The Bills continued their dominance over the Patriots Thursday night, rolling to a 24-10 victory over New England at Gillette Stadium.
Buffalo did punt against the Patriots for the first time in more than a year, but that was one of the only bright spots for New England. The Bills smothered the Patriots in just about every category, including time of possession, where Buffalo enjoyed a healthy advantage (38:08 to 21:52).
It was the second straight loss for the Patriots (6-6), while the Bills (9-3) won their third consecutive game and posted their fifth win in the last six games against New England, including a 47-17 victory in the playoffs in January.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones completed 22 of 36 passes for 195 yards and one touchdown. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson carried 10 times for 54 yards.
“We’re not happy. We’re lost. That’s why it’s silent in there,” Stevenson said when asked about the postgame scene in the locker room. “We all know we have to play better.”
Bills quarterback Josh Allen hit 22 of 33 pass attempts for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Stefon Diggs caught seven passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
After a Buffalo field goal opened the scoring, the New England offense received a jolt when Mac Jones hit Marcus Jones — on the rookie’s first offensive snap of the season — on a 48-yard catch-and-run play to give the Patriots a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter.
But that was the high-water mark for New England. The Bills responded on the first drive of the second half with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs to take a 10-7 lead. Buffalo tacked on another second-quarter score shortly after that when Allen found Gabe Davis for an eight-yard score to make it 17-7.
The Patriots had a chance to close the gap before the end of the first half when Josh Uche strip-sacked Allen and Matthew Judon scooped up the fumble. But a Nick Folk field-goal attempt was off the mark just before the end of the quarter.
The game was effectively ended early in the second half as Allen and the Bills put the hammer down with a withering 15-play, 94-yard drive that ate up 8:55 and ended with a one-yard run from Devin Singletary to make it 24-7 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Below are updates and commentary as posted throughout the game.
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Mac Jones explains sideline rant — 12:18 a.m.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was caught by the television cameras shouting on the sidelines during Thursday’s loss to the Bills. While lip-readers quickly jumped to some conclusions, the quarterback explained his thought process after the games.
“Obviously, I just kind of let my emotions get to me,” he said. “We were kind of playing from behind, and what I said was about throwing it deeper in the short game. I have to [execute] that part better but it was the short game we kept going to, which was working.
“But I I felt like we needed chunk plays, and I shouted that out to kind of get everyone going. That’s emotional. That’s football. I’m passionate about this game.
“Obviously, you don’t want your emotions get the best of you,” added Jones, who finished 22-for-36 for 195 yards and a touchdown.
He said it wasn’t necessarily directed at anyone.
“It wasn’t directed at anybody. Just emotion coming out. We kind of needed a spark. When you are playing from behind against a really good team and a good offense, you have to go out there and make better plays. And that starts with me. It definitely wasn’t good enough by me.”
Mac Jones is having the time of his life under Matt Patricia pic.twitter.com/u4joRkGxHQ— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) December 2, 2022
Devin McCourty: ‘Small mistakes are killing us’ — 12:05 a.m.
Dating back to his rookie year in 2010, defensive back Devin McCourty has seen a lot of football in New England.
After Thursday’s ugly loss to the Bills, he had to remind people that while it’s nice to rely on history and a tradition of making all the small plays add up to something big, it doesn’t always translate to the current edition of the Patriots.
“We have to get out of the mindset of what we used to do in December and have to focus on what we are now,” he said. “The small mistakes are killing us.
“When you fall short, it’s disappointing,” he added. “We have some time. We need to regroup, reset and figure some things out.”
The Bills held a sizable edge in time of possession — 38 minutes to 21 — and were 9-for-15 on third down. McCourty said that was one of the reasons for the loss.
“We have to make more plays. In the first half, definitely third down killed us,” McCourty said. “We were better in the second half. We were able to hold them and get some stops.
“That’s the battle of going against this team — when you get in third-down situations, you need to win more. I thought in the second half we did a better job of that.”
McCourty, who was seemingly heartened by the fact that the Patriots will get another crack at the Bills next month in Buffalo, said the key is good complementary football.
New England didn’t have that Thursday night.
“That’s the balance, if you’re playing against a good football team like the Bills. When we are playing them we have to have all three phases in sync,” he said. “We have to be good in all three phases. I don’t think we brought that tonight.”
No satisfaction for Rhamondre Stevenson — 11:50 p.m.
Maybe the lone offensive bright spot for the Patriots Thursday night was running back Rhamondre Stevenson.
The second-year back out of Oklahoma finished with 10 carries for 54 yards, as well as six catches on eight targets for 24 yards receiving.
But he took no pleasure in those numbers after the 24-10 loss to the Bills.
“We’re not happy. We’re lost. That’s why it’s silent in there,” he said when asked about the postgame scene in the locker room. “We all know we have to play better.”
Stevenson was asked about New England’s red-zone woes, which had them 31st in the league in that department coming into the game
“We’re just not consistent enough — we drive the ball and get into the red area, but we can’t score,” he said. “We need to work on that and work on finishing our drives.
“We know we’re doing wrong and we know what we need to do to start winning and progress in the right direction,” he added. “We know what we have to do. Another week of working on what we need to do the next game.”
Stevenson and others lamented the missed opportunities, including their inability to punch it it for a score after the defense forced a turnover late in the second quarter.
“Every time we get the ball, we preach complementary football,” he said. “Off turnovers, we need to get points. We need to get better.”
Instant Analysis: The Patriots wasted their offseason — 11:42 p.m.
It has been nearly 11 months since the Patriots last faced the Bills, and Thursday night’s game offered the first opportunity to see if the Patriots had closed the gap.
The answer: Nope.
The Patriots forced a couple of punts this time, and weren’t totally embarrassed like they were in the playoffs last January. But Thursday’s loss demonstrated how much the Patriots wasted their offseason.
They didn’t add any elite receivers to help Mac Jones keep up with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. They didn’t add any speedy edge rushers or someone who can corral Allen. They used their first-round draft pick on a guard.
They essentially brought back the same team as last year, and the result was, unsurprisingly, the same — the Bills shredded the Patriots’ defense and toyed with the Patriots’ offense.
Read Ben Volin’s full analysis here.
David Andrews: ‘We have find ways to win’ — 11:34 p.m.
Veteran offensive lineman David Andrews wasn’t making any excuses after Thursday’s ugly 24-10 loss to the Bills at Gillette Stadium.
It was the second consecutive defeat for New England, and the fifth loss in the last six games to the Bills.
“I want to win. We want to win. And we’re not doing that,” said Andrews. “And we have find ways to win. Whatever that is.”
Andrews, who returned from a thigh injury, is part of an offensive line that has struggled with health over the course of the season. On Thursday, the Patriots were without tackle Isaiah Wynn, while fellow tackle Trent Brown was slowed because of an illness.
“Every team deals with it,” Andrews said. “Some teams are more fortunate at times. But injuries happen. Things happen.
“Sometimes you’re fortunate and have a group out there and you maybe stay together,” he added. “Sometimes it’s like this.
“No excuse. You have to do your job.”
Patriots kick a field goal — 11:06 p.m.
Nick Folk connected on a 39-yard field goal to make it 24-10 Bills with 1:53 left.
The most telling stat of the night — 10:37 p.m.
With just over 14 minutes remaining, the big story on this one has been time of possession. The Bills -- who are 8-for-12 on third down — have dominated, holding onto the ball for almost 32 minutes, as opposed to 14 minutes for New England.
Buffalo’s touchdown drives have come after drives of nine, 14, and 15 plays. Just part of why the Bills, who lead 24-7, have had such an overwhelming advantage for much of the night.
Bills cap drive with a touchdown — 10:33 p.m.
The Bills go up 24-7 on a 1-yard touchdown run from Devin Singletary, a score that put the capper on a 15-play, 94-yard drive that took an impressive 8:55 off the clock. Buffalo now has touchdown drives of 15, 14, and nine plays; the Bills have executed at a high level on offense for much of the night.
There’s almost a full quarter left, but given the flow the game to this point, unless the Patriots find some special teams’ magic or a pick-6, this one feels pretty much over. New England has failed to find any sort of offensive consistency all night. Outside of Stevenson (and maybe Marcus Jones), there are no offensive difference-makers out there for the Patriots.
Three quarters in the books — 10:27 p.m.
End of the third quarter. Buffalo leads, 17-7
Stats glance: Mac Jones: 11-18, 109 yards, 1 TD; Rhamondre Stevenson: 10 carries, 54 yards; Marcus Jones: 2 catches, 2 targets, 51 yards, 1 TD
Well, at least the Patriots made it interesting — 10:14 p.m.
An eventful sequence. Let’s recap:
Last week, the Patriots lost a touchdown on a play where Hunter Henry was ruled to have bobbled the ball on the goal line. A similar play just happened to the Bills, as Jordan Poyer appeared to have a pick of Jones, but it was ruled that he didn’t have possession as he was falling out of bounds, and the ball went back to New England. However, the Patriots couldn’t take advantage, and had to punt.
We sang the praises of Marcus Jones earlier tonight after his early touchdown. Let us now praise Rhamondre Stevenson, who has put the New England offense on his back for large stretches of this season. He’s the best big back in the league right now outside of Derrick Henry. On that last drive, he had three straight carries for a combined 24 yards, some rugged work against a talented Buffalo front. He has 10 carries for 54 yards tonight.
After the punt, the Bills take over at their own 6-yard line with 8:26 to go in the third quarter.
Patriots get a key stop to start second half — 10:03 p.m.
Another Buffalo punt. New England will get the ball at its own 20-yard line with 11:45 to go in the third quarter, looking to cut into the Bills’ 17-7 lead.
The biggest question I had about the Buffalo offense was its running game, outside of Allen. But the Bills have managed quality yards on the ground this evening, as Cook and Singletary have averaged more than four yards per carry this evening. We’ll see if they can keep it up the rest of the way.
Patriots have a special guest — 9:55 p.m.
Bruins coach Jim Montgomery is in attendance at Gillette Stadium tonight.
Welcome to Foxboro, @NHLBruins! pic.twitter.com/8JtQHMyZWh— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 2, 2022
Halftime analysis — 9:46 p.m.
The first two quarters are in the books in Foxborough, and the Patriots trail, 17-7.
Pats stats: Mac Jones: 9-for-15, 98 yards, 1 TD; Rhamondre Stevenson: 6 carries, 34 yards; Marcus Jones: 2 catches, 2 targets, 51 yards, 1 TD
Bills stats: Josh Allen: 12-for-21, 118 yards, 2 TDs; Stefan Diggs: 3 catches, 4 targets, 35 yards, 1 TD; James Cook: 8 carries, 50 yards
• A good start and a sluggish finish to the first half for the Patriots’ offense, which got an early jolt with the touchdown pass to Marcus Jones, but couldn’t generate any more offensive rhythm outside of that drive. On defense, New England did force a Buffalo punt for the first time in three games against the Bills and came away with a well-time strip sack from Josh Uche, but Allen’s two touchdown passes were more than enough to build an early lead.
• After the Patriots’ Jones-to-Jones touchdown, a hideous sequence early in the second quarter included a sack of Mac Jones, four New England penalties, and almost concluded with a New England safety (including a delay of game on special teams). The Bills followed that up with a touchdown, and for most of the rest of the half it felt like Buffalo was really enjoying a sizable momentum swing.
• Biggest defensive play of the first half for the Patriots came with less than two minutes left when Josh Uche strip-sacked Allen and Judon collected the loose ball. New England started the drive at its own 42. Problem was the Patriots couldn’t cash in on the takeaway, not only not finding the end zone, but missing the field goal attempt. Brutal.
• It’s easy to make light of the fact that the Patriots hadn’t forced a punt against Buffalo for two-plus games before the second quarter tonight, but the Bills continue to execute very well on third down. (Buffalo is 5-for-8 on third down) New England has committed penalties to keep Buffalo drives alive, but the field awareness from the Bills is really extraordinary. It sounds simple, but they are rarely (if ever) out of position on offense. It pays off when it comes to Buffalo’s ability to move the chains.
• Can we come up with some sort of award for Marcus Jones for what he’s meant to this team this season? They have Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year, but no Special Teams Rookie of the Year. There has to be some way to reward his skill set and his contributions in his first year in the league. The dynamic playmaker scored the first touchdown of the game on his first offensive snap of the season. Smart, quick, and elusive, he’s going to be a major weapon for the Patriots for years to come.
• Before the game, Bill Belichick talked with Scott Zolak about how the Bills move Diggs around in the same fashion as the Vikings do with Jefferson, and that was borne out over much of the first two quarters. Jonathan Jones didn’t necessarily travel with him, but was with him more often than not. Jones appeared to be culpable on that second touchdown pass from Allen where he stopped before the play was done.
• Not a great half for New England’s special teams, as one punt from Palardy near the Patriots’ end zone gave the Bills possession near midfield. (They also had a delay-of-game on a punt attempt.) Nick Folk missed a 48-yard field goal attempt, but converted on his one PAT. The coverage units have been OK. This is the sort of game that feels like New England needs some special teams magic if it’s going to have a chance in the second half.
• The Bills will get the ball to start the second half.
Patriots can’t capitalize on the break they caught — 9:40 p.m.
Oof. A really rough sequence there for New England, which couldn’t cash in on the turnover, as Nick Folk missed a 48-yard field goal attempt. It remains 17-7 with 10 second left in the first half. A big missed opportunity there for the Patriots.
Patriots finally catch a break — 9:34 p.m.
That’s the sort of play the Patriots needed. Uche delivered the sack, and Judon recovered the fumble. Big play. Let’s see if New England can cash in.
🚨 FORCED FUMBLE! 🚨 The @Patriots are back on offense!#BUFvsNE on Prime Video— NFL (@NFL) December 2, 2022
Also available on NFL+ https://t.co/bTTcEL41DH pic.twitter.com/sgWrAfBb1q
The Patriots can’t seem to go anywhere — 9:26 p.m.
New England is 0-for-4 on third down after that last three-and-out. Buffalo gets the ball at its own 43-yard line with 2:03 to go in the half. A key sequence for the Patriots’ defense, which needs to keep this a 10-point game heading into halftime.
Wow, Buffalo actually punted — 9:21 p.m.
A Buffalo punt! It’s the first time New England has forced the Bills to punt dating back to early last season. Considering how things have gone against Buffalo the last two-plus games, it represents a win for New England. The Patriots will take over at their own 15 with 2:55 to go in the half. New England needs points here to answer during what appears to be a key stretch.
Momentum is on Buffalo’s side — 9:16 p.m.
A three-and-out for the Patriots means the ball will go back to Buffalo at its own 29 with 4:04 left in the first half. It feels like the momentum is really starting to swing in Buffalo’s direction, especially when you consider that the Bills will get the ball to start the second half.
Somehow, Josh Allen connected for a TD — 9:10 p.m.
Allen finds Gabe Davis on an 8-yard touchdown pass that came at the end of a scramble play to make it 17-7 with 5:27 left in the half. Allen avoided going out of bounds and whipped the ball into the back of the end zone to a diving Davis.
It was a 14-play, 56-yard drive that took a whopping 7:46 — a steady, consistent sequence for the Bills resulted in a touchdown. Buffalo was able to pick up positive yardage in five- and seven-yard chunks.
The Bills are now 5-for-6 on third down, and Allen is 9-for-14 for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
.@JoshAllenQB stayed inbounds and throws for the TD! 😱#BUFvsNE on Prime Video— NFL (@NFL) December 2, 2022
Also available on NFL+ https://t.co/bTTcEL41DH pic.twitter.com/aK3rKucXTf
A forgettable sequence for Patriots — 8:57 p.m.
On that last drive, Rhamondre Stevenson almost saved them in third-and-long, picking up 16 yards and giving New England a little room to punt. But that was a forgettable sequence for the Patriots, who picked up four penalties in the span of just over a minute. The Bills will take over at their own 44 with 13:13 left in the first half.
Buffalo regains the lead — 8:49 p.m.
Allen-to-Diggs on the first play of the second quarter makes it 10-7 Buffalo with 14:56 to go in the half. A 7-yard touchdown pass where Diggs beats Jonathan Jones for the score.
The Bills were able to extricate themselves from a couple of sizable third-and-long situations over the first quarter-plus, thanks to some penalties and some peerless execution from Allen and the Buffalo offense. Still no punts for the Bills tonight.
.@JoshAllenQB ➡️ @stefondiggs ... what else is new? #BUFvsNE on Prime Video— NFL (@NFL) December 2, 2022
Also available on NFL+ https://t.co/bTTcEL41DH pic.twitter.com/YMFNr0qFPA
A rather entertaining first quarter is over — 8:46 p.m.
First quarter is done. Patriots lead 7-3, but Buffalo is driving.
Stats glance: Mac Jones: 5-5, 82 yards, 1 TD; Stevenson: 2 carries, 4 yards; Marcus Jones: 1 catch, 1 target, 48 yards, 1 TD
Patriots find the end zone first — 8:36 p.m.
Marcus Jones has done it again, this time on offense – a 48-yard touchdown reception where he outraced the Buffalo defenders to reach the end zone. It’s 7-3 New England with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
Jones was the player whose 84-yard punt return for a touchdown gave New England its second victory of the season over the New York Jets in mid-November.
A quick offensive note: Mac Jones has done well to get the ball out quickly on his passing attempts so far this evening, and on the last drive, that paid some dividends. Hunter Henry caught one for nine yards to open the drive, and Agholor added an 11-yard reception shortly after that. Mac did the same on the quick out too Marcus Jones on the touchdown. A good sign for the quarterback, who is 5-for-5 for 82 yards and a touchdown to open the game.
Marcus Jones is a defensive back.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 2, 2022
His first offensive snap of the season was a 48-yard receiving touchdown 😱
Bass connects for 48-yard field goal — 8:28 p.m.
Tyler Bass gets the Bills on the board with a 48-yard field goal with 8:02 to go in the first quarter.
The highlights on that drive included a 19-yarder to Diggs on second down got Buffalo into New England territory. A few plays later, Allen found Nyheim Hines on a 21-yarder down the Buffalo sideline for another first down.
The Patriots caught a break on an offensive pass interference call on Diggs just after that, and a Josh Uche sack and a false start pushed the Bills back, ultimately forcing them to settle for three.
Given the way the Buffalo offense has rolled over New England the last couple of games, that represents a small win for the Patriots’ defense.
Not the best start for Patriots — 8:20 p.m.
On the Patriots’ first series, there was a miscommunication on that third down carry. And there was a near lost fumble on the first drive for the second straight week. (Last week it was Mac who lost a snap before regaining the handle.) Buffalo will get the ball at its 33 with 12:51 left in the first quarter of a scoreless game.
Official Price Prediction — 8:01 p.m.
The Patriots’ margin for error tonight is just too slim, Everything has to go right for them to win these types of games, and that’s a lot to ask of a team that is coming into tonight with a paper-thin offensive line. (Despite the much-needed return of David Andrews.)
I think New England is going to be competitive, provided Mac Jones continues to get the ball out as quickly as he did last week against the Vikings, but Buffalo just has too much on both sides of the ball. Bills 27, Patriots 23.
What happens tonight? #Patriots #Bills— Christopher Price (@cpriceglobe) December 1, 2022
A few words from Bill Belichick — 7:50 p.m.
Some takeaways from Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s game-day chat with Scott Zolak on 98.5 The Sports Hub:
What can you learn from last week’s loss and maybe apply it this week against Buffalo? “Buffalo is a team that we know from the past, but we have to grind through the preparations every time we play them,” Belichick said. “Obviously, [Buffalo is] a very competitive, very good team. In the end [last week], just gave up too many points, and didn’t score enough. Tonight, this’ll be a big test for us.”
On the changes at kicker with Tristan Vizcaino, and the decision to promote some offensive linemen: “Tristan will handle kickoffs tonight, and that will give us a little more depth on the offensive line.
On David Andrews and the rest of the offensive line: “I think we should get Dave back tonight. … We’re also dealing with a couple of guys who aren’t feeling 100 percent. We’ll see where we are at at game time.”
On the difference between the Bills this year and last year: “[Offensively], I think they are using more 21 and 12 personnel this year. They were almost exclusively in 11 personnel last year. … They [change] it and try and get the best matchup against the team they are playing. Their defense looks the same except for [Von] Miller, who won’t play tonight.”
On Bills quarterback Josh Allen: “This guy is hard to get down the ground and hard to tackle,” he said. “He can extend plays to throw and ext plays to run. … He’s a tough guy to stop. One of the top players in the league.”
Did facing a guy like Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson last week maybe get you ready to face someone like Bills receiver Stephon Diggs? “I think there are probably some similarities there. Both guys move around a lot. … Defensive awareness will be important for us tonight. They’re a very formidable team.”
Pregame scenes — 7:20 p.m.
Both Tristan Vizcaino (foreground) and Nick Folk taking practice kicks to the south end zone. Wind has died way down inside the Gillette. #Patriots pic.twitter.com/FIIkdRuuGX— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) December 2, 2022
Josh Allen coming in from initial warmups in a Ryan Fitzpatrick jersey pic.twitter.com/qkCUD1odlE— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) December 1, 2022
A brisk night in Foxborough. Football season starts after Thanksgiving pic.twitter.com/aP7TI5FkSk— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) December 1, 2022
What the oddsmakers are saying — 7:15 p.m.
Tonight’s betting line has Buffalo as the favorite, with most outlets at anywhere between 3.5 and 5 points, with the over/under set at 43.5.
A few numbers, courtesy of Odds Shark:
• Buffalo is 1-4 against the spread in its last five games.
• The total has gone under in seven of Buffalo’s last nine games.
• Buffalo is 13-4 straight-up in its 17 games, and 4-1 straight-up in its last five against New England.
• New England is 6-2 against the spread in its last eight.
• New England is 5-2 straight up in its last seven games.
• The total has gone over in four of New England’s last six against Buffalo.
• The total has gone over in eight of New England’s last 11 at home.
As for long-term odds, BetOnline has New England at 100-1 to win the Super Bowl (Kansas City has replaced Buffalo at the top of that list), and Bill Belichick at 100-1 to win coach of the year. (Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni is tops at 5-7.)
• Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon is 18-1 to win defensive player of the year. (Third overall behind Dallas’s Micah Parsons and San Francisco’s Nick Bosa.)
• Patriots defensive back Jack Jones is still on the board for defensive rookie of the year at 60-1. (The Jets’ Sauce Gardner is getting the best odds at 2-7.)
Inactives: David Andrews, Jakobi Meyers both available — 6:55 p.m.
Patriots: RB Damien Harris, T Isaiah Wynn, CB Shaun Wade, FS Joshuah Bledsoe, T Yodny Cajuste, NT Carl Davis, CB Jalen Mills.
Bills: OT Dion Dawkins, CB Kaiir Elam, LB Baylon Spector, S Dean Marlowe, TE Quinton Morris
Analysis: Running back Damien Harris and tackle Isaiah Wynn were declared out in advance, which means a lot of work for Rhamondre Stevenson. I’d also expect youngster Kevin Harris to get a little run in hopes of getting Stevenson a breather from time to time.
Tackle Yodny Cajuste (calf/back) is out, which means Conor McDermott and Bill Murray are candidates to see time as backups along the offensive line if New England sustains an injury up front and has to do a little shuffling.
Jalen Mills (groin) was limited all week with a groin issue, which means the top end of the cornerback depth chart — Jonathan and Jack Jones — will have an awful lot on their plate tonight as they try and do their part to slow the Buffalo passing attack.
Healthy scratches include safety Joshuah Bledsoe, cornerback Shaun Wade, and defensive lineman Carl Davis.
Among the notable actives tonight include tackle Trent Brown, who popped up on the injury report earlier today with an illness, as well as center David Andrews, who has struggled with thigh and concussion issues over the last month-plus and was questionable coming into the evening. In addition, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who sustained a shoulder injury last week against Minnesota and was limited all week, is good to go this evening.
Patriots-Bills by the numbers — 6:49 p.m.
A few numbers to consider tonight, many of which are courtesy of the Patriots’ PR staff:
• Tonight’s game will mark the 200th of defensive back Devin McCourty’s career. He has started every game he has played (199), and is third in team history in starts and sixth in team history in games played. (He trails only Tom Brady and Bruce Armstrong when it comes to starts in New England; they had 283 and 212, respectively.)
• With one interception tonight, McCourty would move into first place on the list of active players with most career interceptions. He’s tied with Harrison Smith of Minnesota with 33.
• If kicker Nick Folk finishes with two points tonight, he’ll move past Stanley Morgan into seventh place on the all-time list of franchise scoring leaders.
• Linebacker Matthew Judon has a career-high 13 sacks, and is on pace to finish with 20 sacks. A player has finished with 20 sacks in a season 13 times, however, the Patriots have never had a player lead the NFL in sacks. Andre Tippett is the only Patriots player that has had more sacks in a season than Judon with 18.5 sacks in 1984 and 16.5 sacks in 1985.
• Running back Rhamondre Stevenson has 50 receptions this season; with two more tonight, he’d land in the top 10 in franchise history for most catches in a season by a running back or fullback. (James White has the franchise record with 87.)
Weather will be a factor tonight — 6:22 p.m.
The weather for tonight’s game will be interesting. Temperatures will be in the mid- to low-30s with a good breeze out of the west. It’ll be the second game of the year where temperatures are expected to be in the 30s — the home game against the Jets last month registered 37 degrees at kickoff. (In that one, winds reached 17 m.p.h.; according to weather.com, it won’t get that blustery tonight. They’re calling for winds between 6 and 12 m.p.h. this evening in Foxborough.)
Overall, through the first 11 games of the 2022 season, the Patriots are 1-1 when the temps are 80 or above at kickoff, 1-0 when it’s between 70 and 79, 1-2 when it’s been in the 60s, 2-1 when it’s been in the 50s, and 1-0 when it’s been in the 30s. (One game — last week in Minnesota — has been in a dome.)
A Patriots fan’s rooting guide for NFL Week 13 — 6:00 p.m.
New England fans, consider this a clip and save chart for what you should be rooting for when you watch the NFL this weekend:
Broncos (3-8) at Ravens (7-4): I’m not sure anyone has any faith in Denver at this point, but if the Broncos and Patriots (6-5) win, New England could draw closer to a Baltimore team looking to bounce back after a tough loss to the Jags last weekend.
Jets (7-4) at Vikings (9-2): Skol! One week after they knocked off the Patriots, the Vikings could give New England a lift if they found a way to hand a pesky New York team a loss.
Titans (7-4) at Eagles (10-1): See Broncos-Ravens. If New England and Philly win, the Patriots would be knotted with Tennessee at 7-5.
Dolphins (8-3) at Niners (7-4): Jimmy Garoppolo could do his old team a favor here; if he can beat Miami and New England can find a way to defeat Buffalo, the Patriots would be a game behind the Dolphins with a divisional game in Foxborough looming later in the season.
Chiefs (9-2) at Bengals (7-4): Strange days indeed, but New England would be helped most by a Kansas City win; the Patriots and Bengals could then be part of a group sitting at 7-5.
Chargers (6-5) at Raiders (4-7): Another member of New England’s alumni club — Josh McDaniels — could help his old team. If the Patriots win and LA loses to Las Vegas, New England could gain some separation from the Bolts.
Meet tonight’s referee — 5:55 p.m.
Shawn Hochuli is working tonight’s game as the lead official. He’s the son of you-know-who, and is in his fifth season as an NFL referee.
According to NFLPenalties.com, his crew averages 12 penalties a game, which is middle-of-the-pack when it comes to the rest of the league. In terms of road-home splits, his stats this season reveal an official who has called slightly more penalties on the road team (6.18 on average) as opposed to the home team (5.82).
This will be his first Patriots game of the season, and his first since Sept. 19, 2021, a 25-6 win for New England over the Jets.
Pregame reading list — 5:45 p.m.
Best way to get ready for tonight’s contest? Your personally curated pregame reading list:
• Nicole Yang: Here are five thoughts on the Patriots ahead of Thursday night’s showdown against the Bills
• Nicole Yang: Damien Harris, Isaiah Wynn ruled out for Patriots vs. Bills on Thursday
• Chad Finn: The Patriots have yet to beat a high-quality quarterback. Will it happen Thursday against Josh Allen and the Bills?
• Jim McBride: Here’s how the Patriots plan to contain Bills quarterback Josh Allen
• Jim McBride: For the Patriots to crush the next big test, it’s all about stopping Bills quarterback Josh Allen
• Chad Finn: Here’s how fans can watch the Patriots’ ‘Thursday Night Football’ matchup against the Bills
• Ben Volin: Mac Jones is still searching for that signature, fourth-quarter win
• Christopher L. Gasper: We’ll find out Thursday against the Bills whether the Patriots defense is for real
• Jim McBride: Rhamondre Stevenson — primed for a heavy load vs. the Bills with Damien Harris injured — has a do-it-all reputation and it didn’t come easy
• Ben Volin: NFL Week 12: The balance of power has shifted in the AFC East, and it’s not in the Patriots’ favor
Christopher Price can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.