For the most part, the Buffalo Bills got the better of the action in the first half of Thursday night’s Week 13. Buffalo led New England 17-7 at halftime and generally dominated most major statistical categories over the first two quarters. The Patriots, though, did win one battle. They got Bills punter Sam Martin onto the field.
Buffalo defeated New England 33-21 in Week 16 of the 2021 season. The Bills then routed the Patriots, 47-17 during the Wild Card round in the playoffs. Buffalo did not punt in either game. The Bills also did not punt in any of their first three possessions of Week 13’s game. So, when the Bills took possession late in the third quarter on Thursday, there was no reason to expect Martin and the punting team to be needed.
But New England made it happen. In fact, the Patriots forced a three-and-out.
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) December 2, 2022
This was a true rarity in the recent history of this rivalry. Football fans reacted to the odd play finally taking place.
THE BILLS PUNT
THE BILLS PUNT
— Pats Pulpit (@patspulpit) December 2, 2022
OH MY GOD A PUNT!!!!!
ITS A MIRACLE!!!
THE PATRIOTS MADE THE BILLS PUNT!!!
— Savage (@SavageSports_) December 2, 2022
The Bills are punting. As Kevin Garnett once said, "Anything is possible!"
— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) December 2, 2022
Bills punt for the first time against the Patriots since Week 8, 1897
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) December 2, 2022
Patriots after making the Bills punt pic.twitter.com/bI7DZOK18m
— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) December 2, 2022
When the Patriots force the Bills to punt 👏 pic.twitter.com/v4yvj2IRG8
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) December 2, 2022
The Bills also punted on the first possession of the second half.
Throughout his career as both a head coach and defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick has found ways to limit some of the most explosive offenses in NFL history. So, the long period of futility against the Bills was no doubt a source of frustration for Belichick and the Patriots. Obviously, forcing a couple of punts doesn’t mean that New England will beat Buffalo. But it’s a step in the right direction.
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