The Buffalo Bills are in control of the AFC East and are in a prime position to end the New England Patriots‘ 12-year run of AFC East dominance. Buffalo had to sweat out a thrilling 24-21 victory over New England as Patriots quarterback Cam Newton fumbled at the Bills’ 14-yard line with 37 seconds to play.
New England, trailing by three points in the final minute, had a field goal of at least 31 yards lined up to force overtime. The Patriots were facing a second-and-10 at the Bills’ 19-yard line when Newton took a designed handoff to the left side for five yards. Justin Zimmer forced a fumble for Buffalo, which was recovered by Dean Marlowe to seal the Buffalo victory. New England had two-time outs remaining when Newton fumbled, being in a position to steal a victory in Buffalo.
Newton finished 15 of 25 for 174 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, also having nine carries for 54 yards and a score — his sixth rushing touchdown of the season. The fumble was his only turnover. New England has started 2-5 for the first time since 2000, the first season Bill Belichick was head coach of the franchise. The Patriots trail the Bills by 3.5 games in the AFC East standings and their four-game losing streak is the longest for the franchise since 2002.
The Bills have started 6-2 for the second consecutive season, the first time in franchise history they’ve accomplished that feat. They have not won a division title since 1995.