Dec. 7 (UPI) — The New England Patriots leaned on their running game and defense to combat windy weather, piling up 222 rushing yards on 46 carries to beat the Buffalo Bills in a low-scoring matchup in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones completed just 2 of 3 passes for 19 yards against 40-mph wind gusts in the 14-10 victory Monday at Highmark Stadium. Patriots running back Damien Harris ran for 111 yards and a score on 10 carries.
“The coaches have been in a lot of game like this, in every type of element and know what it takes to win,” Jones told reporters.
“We knew if we just held onto the ball, we’d be OK. When we do that, we win like 93% of the time so we gotta continue to do that.”
Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed 15 of 30 passes for 145 yards and a score. He also ran for a team-high 39 yards on six carries, but lost a fumble.
The teams combined for 471 total yards. The Patriots reached the red zone just once.
“We knew their plan coming in, but you had the weather on top of it,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “You gotta score points to get them out of that [strategy]. … And we turned the ball over. It was sloppy football.”
The Patriots and Bills exchanged punts on the first three drives of the game. Allen fumbled on the fourth drive.
The Patriots took the lead three plays later when Harris ran for a 64-yard touchdown. They also converted on a two-point conversion for an 8-0 edge.
The Bills recovered a muffed punt return on the next drive. They scored on the next snap when Allen connected with Gabriel Davis for a 14-yard touchdown.
Patriots kicker Nick Folk made a 41-yard field goal on the next drive for an 11-7 edge 3:32 into the second quarter. The Patriots held that lead through halftime.
Bills kicker Tyler Bass made a 35-yard kick midway through the third quarter. Folk answered with a successful 34-yard attempt two minutes into the fourth. Neither team scored for the final 13 minutes of the game.
Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught four passes for a game-high 51 yards in the loss. Linebacker Matthew Judon and defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale totaled one sack apiece for the Patriots.
“We played the way we felt like we needed to play to win,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We scored enough points. There was a lot of situational football.
“You’ve gotta give the players a lot of credit for being tough, being discipline, being resilient and dealing with a really good football team and conditions that were somewhat challenging.”
The Patriots (9-4) face the Indianapolis Colts (7-6) at 8:20 p.m. EST Dec. 18 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Bills (7-5) battle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3) at 4:25 p.m. EST Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.