This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
ORCHARD PARK, NY – Taking the ball out of rookie quarterback Mac Jones’ hands in gusts of over 40 miles per hour and relying on their running game, the New England Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 14-10 at Highmark Stadium Monday night to get inside. their farewell week as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Overall, Jones was just 2-of-3 in 19 yards, while the Patriots ran in 222 yards on 46 carries.
The three passes attempted are the fewest ever in Patriots history, while the two finishes match their fewest, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The three passing attempts were the fewest of any team since the Bills only attempted two in Week 3 of the 1974 season (against the New York Jets).
The Patriots’ fewest passing attempts in a game were previously five, which came in the 1982 “Snow Plow” game against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, Massachusetts – a game played in a driving snowstorm that was pointless in the fourth quarter as stadium worker Mark Henderson drove a tractor out on the field to clear a space for the match’s only field goal.
The Patriots improve to 9-4, with the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs all 8-4. The Bills, meanwhile, fall to 7-5, and their margin of error to win the AFC East has become thinner.
Jones threw just one pass in the first half – when the Patriots led 11-7 at the break – and completed it in 12 yards. The pass sailed high in the wind and tight end Jonnu Smith pulled it down.
It was the fewest passing attempts in the first half by a team since at least 1978, which is as far back as data is available, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The previous record was two, which happened three times, most recently by the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14 of 2017 – also in Buffalo, under snow-covered conditions.
Overall, Jones’ only other finish was a screen pass in the fourth quarter.
The only other games in the Patriots’ history in which they only completed two passes came in December 1982 and November 1969 – both against the Miami Dolphins.
Their one that passed first down was the second fewest in franchise history and was their fewest since December 4, 1983. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the last team in the NFL to win a game with one or fewer passing first downs, which it did in 2010 with Dennis Dixon as their quarterback.