FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Years later, this just might be remembered as the “Kelvin Benjamin Game.”
Of course, that’s not a good thing for the Buffalo Bills, who fell to 8-7 on the season with a 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
The enduring play from the game will undoubtedly be Benjamin’s touchdown catch in the second quarter. Or, non-touchdown catch. After a lengthy review, officials determined Benjamin did not have complete control of the ball before going out of bounds, calling it an incomplete pass. The Bills settled for a 23-yard field goal to tie the game, 13-13, at halftime, instead of possibly having a 17-13 lead.
“I mean, definitely, but you know ref made the call, and you've got to get over that,” Benjamin said when asked if he thought it was a touchdown. “We just wanted to move on, and come back out in the second half and try to put points on the board. … You can only control what you can control.”
Benjamin said the Bills were “energetic” at halftime, even after his play was reversed.
“The score was basically 0-0, you know what I'm saying? So we just wanted to come back out and try to put some points on the board,” he said.
Benjamin did his best to remain diplomatic after the game, but he told ESPN after the game that some of his teammates were saying “only the Patriots could get a call like that.”
Benjamin’s non-touchdown overshadowed what was his best performance since coming to the Bills in a trade deadline acquisition with the Carolina Panthers. After registering nine catches for 120 yards in his first four games with the Bills, he had five catches for 70 yards Sunday against New England. Benjamin has been playing through a torn meniscus in his right knee suffered in Week 11 against the Chargers, an injury that will likely require surgery after the year.
He had a 35-yard gain on the final play of the third quarter, beating former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore down the left sideline. That got Buffalo into scoring territory, but the drive stalled four plays later when Stephen Hauschka missed a 50-yard field goal wide right.
“That’s definitely something we’ve got to do better, when we get down toward the red zone, is punching it in,” Benjamin said.
Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor targeted Benjamin seven times. He was asked after the game why that number wasn’t higher.
“Just executing the plays that was called,” Taylor said. “KB did a great job of winning his matchups when the opportunity presented itself. We can be better at getting him the ball and getting him going, but there's so many playmakers on our team that have to get the ball as well, too. Across the board today, I mean we drove the ball down the field, we just didn't put it in the end zone when we needed to.”