Patriots vs. Bills weather update: Strong winds impacting kicks, passes in ‘MNF’ game
The Patriots-Bills game was expected to be crazy due to the skill level of the teams, but the weather has added another level of absurdity to their “Monday Night Football” meeting.
Before the game, it was snowing hard at Highmark Stadium in Erie Country, N.Y. Videos from fans at the game showed how intense the wind was, too. According to the National Weather Service, the winds have been between 25-29 mph during the game so far. On top of that, the wind gusts reached 40-50 mph.
The wind had its effect on the game from the kickoff: The opening kickoff from Buffalo went all the way into the stands.
The Patriots had little success on their first two drives, both of which resulted in punts. New England — which was punting into the wind in the first quarter — got punts off of 36 and 15 yards, respectively.
The Patriots also elected to take the ball out of Mac Jones’ hands. The rookie, playing in adverse conditions for the first time of his NFL career, did not attempt a pass until the second-to-last play of the first quarter. The pass ended up high and it looked impossible to catch, but Jonnu Smith caught it for a 12-yard gain and a first down. It was his only attempt of the first half.
Conversely, the Patriots rushed 23 times for 149 yards, 64 of which came off a Damien Harris touchdown run in the first quarter. But New England, not willing to risk kicking a 32-yard extra point attempt into the wind, decided to go for a 2-point conversion instead. The conversion attempt — a toss left to Brandon Bolden — was successful, giving New England an 8-0 lead.
The Bills scored their first touchdown as a result of an N’Keal Harry muffed punt, likely caused due to the intense wind in the first half:
That untimely turnover led to the Bills’ first touchdown, a Josh Allen 14-yard pass to Gabriel Davis (Allen finished the half completing 6 of 10 passes for 46 yards and a score). Buffalo elected to give kicker Tyler Bass a chance for the extra point., which he successfully converted (though a video of him warming up before the game is going viral for showing how much the wind affected his 34-yard field goal attempt).
Patriots kicker Nick Folk got his chance to attempt a field goal at the beginning of the second quarter. Folk ended up making the 41-yard field goal attempt with the wind at his back.
The wind isn’t expected to die down much throughout the game.
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