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GRINCHED: Bills lose in New England as Pats get another favorable call (full coverage)

Like several times before, the Bills looked like they had the New England Patriots on the ropes in their own stadium, but some negative plays and some untimely officiating prevented any threat of an upset. Buffalo took a precarious 16-13 lead into the latter stages of the third quarter, but they couldn’t make it stand up. New England scored the last 24 points of the game in route to a 37-16 win over Buffalo.

Unfortunately, the officials played a role in the outcome. At the end of the first half the officiating crew overruled what appeared to be a clean touchdown catch by Kelvin Benjamin in the right rear corner of the end zone.

With six seconds left, Benjamin pulled the pass in from Tyrod Taylor over the head of cornerback Stephon Gilmore, got his left foot down and dragged his right toe on the turf before going out of bounds. The play was ruled a touchdown, but replay ruled it incomplete.

Had the touchdown counted Buffalo would’ve been ahead at the half 17-13. Instead they had to settle for a short field goal to tie the game at 13.

The second-half surge by the Patriots rendered the controversial call somewhat moot. Buffalo was outscored 24-3 in the second half falling to 8-7 on the season. The Bills now have a ‘must win’ situation in Week 17 when they travel to Miami to face the Dolphins to stay alive for a possible AFC Wild Card berth.


PREVIEW:

Sunday’s game is much more meaningful for the Bills than it is the Patriots, considering New England already clinched a playoff berth and Buffalo is on the verge of doing so for the first time since 1999. Regardless, both teams will battle it out as playoff implications are at stake.

The Patriots (11-3) are currently in first place in the AFC and clinched the division in Week 15. If they can pull off a win on Sunday, their path throughout the playoffs will get much easier.

“Well I would say it’s just as big of game for us as it is them. It’s a playoff-type game. It has playoff implications on both sides,” Patriots safety Duron Harmon said. “So we know they’re going to come ready but we’re going to come ready too because, like I said, we know how important this game is for us.” Read More

MORE BILLS PREGAME COVERAGE:

How the Bills can snap the drought and make the playoffs (WHEC)
Bills Today: Both sides treating Sunday like playoff football (BuffaloBills.com)
Tom Brady, the Bills fan (BuffaloBills.com)
What they’re saying: Bills-Patriots game predictions (BuffaloBills.com)
Benjamin: I want to show I’m not a quitter (BuffaloBills.com)
Gronk hit no longer troubles White (WROC)
Remarkable results for Bills brand new secondary (BuffaloBills.com)
White focused on Bills beating Patriots, not Gronkowski hit (WHEC)
Tre’Davious White’s relentless drive makes Defensive Rookie of the Year possible (BuffaloBills.com)
Here are the teams Buffalo fans should root for to improve their playoffs chances (IthacaJournal.com)

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