Streaking Patriots use rushing attack to roll over Bills

Los Angeles (AFP) – The New England Patriots kept the ball on the ground and used a stingy defense to win their seventh straight game with a 14-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday.


With wind gusts buffeting Buffalo's Highmark Stadium and light snow falling, the Patriots showed why they are the hottest team in the NFL as the showdown between two of the top teams in the American Football Conference turned into a defensive battle.

The Patriots shunned the passing game and turned to their running attack, gaining 222 yards on the ground compared to just 19 in the air.

Rookie quarterback Mac Jones threw just three passes all night, completing two, as he ran more times than he threw it.

He was one of seven Patriots players who ran the ball, carrying it five times.

"That was a crazy game to be part of," Jones said. "We knew if we didn't turn the ball over that we would win."

Quarterback Josh Allen completed 15 of 30 passes for 145 yards and one touchdown for the Bills, who failed to close the gap on the Patriots atop the AFC East Division.

Jones' light passing game Monday follows his best statistical passing game in last Sunday's 36-13 rout of then AFC top seed Tennessee, when he threw for a career-high 310 yards.

His first completed pass on Monday came on a wobbling ball to Jonnu Smith for a 12-yard gain late in the first quarter.

The Patriots ran 32 consecutive running plays before Jones attempted his next pass in the fourth quarter.

Jones' three attempts were the fewest in any NFL game since Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson went 0-for-2 in a game in 1974.

'Tough and disciplined'

New England have now held an opponent to 13 or fewer points for the sixth time in seven games during their win streak. They have also held teams to an NFL-best 15 points a game.

"We played the way we felt we needed to win. I give the players credit for being tough and disciplined in conditions that were somewhat challenging," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Much of New England's success during their winning streak has come via the ground game, and it showed Monday as Damien Harris rushed for 111 yards, including a career-long 64-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

On the fifth of his 10 carries, Harris took a pitch to the left from Jones and cut back inside through the gap before rushing up the middle untouched into the end zone with 5:18 remaining in the opening quarter.

It was the Patriots' longest run since Curtis Martin rushed for a 70-yard touchdown on September 21, 1997 against Chicago.

Buffalo dropped to 7-5 on the season. They were coming off a 31-6 win over New Orleans.

"We have got to win the close ones," said Allen. "We didn't play good enough, I take that personally. I got to be better for this team."