The New England Patriots scored the game’s final 11 points to earn a 24-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills and clinch their 11th consecutive AFC East division title Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
The Patriots (12-3) can secure the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs with a win over Miami at home next Sunday.
New England held the Bills (10-5) scoreless following Buffalo’s 53-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to John Brown that helped the visitors build a 17-13 advantage with 7:25 remaining in the third quarter.
The Patriots capped the game’s scoring with 5:06 left on a Rex Burkhead 1-yard touchdown run — his third of the year — and a two-point conversion, which came on a pass from Tom Brady to Julian Edelman. New England trimmed the Bills’ lead to 17-16 on its previous possession with a 20-yard Nick Folk field goal that came with 10:45 left.
The Bills drove to the New England 15-yard line on their final possession, which ended with a turnover on downs with 1:05 remaining after Allen’s pass intended for Cole Beasley fell incomplete in the end zone.
Folk booted a 51-yard field goal — his second of the game and longest since the 2016 season — with 9:54 remaining in the third quarter to break a 10-10 deadlock. The Bills responded on their ensuing drive with Allen’s TD pass to Brown and a Steven Hauschka point-after kick to take a 17-13 lead. Brown got behind Stephon Gilmore and caught the deep pass — his only grab of the game — from Allen over the middle.
Allen connected with offensive lineman Dion Dawkins for a 1-yard touchdown with one second remaining in the first half and Hauschka followed up with the extra point to knot the score at 10-10. Dawkins’ second career TD reception capped a six-play, 59-yard drive that included Allen’s 34-yard dime to Dawson Knox that set up first-and-goal at the Patriots’ 1-yard line.
That game-tying drive to end the half marked the Bills’ second red-zone trip and first since their opening possession, which began at the New England 31-yard line following Burkhead’s first fumble of the season. Buffalo capped its first drive with a 35-yard Hauschka field goal to open the game’s scoring.
New England methodically marched 70 yards on 11 plays and took 7:26 off the clock en route to taking a 7-3 lead with 1:50 left in the opening quarter. Brady connected with Matt LaCosse for an 8-yard TD pass, which marked his 539th overall to his NFL-record 76th different receiver. The touchdown pass tied Brady with Peyton Manning for the second-most all-time.
The Patriots followed up with a 36-yard Folk field goal that gave them a 10-3 lead and capped a nearly-nine-minute, 91-yard, 17-play drive that began inside their 1-yard line. Sony Michel (21 carries, 96 yards) kept the drive alive with his 1-yard plunge on a fourth-and-1 play from the Buffalo 27-yard line.
Brady went 26 of 33 passing for 271 yards. Burkhead rushed for 20 yards on five carries and made four receptions for a team-high 77 yards. Edelman caught five passes for 72 yards.
Allen completed 13 of his 26 pass attempts for 208 yards and ran for 43 yards on seven carries. Beasley recorded a game-high 108 receiving yards on seven receptions. Devin Singletary ran for 46 yards on 15 carries for the Bills.
New England right tackle Marcus Cannon left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return.