How Bills reacted after sweeping Patriots for first time since 1999

With 11:56 remaining in the fourth quarter of a blowout, the Bills essentially called off the dogs on the Patriots.
As they led 38-9, the Bills took out starting quarterback Josh Allen, who had already thrashed the Patriots for 320 yards and four touchdowns, and replaced him with backup Matt Barkley. It was already over, and they probably could have even made the change much sooner.
Allen and the Bills, the AFC East champion, have eyes on the No. 2 seed and more important games to play. And if it wasn’t already clear, the Bills marched into Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots have dominated them for the last two decades, and ripped the torch away from their division rival with a statement 38-9 rout.
It’s a new world in the AFC East. For the first time since 1999, the Bills swept their season series against the Patriots, and they did it in emphatic fashion that left no doubt who the new kings of the division are.
“It feels great,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “It’s hard enough to win in the NFL, regardless of who you’re playing. This is an organization being the Patriots that have given the Bills fits over the years, and so to win both games this year against the Patriots and to win the way we did tonight I think speaks volumes about our players and the coaches and again, the team that (general manager) Brandon (Beane)’s put on the field.”
In Week 8, the Bills held on for a 24-21 victory in Buffalo when Cam Newton lost a fumble in the final minute to end the Patriots’ potentially game-winning drive. This one was never close.
The Bills ran circles around them this time, starting with a successful fake punt play in the first quarter that helped set up a go-ahead touchdown. The Patriots had no answers for Allen and their passing attack, and specifically wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who continued his record-breaking season with nine receptions for 145 yards and three touchdowns.
Bill Belichick was so frustrated that he was seen slamming a phone on the sideline early in the second half after a failed challenge. The Patriots coach is used to enjoying beatdowns over the Bills, having won 35 of 40 meetings against them before this season. It was the second-most lopsided loss of the Belichick era, only behind their 31-0 loss to the Bills in 2003, but the Patriots’ most lopsided home loss under Belichick.
Still, the Bills took nothing for granted coming into Monday night. They certainly never expected the cakewalk it became.
“At the beginning of the game, like before the game started, even the communication that we had within our team was that we’re still playing a good team,” Diggs said. “No team in this league is ever going to give up, and they’re still a good team in my eyes. They don’t have some of the same pieces that they had in the past like Tom Brady and guys that they had in the past, but they’re still a good team. They might not have had success, but they’re a well-coached team, they’re a well-coached defense, they still have had success all year.”
When McDermott embraced Belichick at midfield after the game, the Patriots coach had nothing but praise. It was a special moment for McDermott, whose Bills have been knocking on the door the last few years and finally broke through.
“He was very complimentary, and I certainly appreciate that,” McDermott said. “A lot of respect for what he’s been able to do. So I just think it says a lot about the way we’re doing things as an organization, not just on the field what people see, but off the field. It’s not just the team I’m talking about. It’s the extended team, the way we do things, in ticketing, community relations, the business side of our operation and organization, so I just think it’s a standard across the board, not just on the field.”
“Pretty cool. He’s a legend in terms of what he’s been able to do and I certainly appreciate that and I’m humbled by it.”
Allen was reserved in his comments about the significance of the Bills’ sweep over the Patriots, saying it’s just their 12th win and the team has its mind on bigger things. But toppling the Pats and assuming supremacy of the division is certainly a big step in their big-picture goals.
That’s not lost on Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins, who is demanding respect for a team that has long been an afterthought.
“We have evolved as an organization and a team that we’re nobody’s little brother, that we’re nobody’s little cousin, little dog, no,” Dawkins said. “We are here, you’re going to respect us, you’re going to play us hard, you’re going to circle us on your schedule and we’re going to give you the hardest 60 minutes of football you’ve ever seen. We’re going to keep doing it over and over and over again if we want to be in the position we want to be, and that’s contenders.”

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