After nearly two decades of dominance over the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots officially saw the script flipped on Monday night, as the Bills took the Patriots to the cleaners to win 38-9 while completing their first season sweep over New England since 1999. Here are five quick takes from Monday night's loss.
1. Maryland on Maryland crime
With reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore out for the season, J.C. Jackson stepped into the No. 1 cornerback role against fellow Maryland alum Stefon Diggs, the NFL's leading receiver and the biggest test of his young career. Early on Jackson held his own, forcing two incompletions while getting an interception in the end zone (which was overturned on an Adam Butler offsides penalty), but after that Diggs dominated his younger Terrapin counterpart.
Following the second incompletion, Diggs came back with three straight catches against Jackson, including a pair of touchdowns for 50 and 10 yards respectively. Jackson wound up getting benched for a couple of series after that, and in the end Diggs finished with nine catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns on the game.
2. They went to Jarrett
After Cam Newton had another underwhelming performance in the first half, going 5 for 10 with 34 yards passing, the Patriots made the switch and subbed in Jarrett Stidham for the second half. Stidham didn't perform much better, going 4 for 11 with 44 yards in three second half possessions. All told Patriots quarterbacks finished 9 for 21 with 78 yards, one of the team's worst passing performances of the season.
Meanwhile, Bills quarterback Josh Allen enjoyed a sensational performance, going 27 for 36 with 320 yards and four touchdowns with a 138.7 rating.
3. Herron finishing strong
A lot has been made of sixth-round offensive lineman Mike Onwenu's breakout rookie season, but fellow sixth-rounder Justin Herron has quietly been putting together a nice season too. The Wake Forest alumnus started at left tackle for the second straight week on Monday, giving him five starts on the year, and overall Herron has played more than a third of New England's offensive snaps.
For all the flack the Patriots have caught for their draft failures over the past year, landing two starting caliber offensive linemen in the sixth round this past spring has been a huge boon that could lift the team for years to come.
4. Edelman not activated, unlikely to return
With the Patriots eliminated from postseason contention and with only one game remaining, it's fair to say we probably won't see Julian Edelman again this season. The 34-year-old wide receiver, who has been on injured reserve with a knee injury since he last played in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers, was not activated prior to Monday night's game. Even before going on IR, Edelman was clearly limited by the injury and has only managed 21 catches for 315 yards and no touchdowns in six games played. It will be interesting to see whether or not he ends up returning next year at age 35.
5. Worst bet ever
As bad as things went for the Patriots on Monday night, things could have gone a lot worse. Case in point, BetMGM Sportsbooks announced prior to the game that an unnamed bettor placed two bets totaling $700,000 on the Patriots to win. Had New England pulled off the upset, the bettor would have won a total of $1,040,000. Instead, the Patriots lost by 29 and now that person is out nearly three quarters of a million dollars. Imagine that.
Mac Cerullo can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.