Here are five things we learned from the Buffalo Bills’ 35-23 win over the New England Patriots in Week 18:
Sometimes you just can't explain it
Bills running back Nyheim Hines (20) Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
It’s almost creepy how much the No. 3 popped up in the Bills’ win over the Patriots on a day where the team wanted to go out and play for Damar Hamlin.
In Buffalo’s win over New England, Nyheim Hines had the first kickoff return for a score in three years and three months to the date. Then the Bills defense had three interceptions.
Some magical things were happening for Buffalo on Sunday.
That "gap" seems to be back
Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills talks to Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
A lot of talk a month or two ago surrounded the AFC East being the most competitive division in the NFL. And it’s true, all four teams were close to .500 records this season.
The AFC East should still, undoubtedly, be considered Buffalo’s to lose.
Red zone woes continue
Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Quarterback Josh Allen had another red zone interception. Plus, Devin Singletary fumbled away a ball in the same area of the field.
Unfortunately, Buffalo heads to the postseason with no positive momentum regarding their red zone turnover issue from this season. Hopefully they’ll wipe the slate clean.
Receivers are all going in opposite directions
John Brown #16 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Stefon Diggs and John Brown saw their stock go up against the Patriots. That was thanks to their long touchdown grabs.
Meanwhile, Gave Davis, like the Bills’ red zone issues on offense, failed to build any momentum heading into the postseason. On 10 targets he had three catches and some drops.
One has to wonder how the Bills handle that in the playoffs. Brown showed that he can be mixed into the plans and Buffalo have other options they can turn to as well. Then again, Davis has saved his best for the playoffs in his young career.
Offense might have to be best defense
Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills defense was susceptible to giving up big plays throughout the 2022 season, at times. The Patriots saw running back Rhamondre Stevenson average nine yards per carry, but most wouldn’t realize that because of the score.
Plus, there are holes in the secondary with no established No. 2 cornerback across from Tre’Davious White and Micah Hyde being sidelined due to a neck injury.
Buffalo looks like a team that might need their offense to be their best defense in the postseason once again… or at least help out in that regard.