The Buffalo Bills topped the New England Patriots 35-23 at home on Sunday in Orchard Park.
In a game that saw some electric scoring plays by the Bills in front of the Highmark Stadium crowd, several of those came by way of quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills receiving corps.
The longest of which was a 49-yard bomb to Stefon Diggs.
Diggs led all Bills receivers with seven receptions on ten targets and 104 total yards with the score, which was good for a third straight game against New England with at least 85 yards, seven catches, and a receiving touchdown.
The Patriots have simply not been able to stop him, and the Bills have too many weapons for New England to double-cover him with a safety.
In my Bills vs. Patriots: 5 things to watch for during Week 18’s game for BillsWire, I pointed out that Diggs was poised for another big performance against the Patriots’ secondary coverage and CB Jonathan Jones. Diggs has cooked Jones so often that he could have his own special on Food Network.
This after his lack of targets was questioned late in the regular season.
The wideout was involved in the offense early as the target of Allen’s first two passes. He played well against man coverage, and his TD catch was his 11th on the year, tying former Buffalo receiver Bill Brooks’s franchise record from the 1995 NFL season.
“We wanna throw to 14,” Allen said to the press postgame. “Teams do a really good job of taking that away, but at the end of the day they can’t do it every single play.”
Allen went 19-for-31 with 254 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception throwing with a 106.1 passer rating on the day.
“Just giving 14 a chance one-on-one and that’s something maybe I’ve gotten away from a little bit too much,” quarterback Josh Allen said. “The dinking and dunking is great, but sometimes you’ve got to let your dogs be dogs.”
Prior to the rocket to Diggs, TE Dawson Knox hauled in a four-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, and Allen found John “Smoke” Brown who laid out for a big 42-yard scoring catch on a third-quarter dime the QB threw running toward the sideline on a broken-up play.
It was Brown’s only target and catch in the contest, and he made it count.
The two deep-scoring tosses came at a good time for Buffalo, while WR2 Gabe Davis was third in receptions with 39 yards and has factored more into the offense in recent weeks, he’s struggled with reliable hands and consistency this season, and was three for ten on catches in the game.
Brown’s touchdown was his first since the 2020 season with Buffalo, in a January 3rd, 2021 game against Miami. He recently re-signed with the Bills’ practice squad and was elevated to the active roster for the game.
With the win, the Bills have secured the No. 2 spot in the AFC playoffs and will host none other than the Dolphins, who might wish it was colder, in Orchard Park next weekend with a day and time yet TBD.
“I’m not going to say other teams haven’t been through a lot but we faced a lot of adversity and obstacles this season,” Diggs said to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi after the game. “It showed that we can really weather the storm on the field, off the field, everything. That all the trials and tribulations, we’ve got a strong group, a real family over here. And that’s something we’re going to lean on going into this new journey. But the mission starts.”