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Fourth quarter analysis: Bills fall away late vs. Patriots, but big game is next week

It felt like the Bills hung with the Patriots for much of Sunday's game, but the disparity in the fourth quarter made the difference obvious.

The Patriots scored touchdowns on both of their meaningful possessions and pushed their lead to 37-16 while the Bills gained just 70 yards on three drives, scoring zero points.

LeSean McCoy had a strong game, finishing with 71 rushing yards and 76 receiving yards, and Tyrod Taylor threw for a near-season-high 281 yards, but the Bills' best offense Sunday was Jordan Poyer's interception return. The offense didn't get into the end zone in either meeting against the Patriots this season.

That makes it all the more curious why coach Sean McDermott didn't get more aggressive late. The Bills had fourth and 1 from the Patriots' 32-yard line with 13:13 to play while trailing 23-16. Sean McDermott instead elected to try a 50-yard field goal, which Stephen Hauschka missed wide right.

The good news for the Bills was that they didn't tremendously need Sunday's game to make the playoffs. Their most important result is a win next week against the Dolphins, and help from another wild-card contender.

Wright banged up: CB Shareece Wright had to be checked on after making a tackle with his helmet. He started Sunday with E.J. Gaines out.

Gronk watch: As much as it was discussed during the week, there was no apparent retaliation against Rob Gronkowski for his dirty hit on Tre'Davious White during their last meeting. Gronkowski finished with 67 yards and a touchdown.

Here's the NFL's explanation for overturning Kelvin Benjamin's touchdown vs. Patriots

First quarter analysis: Bills chew up yards, clock in opening quarter

Second quarter analysis: NFL takes touchdown away from Benjamin, Bills (video)

Third quarter analysis: Mike Gillislee scores against the Bills

 

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