Dillon’s two touchdowns rushing in the first half gave the Patriots an early lead, and New England went on to rout Buffalo 28-6 Sunday.
It didn’t matter that Dillon, who enjoyed his 17th career multiple TD game, finished with only 47 yards rushing and the Patriots generated a mere 265 yards of offense.
Recharged after their bye week, the Patriots were efficient in controlling this game from start to finish, getting contributions from their defense and special teams to seal the team’s fifth straight road victory. Asante Samuel had an interception and Mike Vrabel forced a fumble, ending two Bills drives in New England territory in the first half.
Then, there was Laurence Maroney’s 74-yard kickoff return that set up Dillon’s second score, a 12-yard scamper that put the Patriots ahead 14-3 in the final minute of the opening quarter.
Besides improving to 5-1, marking their second-best start since 1997, the three-time defending division champions won their seventh straight and 12th in their last 13 meetings with AFC East rival Buffalo.
The Bills (2-5) continue to sputter on offense and defense, having lost three straight heading into their bye week.
Rian Lindell produced Buffalo’s only scores, hitting 46- and 40-yard field goals. The Bills haven’t scored more than two offensive touchdowns in their past 11 games.
Bills quarterback J.P. Losman went 16-of-25 for 193 yards passing, but committed three turnovers, two fumbles and an interception. The second-year starter has now committed eight turnovers, including five interceptions, in his past three games.
A critical miscue on defense didn’t help Buffalo, either.
With New England facing third-and-10 from the Bills 21, defensive end Chris Kelsay was penalized for roughing the passer, delivering a late hit on Tom Brady, who had given himself up by falling to the turf.
With a fresh set of downs, Dillon then scored his second touchdown on the next play, out-racing rookie safety Donte Whitner around the left corner.
Brady finished 18-of-27 for 195 yards passing and two touchdowns, improving to 29-6 against divisional rivals.
So much for questions of how well the Bills competed in a 19-17 loss at New England to start the season.
Then again, this followed the pattern of how the annual two-game series has gone over the previous three years: Buffalo competing with New England in the first meeting and then getting blown out in the second.
The Bills are 1-3 in the first game over that stretch, outscoring New England 81-71. The Patriots have responded to win each of the four rematches, outscoring the Bills by a combined 150-36, including a 35-7 win last year.
Brady also erased the ugly memories of his first snap against the Bills in the season opener, when his sack and fumble was returned by London Fletcher for a touchdown. This time, Brady converted three third-down attempts on the opening drive and methodically marched the Patriots on a 14-play, 71-yard drive capped by Dillon’s 8-yard touchdown run.