DAMIEN Harris rushed for 111 yards, including a career-long 64-yard touchdown in the first quarter, as the New England Patriots beat the American Football Conference (AFC) East rival Buffalo Bills (14-10) in Orchard Park, NY, on Monday night for their seventh straight win.
On the fifth of his 10 carries, Harris took a pitch to the left from quarterback Mac Jones and cut back inside through the gap before rushing up the middle untouched into the end zone with 5:18 remaining in the opening quarter.
It was the Patriots’ longest run since Curtis Martin rumbled for a 70-yard touchdown on Sept. 21, 1997, versus Chicago.
New England (9-4) maintained the No. 1 seed in the AFC following Baltimore’s loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday. Buffalo (7-5) lost for the fourth time in seven games after winning four of its first five.
On a wet and windy night, the rookie Jones attempted only three passes, completing two for 19 yards. His first completion came on a wobbling ball to Jonnu Smith for a 12-yard gain late in the first quarter.
The Patriots ran 32 consecutive running plays before Jones attempted his next pass in the fourth quarter. Jones’ three attempts were the fewest in any NFL game since Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson went 0-for-2 in a game in 1974.
Buffalo trailed by four after Tyler Bass missed a 33-yard field-goal attempt wide right against the wind with 7:28 remaining. Later in the fourth quarter, Josh Allen drove the Bills to the Patriots’ 18-yard line before his pass on fourth-and-14 was batted down by Myles Bryant for a turnover on downs.
Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 78 yards on 24 carries for New England, which rushed for 222 yards while holding Buffalo to 99 yards on the ground.
Allen finished 15-of 30 for 145 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 39 yards on six carries.
The Patriots converted a two-point conversion after Harris’ touchdown run to go up 8-0.
After a muffed punt by New England’s N’Keal Harry, Allen hit Gabriel Davis for a 14-yard touchdown pass to make it 8-7 with 2:02 left in the first. Nick Folk’s 41-yard field goal early in the second quarter put the Patriots up 11-7 heading into half time.
Bass’ 35-yard field goal with 6:35 left in the third brought the Bills within 11-10, before Folk tacked on a 34-yarder with 13:01 left in the fourth. — Reuters
NEW ENGLAND Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) runs the ball against the Atlanta Falcons in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. — REUTERSInternet Explorer Channel Network