FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – You definitely see the flaws. Tom Brady throwing interceptions and missing throws he typically completes. Rob Gronkowski not catching a single pass.
Those haven’t been so familiar during the New England Patriots' dynasty and their domination of the Buffalo Bills.
Then, you see the final score: Patriots 24, Bills 12.
That’s very familiar.
Despite looking less than machinelike at times and actually giving the Bills chances to hang around with three turnovers Sunday – chances the Bills squandered with dropped passes, a pair of turnovers of their own, and horrific run defense – the 10-5 Pats were able to comfortably win their 10th consecutive AFC East crown. It is the first time in NFL history that a team was won 10 straight division titles.
It was so comfortable that they allowed Brian Hoyer take over at quarterback with 6:39 left in the game.
The Bills’ offense was a comedy of errors. An early sign of things to come was a wide-open Robert Foster being unable to catch a deep throw from Josh Allen because, as the receiver gestured, the sun was in his eyes.
Foster also failed to make a catch near the goal line, Isaiah McKenzie had a drop in the end zone, and Logan Thomas let a ball sail through his hands at the goal line.
Brady finished with a mere 126 passing yards and a TD, with a pair of interceptions, and a passer rating of 48.3.
It didn’t matter, though, as the Patriots’ ground attack continually ripped through the Bills for 273 of their 390 yards.
Meanwhile, the Bills, with LeSean McCoy back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him last week, ran for only 72 yards. McCoy had nine on six carries.
The Bills got a late touchdown on a pass from Josh Allen to Zay Jones, the first offensive touchdown that the Bills have scored in Sean McDermott's four games against New England.
Allen was 20 for 41 for 217 yards and two interceptions.
The Bills were unable to execute the extra point on another day that was filled with special teams errors.
The win was the Patriots’ fifth in a row against the Bills, who are 5-10.
Some things never change, even when they don’t quite look the same.