Patriots Rout Bills 34-20, Earn First Round Bye
LeGarrette Blount made one last big splash into a soggy end zone.
The powerful back finished his 35-yard touchdown run up the left sideline by flopping with outstretched arms and capping the New England Patriots 34-20 win over the Buffalo Bills in a steady downpour Sunday.
The victory gave the Patriots a first-round bye and the Gillette Stadium field an extra week to dry out.
''He carried the team on his back most of the day,'' Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. The rain ''got worse as the game went along. It was definitely a running game.''
Blount rushed for a career-high 189 yards, returned two kickoffs for 145 and set a club record with 334 all-purpose yards.
The Patriots (12-4) obtained Blount in an offseason trade with Tampa Bay and he shared playing time with other backs since then. On Sunday, the 250-pounder led the charge.
He also scored on a 36-yard run and set up a touchdown and field goal with kickoff returns of 83 and 62 yards.
''Every time I play I try my best to come out with the mindset to make a contribution to any part of the game, whether it's kick returns or running the ball or catching it,'' Blount said.
After his second touchdown, he hugged Belichick, who had a towel draped over his shoulders.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked four field goals as the Patriots earned their eighth bye in Belichick's 14 seasons. The Bills (6-10) missed the playoffs for the 14th straight year, the league's longest current streak. They won their previous two games.
New England won its 13th straight home game against Buffalo, including 12-0 since Gillette opened in 2002.
The Patriots have the second seed and play in two weeks at home, where they're 8-0. Denver, which beat Oakland, has the top seed. New England began its game with a chance to finish in any of the AFC's top four playoff spots. (Associated Press)