|New England Patriots||3||6||14||0||23|
The Bills came into week 13 only two weeks removed from a brutal three gaming losing streak in which they lost all three games by an average of 27 points. The slump was capped off in memorable fashion by the Nathan Peterman 5 INT blowout debacle against the Chargers (54-24). Despite the recent struggles at QB and despite the fact that the Patriots had won 29 of the last 34 matchups, there is always one thing you can count on with the Buffalo Bills.
You can almost guarantee that Bills fans will show up to Ralph Wilson Stadium in their Jim Kelly jerseys, Timberland boots and zubaz pajama pants and they will get plastered enough to throw each other through tables. Say what you want about the Bills product on the field but the Bills Mafia is a tradition like no other. Week 13 was no exception, and of course what would a Buffalo tailgate be without the coup d'etat of Bills Mafia tailgate: Bills fans choke slamming other Bills fans through tables.
But alas, there was a game to play. Tyrod Taylor had stopped the bleeding in a week 14 over the Chiefs but a first quarter knee injury against the Patriots prevented Taylor from ever really finding his rhythm. Peterman was handed the keys in the 4th quarter and, to everyone's surprise, he managed to throw passes solely to players on his own team. After some early season struggles the defensive unit was really hitting its stride as the Patriots won their 8th straight contest. They limited the anemic Bills offense to 3 points on only 268 total yards (3rd lowest total yards allowed by the Patriots in the regular season). Despite a promising Bills opening drive, any dreams of a Buffalo upset were dashed early when recently signed Eric Lee intercepted Taylor on the goal line. The Bills performed to their reputation. From the opening drive onwards a double digit loss looked inevitable.
The Patriots offense clocked in an efficient (although unspectacular) performance. Brady completed 70% of his passes (21/30) and finished with 258 yards in the air with no TDs and 1 INT. The ground game did most of the heavy lifting between Dion Lewis (15 carries 92 yards) and Rex Burkhead (12 carries 78 yards 2 TDs). Lewis managed to add a grown man stiff arm to his highlight reel as he continued his late season surge in confidence. Burkhead had his best game as a Patriot and essentially ended the game with his second TD late in the 3rd quarter.
But ohhhh boy, just because the game was in hand did not mean the fireworks were over. With 4:50 left in the game Rob Gronkowski apparently misplaced his marbles and dropped the people's elbow into the back of Bills rookie CB Tre'Davious White's head after an INT. It was a move pulled right out the professional wrestling playbook (gotta put them on tape for his post-retirement audition right?).
Gronkowski was hit with a one game suspension and apologized postgame, saying "It just happened naturally through emotions and frustration, and I just want to apologize to Tre'Davious White," but the drama certainly did not stop there. Despite not missing any additional game time due to the hit, White told reporters "I'm glad I had my mouthpiece in, I probably could've bit my tongue off. I bit my lip pretty bad. Terrible headache…. He snuck me with my back turned. He could have broke my neck. I mean, I got a son to raise." Sounds to me like the apology was not accepted.
Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN analyst stoked some flames on ESPN Radio sharing a text conversation with White "He said the whole 'hood want 'em, you know what I mean? The whole 'hood want Gronk, for sure. I mean, that's the exact text: 'The whole 'hood want 'em.' " The sports talk radio drama machine was on HIGH alert leading up to the rematch three weeks later; however, this game itself ended up being exceptionally uneventful.