New England Patriots

Dec 28, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs the ball for a touchdown against New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) and defensive back Jonathan Jones (31) in the half quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

For the first time in 20 years, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots will finish the year with a losing record. A downer of a stat made official by way of a 38-9 Monday Night Football beatdown from Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium.

And for the Patriots, it never got better than their 3-0 lead established on the game’s opening drive, and when they brought themselves back within a point following a Cam Newton bulldozing through the Bills and into the endzone for what was the Patriots’ first touchdown in nine quarters (and 24 possessions).

It was the exclamation point on what was a nine-play, 90-yard touchdown drive. But even when things went right, they went wrong, as Nick Folk missed what would’ve been a game-tying extra point try. (Folk entered the field with 26 straight field goal makes to his name and 26-for-28 on the year on extra-point attempts.)

And the Bills responded by dropping 28 unanswered points on the Patriots, led by three touchdown grabs from Stefon Diggs, including a 50-yard grab that left the Patriots chasing after a waving Diggs.

In addition to those three scores, Diggs finished the night with nine catches and 145 yards.

Allen, meanwhile, finished 27-for-36 for 320 yards and four touchdowns.

Across the sideline, Newton struggled once again, with completions on just five of his 10 passing attempts for 34 total yards. Newton nearly struck for a passing touchdown on some first-drive trickery, but boinked the ball off Damiere Byrd’s face.

The Patriots made the switch from Newton to Jarrett Stidham with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, too, and the second-year pro finished with 44 yards on 4-for-11 passing.

Both struggled to do much of anything other than throw the ball at their receivers’ feet.

That left Sony Michel as the Patriots’ lone bright spot on offense, with 69 yards on 10 carries.

With the loss, and with the Patriots dropping their prior 2020 meeting with Buffalo, the Patriots have been swept in a season series by an AFC East foe for the first time since 2000, which saw them swept by both the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

The Patriots will conclude their by all means miserable 2020 season with a Week 17 head-to-head against the Jets. who dropped out of the race for the No. 1 overall pick with their win against the Cleveland Browns, next Sunday.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.