort to score, Detroit drove down to the Patriots’ 18 with 3:10 left to play. Goff threw two incompletions and turned the ball over on downs, though, to come up empty once again.

The Lions tried to move the chains six times on fourth down, but were never able to convert.

One of those fourth-down situations came with just under four minutes left in the first half when Detroit elected to go for a fourth-and-9 at the New England 32.

Matthew Judon sacked Goff, Goff fumbled and Dugger scooped up the loose ball and scurried 59 yards to the end zone for a 13-0 lead.

Folk made a 44-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to send the Patriots into the break up 16-0.

New England jumped out a 6-0 lead thanks to a pair of Folk field goals. He kicked a 37-yarder to cap the Patriots’ first drive of the game, and after Jack Jones intercepted Goff, Folk made good on 32-yard attempt to open the second quarter.

Lions cornerback Saivion Smith was taken off the field by ambulance early in the first quarter after sustaining a neck injury.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) celebrates with teammates after sacking New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (not pictured) during the first half at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers/Appleton Post-Crescent-USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Packers take down Patriots on last-second field goal in OT

Mason Crosby converted a 31-yard field goal as time expired in overtime Sunday, lifting the host Green Bay Packers to a 27-24 win over the New England Patriots.

After both teams went three-and-out with their initial overtime possession, Green Bay (3-1) marched 77 yards in 12 plays, chewing up the final 6:47 of the game. The Packers converted a pair of third downs, including AJ Dillon’s 7-yard run inside the 2-minute warning that allowed them to run down the clock and tee up Crosby’s game-winner.

Green Bay forced overtime when Aaron Rodgers tossed his 500th career touchdown pass, a 13-yarder to Romeo Doubs with 6:14 left in regulation. But Doubs dropped a potential 40-yard game-winner in the end zone with 2:02 remaining.

Rodgers completed 21 of 35 passes for 251 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Aaron Jones rushed 16 times for 110 yards for the Packers and Allen Lazard caught six passes for 116 yards.

Brian Hoyer started at quarterback for New England (1-3), replacing the injured Mac Jones. But after leading the Patriots to a Nick Folk field goal on their opening drive, Hoyer sustained a head injury after being sacked by Rashan Gary.

Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe was forced into action and played reasonably well in his debut. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards and his first NFL touchdown, a 25-yard strike to DeVante Parker at the 4:52 mark of the third quarter.

With Zappe on the field, New England’s already conservative game plan leaned even heavier towards the run in an attempt to keep Rodgers and Green Bay’s offense off the field.

The Patriots’ defense did its part to help. After giving up a 15-yard touchdown run to rookie wide receiver Christian Watson two minutes into the second quarter, New England took a 10-7 lead into halftime when Jack Jones picked off Rodgers and loped 40 yards down the left sideline with 13 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer (5) throws a pass during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots QB Brian Hoyer out with concussion; Bailey Zappe in

New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer left in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the host Green Bay Packers with a head injury.

Hoyer left after being sacked by Rashan Gary on New England’s second possession. He was evaluated for a concussion and the Patriots later announced he was out for the remainder of the game.

Bailey Zappe, a fourth-round draft pick in April’s NFL draft, was pressed into duty for the first time in his career. Hoyer started the game for the Patriots because Mac Jones is out with an ankle injury, reportedly a high ankle sprain.

Hoyer, 36, made his first start since 2020. He is in his 14th NFL season and third stint with the Patriots. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 37 yards before exiting.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) reacts during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots rule out QB Mac Jones; Brian Hoyer to start

The New England Patriots will turn to Brian Hoyer to quarterback Sunday’s game against the host Green Bay Packers after starter Mac Jones was ruled out Friday due to an ankle injury.

Reporters in Foxborough, Mass. spotted Jones at Friday’s practice walking gingerly, but he was officially listed as a non-participant for the third straight day.

Jones hurt his left ankle on the Patriots’ final offensive play of Sunday’s 37-26 loss to the visiting Baltimore Ravens. He hopped off the field on one foot after he was brought to the ground by Calais Campbell and got his ankle caught under Campbell’s leg.

The second-year quarterback suffered a “pretty severe” high ankle sprain, according to an NFL Network report Monday. Jones visited the New York Hospital for Special Surgery for a second opinion during the week.

Sunday will mark the first start Jones misses in his NFL career after taking the reins as a first-round rookie in 2021. In 20 career starts, he has thrown for 4,587 yards, 24 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, including a league-high five picks this year.

Hoyer, who turns 37 next month, is playing his third stint with New England, having backed up Tom Brady during 2009-11 and 2017-18. He returned to the team in 2020 and started a game for the Patriots for the first time. Hoyer has lost his last 11 starts dating back to 2016.

In 29 appearances for the Patriots, he has gone 56 for 86 (65.1 percent) for 692 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. His 14-year career also includes stops with the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts, who have helped him amass 10,631 passing yards and 53 touchdowns with 35 picks.

The Patriots also ruled out offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste (thumb) and defensive lineman Lawrence Guy (shoulder). Safeties Joshuah Bledsoe (groin), Kyle Dugger (knee) and Adrian Phillips (ribs) were questionable, along with wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (knee), cornerback Jalen Mills (hamstring), defensive lineman Davon Godchaux (back) and linebacker Raekwon McMillan (thumb).

For the Packers, tackle Caleb Jones was ruled out due to an illness. Cornerback Jaire Alexander (groin) is questionable.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Ty Montgomery (14) slips after catching a pass during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots place RB Ty Montgomery (knee) on IR

The New England Patriots placed running back Ty Montgomery on injured reserve Tuesday, two days after he attempted to play through a right knee injury.

The move means Montgomery must miss at least the next four games, beginning with Sunday’s contest against the host Pittsburgh Steelers.

The eight-year veteran was injured during a preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Aug. 26 and carted from the sideline to the locker room.

However, he was active for Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins and played a total of 21 snaps. He rushed twice for minus-2 yards, caught three passes for 15 yards and a touchdown and returned one kickoff for 28 yards.

Montgomery, 29, has rushed for 1,178 yards and seven touchdowns, caught 142 passes for 1,119 yards and four scores and averaged 22.4 yards on kick returns in 79 games (20 starts) during eight NFL seasons with five teams. This is his first season with the Patriots.

New England also signed receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey from its practice squad and signed offensive tackle Marcus Cannon to the practice squad.

Humphrey, 24, was elevated to the active roster for the Miami game and reverted back to the practice squad afterward. It was his first game for the Patriots after playing in 18 for the New Orleans Saints from 2019-21, catching 16 passes for 295 yards and three scores.

Cannon, 34, spent his first nine NFL seasons (2011-19) with the Patriots before opting out of the 2020 COVID-19 season. He returned to play four games for the Houston Texans last season and has made 119 regular-season appearances (73 starts).

–Field Level Media