On a rainy afternoon in Foxboro, MA the 11-4 New England Patriots faced the 6-9 Buffalo Bills in their final game of the 2013 NFL season. With wins by the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals in the earlier timeslot, the game became a must win for New England to hold on the #2 seed and a bye in the playoffs.
The Patriots knew Buffalo, with their dynamic front seven, would be difficult to throw against. The Patriots lost wide receiver Aaron Dobson early in the game to a foot injury. With rookie Josh Boyce already out, the Patriots seemed to go two wide receiver with Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman along with two tight ends or a fullback for most of the game.
It was a sloppy game in the rain as both teams leaned on the running game. Quarterback Tom Brady only threw for 122 yards, but with Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount running hard on the slippery surface. The Patriots rushed for 267 yards and Blount accounted for 189 yards on 24 carries and Ridley added another 74 on only 12 carries. Blount had two over 30 yard touchdown runs and also kick returns of 82 and 62 yards.
For New England, it was a strong game where it would have been easy to give up with the bad weather. The defense held down the Bills for a good part of three quarters. The Bills racked up almost 400 total yards, but the defense was able to make some big stops for New England. Most encouraging for the defense was that they were able to win and hold down the point totals without the benefit of a number of turnovers.
In the end, New England won 34-20 and locked up the number two spot in the AFC and a first round bye in the playoffs. The Patriots will have a week off to get healthy and have a home playoff game in the Divisional round.