New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy spent a great deal of time between plays chatting away with Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen during Week 16. It’s easy to imagine those conversions were not friendly.
Allen was one step ahead of the Patriots defense — and played so well that it didn’t seem to matter when New England did put him in an uncomfortable spot. He threw sensationally accurate throws, wildly creative shuffle passes and utilitarian underhanded throws to get past New England’s defense.
That’s probably why Van Noy, who appeared to talk a lot of trash with Allen during the game, couldn’t help but praise the Bills QB.
“I think he just does a really good job of watching the rush lanes,” Van Noy said after the game on Sunday. “He has a good feel in the pocket. He did a pretty good job tonight, extended some plays. We’ve just got do a better job of matching the energy that he had — if not bring a little bit more.”
Allen finished the afternoon completing 30 of 47 for 314 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t take a single sack or let up a turnover. Buffalo didn’t punt once and converted three of four fourth-down attempts.
“Credit to the coaching,” Van Noy said. “(Bills offensive coordinator Brian) Daboll had a good scheme today. (Josh Allen) hit a couple extra check-downs, did a really good evading the rush, extending plays and ultimately made the right decisions throwing the ball. … They just got us today.”
New England had a few shots of mounting a comeback, but the back-breaker was when cornerback J.C. Jackson dropped a potential interception in the fourth quarter when New England trailed, 26-21. The interception would have given the Patriots excellent field position.
“There’s a couple 50-50 balls that we need to come up with. I know J.C. (Jackson) is kicking himself for that pick,” Van Noy said. “But we’ve got to have those. Especially this time of year with the season on the line, we’ve got to come together and do a little bit more, and I think we should be able to do that.”
The dropped interception opportunity was the second takeaway chance for Jackson, who dropped an admittedly more challenging interception attempt in the end zone. The Bills scored on the next play. It was that kind of game, with Allen and Buffalo punishing the Patriots for every missed opportunity.