New England Patriots Fall Shy of Playoffs


Colin Morley, Staff Writer

For the second time in the past three seasons, the New England Patriots have failed to make the postseason, finishing with a regular season record of 8-9. Their disappointing season came to an end Sunday, January 8th, with a 35-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Coming into week 18 of the NFL season, the Patriots held onto the last playoff seed with a mediocre 8-8 record. A win against the Bills would’ve clinched a playoff spot for the Patriots for the second consecutive year.

Sunday’s game began with a ceremony honoring Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin. The Buffalo Bills safety is actively recovering from a cardiac arrest injury that he suffered in a week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. This week, teams across the NFL honored Hamlin and his family to show the importance of player safety. 

The division rivalry game started off with a bang, as Bills’ kick returner Nyheim Hines took off for a 100-yard scamper to give the Bills an early 7-0 lead. The Patriots then struck back as Patriots receiver Jakobi Myers hauled in a touchdown reception in the back of the end zone, evening the score at 7. The Bills scored next as Bills quarterback Josh Allen connected with tight end Dawson Knox to go up 14–7. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones then completed his second touchdown pass of the day with receiver DeVante Parker. A key Patriot interception by safety Devon McCourty kept the Bills from scoring and ended the half tied 14-14.

As the second half began, the Bills’ special teams caught fire as Nyheim Hines returned his second kickoff of the game, giving the Bills the lead. A Patriot fumble recovery set the Patriots up in the red zone but would only lead to a field goal by Nick Folk. Josh Allen then connected with receiver Stefon Diggs for a long touchdown pass, creating separation in the Bills’ lead. However, the Patriots came firing back as DeVante Parker hauled in his second touchdown of the day, offering hope to New England fans. By the end of the game, the Bills held on to win 35-23, ultimately eliminating the Patriots from playoff contention. 

Even though the season ended poorly, New England fans have reasons to be optimistic about the future, including the development and progression of second-year quarterback Mac Jones, who finished the season throwing 3 touchdown passes against a solid Bills defense. The Patriot Nation should also be optimistic about the defense: The New England defense led the league in defensive touchdowns. Changes are necessary, but if key decisions are made this offseason, the future looks bright for Patriot Nation.