NFL: Patriots rally past Bills, clinch 11th straight division title

Field Level Media via Reuters

Posted at Dec 22 2019 09:29 AM

New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead (34) is congratulated after his touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium. David Butler II, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Rex Burkhead's 1-yard run with 5:06 remaining gave the New England Patriots a 24-17 victory against the visiting Buffalo Bills on Saturday, clinching another AFC East Division title.

The Patriots scored the game's final 11 points to defeat the Bills for the second time this season and the seventh time in a row. It's the 11th year in a row in which New England (12-3) has won its division, extending their post-merger (since 1970) NFL record.

Buffalo (10-5) surged ahead with a strong third quarter, but it couldn't put away the Patriots. It marked only the second road loss of the season for the Bills, who had won at Dallas and at Pittsburgh during the past month.

The Bills needed to win Saturday and then have a pair of games go in its favor on the final day of the regular season in order to secure the AFC East title.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 26 of 33 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown without an interception, with his rating of 111.0 snapping a career-long streak of nine games with a rating below 100. New England running back Sony Michel gained a season-high 96 rushing yards on 21 carries.

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen threw for two touchdowns. He finished 13-for-26 for 208 yards without an interception, but his heave to Cole Beasley on fourth-and-goal from the 15 was knocked away by J.C. Jackson with 1:05 to play.

The Bills had only 268 yards of total offense compared to New England's 414.

Nick Folk's 51-yard field goal in the third quarter gave New England a 13-10 lead.

The Bills went back ahead at the 7:25 mark of the third on Allen's 53-yard pass play to John Brown, who snuck behind safety Devin McCourty on a corner-post route.

Folk's 20-yarder early in the fourth quarter closed the gap to 17-16.

After Burkhead, who had only five carries in the game, capped the seven-play, 59-yard winning drive, the Patriots tacked on a two-point conversion to Julian Edelman to go up seven.

The scoring began for Buffalo on Stephen Hauschka's 35-yard field goal in the first quarter.

The Patriots bounced back to score on Brady's 8-yard pass to Matt LaCosse.

New England went up 10-7 on Folk's 36-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Buffalo responded on Allen's 1-yard pass to left tackle Dion Dawkins -- who lined up at his normal position but reported as an eligible receiver on the play -- with one second left in the first half to forge a 10-10 halftime tie.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.