By Cody Roark
The New England Patriots have secured their 11th consecutive AFC title after defeating the Buffalo Bills on Saturday. The AFC East championship game provided the Patriots the homefield advantage played in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
New England Patriots Vs Buffalo Bills Week 16: Prediction, Game Line, Matchups & Everything Else You Need To Know
Both teams had a lot on the line Saturday, but for the Patriots the championship meant more. A victory over the Bills meant their record 11th AFC East championship. The win also puts them one step closer to claiming the AFC No. 2 seed. If Chicago beats the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, New England will have the seed under wraps. However, if the Chiefs win New England must get a win over the Miami Dolphins in their regular-season finale. The Pats are seeking a win over the Dolphins regardless because, after claiming the championship title, victory against Miami means a first-week bye in the playoffs.
Saturday’s division championship marks an NFL record for division titles for the team. This is Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s 17th total division championship. The New England Patriots now join the Atlanta Braves as the only sports franchises in the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB to win 10 or more consecutive titles. The AFC game was a monumental milestone for the Pats.
The game kicked off with New England in possession. An early fumble leaves the ball in the hands of the Bills. The Patriots stop a touchdown drive, but Buffalo still scores with a field goal. The Patriots then kept the ball on the ground, running through Buffalo’s defense. Tom Brady ends the drive with a pass to Matt LaCosse for the first touchdown of the game, bringing the first quarter to a close with the score Patriots-7, Bills-3.
The second quarter begins with the Bills in possession, however their drive gets stopped midfield. The Pats get the ball and, after a 91-yard drive, kick a field goal. This makes the score 10-3, Patriots. The Bill’s offense can’t seem to find a way to break the Patriots defense and give the ball back in a quick drive. A couple of turnovers later and the Bills have the ball back. Josh Allen passes to Cole Beasley for a touchdown. However, it’s overturned as the ball is spotted on the 1-yard-line. The Bills complete the 1-yard touchdown with extra point and end the quarter with the score tied at 10-10.
The Patriots get the third quarter started quickly with a 52-yard field goal. The Bills fire back when Josh Allen passes to John Brown for a 53-yard touchdown plus extra point. These drives bring the score to 17-13, Bills. The Bills force a quick, in-and-out drive for the Pats. Buffalo’s offense takes the field again, but New England forces a punt. The Patriots still can’t bring in a touchdown on the last drive of the quarter, but settle for a field goal. This ends the quarter with a score of 17-16 with Buffalo still leading.
The final quarter of the game gets underway with New England going back to the strategy of running the ball. The Patriots hammer it in for another touchdown and successfully pull off a two-point conversion. The Pats come back bringing the score to 24-17. After a long drive, the Bills find themselves first and goal at the 8-yard line. The Bills go for a pass with only two minutes left in the game. Allen can’t seem to find his mark and eventually find themselves on a fourth down. Allen tries to pass, but it’s incomplete in the end zone. New England gets the ball back. The Patriots run the clock out, ending the championship game at 24-17.