The Bills (10-6) took a 27-21 win. As the score indicates, everyone wasn’t perfect against New England (4-12). Some positions played better than others.
With that, here is Bills Wire’s position-by-position report card for Week 17:
Keeping Josh Allen out of the D range is his efforts with his feet. On the ground, Allen scored twice and is tied with the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts for most rushing TDs by a QB in a single season (15).
As a passer, Allen was bad. He had his lowest passer rating of the year (53.3).
Running back: C+
One has to factor in the opponent here. James Cook and the rushing attack were facing one of the NFL’s elite run defenses, and considering that, they fared well. Cook averaged 3.0 yards per carry but as a team the Bills had 127 on the ground. That was the most in 11 games against the Pats have allowed.
Wide receiver: D+
Nobody in the receiver room stood out. Stefon Diggs continues to struggle as he’s now had 10 games without going over 100. The Bills are even now trying to run the ball with him.
Receiver wise, Khalil Shakir led Buffalo with 39 yards. He caught all four of his targets.
Tight end: B
Both Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox struggled as a blockers for the Bills. Pro Football Focus graded both under 50.0 in terms of their blocking against a good Patriots front.
But Kincaid stood out with a huge play. His 51-yard catch was nearly a touchdown… but ended up helping his team put seven on the board eventually.
Offensive line: C
There were some holes found in the ground game. Tackles Dion Dawkins and Spencer Brown outperformed the interior of the line. PFF graded them a 65.1 and 68.5 overall, respectively.
The inside of the line struggled in pass protection, in particular. Blitzes were not always successfully dealt with and that did not help Allen’s poor day passing.
Defensive line: B
The Bills defensive front performed a bit better against the pass than the run. The Patriots ran for 103 yards and 4.3 per attempt. But they got after quarterback Bailey Zappe with some pressure, including Ed Oliver’s sack… not to mention Oliver’s impressive diving interception as well.
Terrel Bernard carries the linebacker position most weeks. No different against the Pats. Bernard had 10 tackles and two sacks. Tyrel Dodson added another five tackles.
Rasul Douglas stole the headlines. He had two interceptions and one was a pick-six. Aside from Douglas, safety Jordan Poyer was another standout. Like Bernard, Poyer had 10 tackles.
Special teams; C
A very bad start for the special teamers. The Patriots scored on their opening kickoff return.
Making up for it as usual was the kicking game. Punter Sam Martin was excellent and had six kicks downed inside the 20. Tyler Bass connected on two field goals, including a long of 35, and all three of his extra points.