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Bills didn’t even stand a chance

Carmen's Column

AP Photo New England Patriots defensive back Stephon Gilmore (24) breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Foster, (16) during the first half of Sunday's game, in Foxborough, Mass.

Sunday was as predictable as a result as we’ve seen all year in the NFL. The New England Patriots handled the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, 24-12, to clinch the AFC East for the 10th straight year.

The frustrating part for Bills fans on Sunday is that Buffalo never even felt like they had a chance from the minute the game began.

The Bills began with back-to-back three-and-outs, while New England capped off its second drive of the game with a 4-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Sony Michel. The Buffalo defense, that many have credited as the biggest strength of the team, was gashed over and over again by the running game of New England. The Bills allowed 273 rushing yards, two touchdowns and a total of 15 first downs rushing on Sunday.

Buffalo was out of it early, even with Tom Brady looking as human as ever in his tenure in New England — and that’s been the case all year long.

This year’s New England Patriots are not the overwhelming presence that they have been for the better part of two decades. If you don’t believe me, try to think of how many years that New England has entered Week 16 without already having the division clinched. It’s not very many.

New England is vulnerable, despite what it seemed like on Sunday. The Patriots lost to teams like Jacksonville, Detroit, Miami and Tennessee — and only put up 10 points in an embarrassing effort in Pittsburgh just a week ago.

Still, Buffalo stumbled into New England without ever seeming to have a chance.

It’s fair for Bills fans to wonder how much longer this could possibly go on, but Sunday certainly wasn’t an encouraging sign.

With an exciting, athletic, young quarterback like Josh Allen, the Bills should never look as bad as they did on Sunday. His athleticism should be enough to at least give fans something to watch for. But that wasn’t the case on Sunday. Allen disappeared on Sunday, with only a garbage time touchdown to Zay Jones to his credit, after Brady was already pulled from the game. Allen only managed 30 yards on the ground, proving how pedestrian he can look when he doesn’t use his athleticism to make plays for the Bills’ stagnant offense.

To make matters worse, LeSean McCoy only touched the ball nine times. Bills head coach Sean McDermott decided to make a statement by not starting McCoy, who referred to the decision as a “situation” and that McDermott “put (McCoy) in place.” It’s becoming clear that McCoy is on his way out of Buffalo, and may be playing in his final game in Buffalo next week.

With or without McCoy, the Bills were a boring team on Sunday, as they have been at many times this season. Until something changes in Buffalo — or in New York or Miami, for that matter — the New England Patriots will continue to win the AFC East, even if by default.

Twitter: @bradencarmen

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