Kelvin Benjamin

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With eye on playoffs, Brady, Lewis lead Pats by Bills 37-16

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Tom Brady passed for a pair of touchdowns and the New England Patriots stayed on track to claim home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a 37-16 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Dion Lewis caught a touchdown pass and rushed for a 4-yard score. He carried 24 times for career-high 129 yards. It was just his second-career 100-yard game. Mike Gillislee, active for the first time in six games, added a 1-yard rushing touchdown

New England (12-3) can lock up first-round bye with either a Pittsburgh or Jacksonville loss. If both of those teams lose, the Patriots will secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason. The Jaguars play at San Francisco Sunday. The Steelers play at Houston Monday.

Even with the loss, the Bills (8-7) remain in contention to break their 17-year playoff drought. It is longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports. It is the longest postseason absence since NFL merger in 1970.

New England has won at least 12 games in eight straight seasons – an NFL record.

Buffalo stayed close throughout and went into halftime locked in a 13-13 tie.

But the Bills managed just three points in the final 30 minutes, after a touchdown at the end of the first half was taken away.

Trailing 13-10, Buffalo was in position to take the lead, but an apparent 4-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor to Kelvin Benjamin in the corner of the end zone was overturned after an official review.

NFL vice president of officiating Al Riveron said in a Twitter post Benjamin was juggling the ball and was only able to get one of his feet down before completing the catch.

“When Kelvin Benjamin gains control, his left foot is off the ground. The receiver only has one foot down in bounds with control. Therefore, it is an incomplete pass,” Riveron wrote.

The Bills were forced to settle for a 23-yard Hauschka field goal as the half expired.

The play elicited immediate reaction on social media.

“Regarding the Buffalo no touchdown, nothing more irritating to an official than to make a great call and then someone in a suit in an office in New York incorrectly reverses it,” he wrote his Twitter feed .

The game was tied at 13 at the half.

The game was tied at 3 on Buffalo’s second possession when Taylor was sacked on a fourth-and-2 run by Marquis Flowers.

On the New England drive, Brady’s third down pass intended for Kenny Britt was intercepted by Jordan Poyer and returned 19 yards for a touchdown.

It was Brady’s eighth interception of the season. He threw two picks in the first 10 weeks, but now has six in his last five games.

The mistake only momentarily slowed down New England’s offense. Brady capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a 17-yard pass that Rob Gronkowski pulled in with one hand to tie the game at 10.

INJURIES

Bills: RB Travaris Cadet was carted off the field late in the second quarter with a right ankle injury. … S Micah Hyde left the game after being shaken up in the third quarter. … CB Shareece Wright was shaken up in the fourth quarter, but walked off on his own power.

RARE MISTAKE

The pick six thrown by Brady was his first since he was intercepted by Robert Alford in last season’s Super Bowl win. Brady’s last regular season pick six came in Week 13 of 2015 against Philadelphia (Malcolm Jenkins).

DYNAMIC DUO

Brady’s touchdown 17-yard TD pass to Gronkowski marked the 75th time they have connected for a score. It is the fifth-most all-time between a quarterback and a receiver.

UP NEXT

Bills: At Miami in regular-season finale

Patriots: Host Jets in their finale.

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McCoy breaks 10,000, leads Bills to 24-16 win over Dolphins

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) LeSean McCoy scored twice and surpassed 10,000 career-yards rushing, while helping the Buffalo Bills stay in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt with a 24-16 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Tyrod Taylor also scored on a 9-yard touchdown run and Shareece Wright and Jordan Poyer intercepted Miami’s Jay Cutler on consecutive drives to start the second half in a game Buffalo never trailed. Rookie Tre'Davious White sealed the win by intercepting Cutler with 28 seconds remaining – and a play after Miami punter Matt Haack recovered an onside kick at Miami’s 37.

The Bills have won three of four and improved to 8-6 to match the team’s best start through 14 games during Buffalo’s 17-year playoff drought – the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports. The Bills were 8-6 in both 2004 and 2014 but missed the playoffs with 9-7 finishes.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

Buffalo also finished 6-2 at home to match its best finish at Orchard Park since 1999.

Buffalo must now hit the road to continue its playoff pursuit in closing the season at New England next week and then at Miami on Dec. 31.

The loss all but mathematically eliminated the Dolphins (6-8) from playoff contention, and after they ended a seven-year drought last season.

McCoy opened the scoring with a 4-yard run to cap Buffalo’s opening drive. Then, he put Buffalo up 14-6 with a 16-yard catch with 6:05 left in the second quarter on a drive during which McCoy became the 30th player to break the 10,000-yard rushing milestone.

The ninth-year player reached the plateau with a 14-yard burst off right guard. McCoy was shaken up on the play while being tackled by Kiko Alonso.

After missing just one snap, McCoy returned to the field and scored two plays later.

This time, McCoy found his footing on dry turf, a week after braving the wintry elements while rushing for 156 yards on a snow-covered field and sealing Buffalo’s 13-7 overtime win over Indianapolis.

McCoy finished with 50 yards rushing, upping his career total to 10,011, and had four catches for 46 yards.

Taylor showed no signs of a bruised left knee that forced him to miss one game. He went 17 of 29 for 224 yards and added 42 yards rushing.

Miami was undone by familiar inconsistencies at quarterback and on defense, while looking nothing like the team that stunned New England in a 27-20 win Monday night.

Cutler’s two interceptions came after he threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Patriots.

Miami’s defense surrendered 328 yards offense to Buffalo, a week after holding New England to 248 yards.

Even discipline was an issue.

Early in the fourth quarter, receiver Jarvis Landry was flagged for pass interference to negate Kenny Stills‘ 12-yard reception. Then, Landry argued the call and was penalized again for unsportsmanlike conduct. Rather than being first-and-10 at Buffalo’s 40, the Dolphins faced first-and-35 at their own 23 in a drive that led to them punting three plays later.

Kenyan Drake had 78 yards rushing and scored on a 1-yard run. Cutler finished 28 of 49 for 274 yards and three interceptions.

Cody Parkey also hit 28- and 41-yard field goals.

TAYLOR TOUCHDOWNS

Taylor scored a touchdown rushing and passing in the same game for the 10th time since taking over Buffalo’s starting job in 2015. He joins Carolina’s Cam Newton and Washington’s Kirk Cousins as the only other players to do that 10 times since 2015.

THIRD-DOWN

After the Dolphins limited their past two opponents to converting just one of 24 third-down chances, the Bills converted their first two as part of a 10-play, 81-yard scoring drive capped by McCoy’s four-yard run. Buffalo converted seven of 15 third-down chances.

DOLPHINS IN DECEMBER

Miami dropped to 9-4 in games played at Orchard Park, New York, in December or later.

INJURIES

Dolphins: CB T.J. McDonald left in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.

Bills: CB E.J. Gaines was carted off in the fourth quarter with a knee injury.

INACTIVES:

Dolphins: Running back Damien Williams missed his third consecutive game with a shoulder injury, while starting cornerback Cordrea Tankersley missed his second consecutive game with injuries to his shoulder and ankle.

Bills: Receiver Kelvin Benjamin played despite aggravating a right knee injury last week that limited him in practice.

UP NEXT

Dolphins: At Kansas City on Dec. 24.

Bills: At New England on Dec. 24.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

McCoy scores to seal Bills’ 13-7 OT win over Colts

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — LeSean McCoy scored on a 21-yard run with 1:33 left in overtime to secure the Buffalo Bills’ 13-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in a wintry, white-out setting best suited for snow shoes and sled dogs.

Mush!

McCoy finished with 156 yards rushing and topped the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth time in his career on a slick, snow-covered field.

The Bills’ sideline erupted after McCoy’s touchdown, with numerous players running on to the field to either make snow angels or engage in celebratory snowball fights.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

Buffalo (7-6) stayed alive in the AFC playoff picture, while the Colts (3-10) were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

The game began in nearly white-out conditions with a major lake-effect storm blowing in off nearby Lake Erie. The snow fell so hard a half-hour before kickoff it was nearly impossible to see New Era Field’s west-end scoreboard from the east-end stands.

McCoy’s touchdown came on Buffalo’s second possession of overtime. Facing third-and-2, McCoy found a crease up the middle and had enough footing to cut to his left and scamper into the end zone untouched.

It was a topsy-turvy game played in a snow-globe setting , with a regular parade of work crews taking the field with snow blowers on their backs to clear the yard lines.

Early in the third quarter, fans were even treated to a rare metrological event of “thunder snow,” as lightning flashed over the stadium. The game was not stopped.

So much snow accumulated on the roof of the first-level suites that fans began building snowmen.

Colts receiver Chester Rogers disappeared into a snowbank in the end zone after being unable to stop on a deep pass from Jacoby Brissett. Rogers made the catch, but couldn’t keep both feet inbounds.

Injuries became an issue for Buffalo, with rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman leaving in the third quarter to be evaluated for a head injury. Peterman was starting in place of Tyrod Taylor, who was sidelined by a bruised left knee.

Joe Webb finished the game.

The Bills scored first on Peterman’s 8-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin in the final minute of the second quarter.

And it took the Colts nearly 59 total minutes to find the end zone before Brissett capped a 19-play, 77 yard drive by hitting tight end Jack Doyle for a 3-yard touchdown with 1:16 left. The Colts went for the win and Brissett faked a handoff to Marlon Mack, then hit a wide-open Doyle for the 2-point conversion. The play was negated by an offensive pass interference penalty against receiver Kamar Aiken.

That led to the Colts scrambling to settle for a 43-yard point-after attempt into the wind. Indianapolis used its final timeout for players to clear a spot for Adam Vinatieri. The NFL’s oldest layer hit a 43-yard wobbler that hooked in from the right and just sneaked over the crossbar.

Vinatieri, however, missed a field-goal wide left from the exact same spot with 1 second remaining after the Colts regained possession when Matthias Farley intercepted Webb’s pass over the middle with 52 seconds left.

GORE MILESTONES

Gore finished with a career-high 36 carries for 130 yards. It was his first 100-yard game in 15 outings, since gaining 101 yards in a 34-6 win at Miami on Dec. 12. It was also Gore’s 42nd career 100-yard game, tying him with O.J. Simpson for 16th on the NFL list.

The 97 combined rushing attempts were the most in an NFL game since the Chiefs and Bears combined for 100 attempts in Week 10 of the 1981 season.

NO PASSING

The Colts ran the ball 17 straight times before Brissett attempted his first pass, a short completion to Marlon Mack, who turned it into an 11-yard gain with 6:13 left in the second quarter.

The Colts didn’t attempt a pass in the first quarter, becoming the first NFL team to do so since the Panthers against Tampa Bay in Week 5 of last season. The last time the Colts failed to attempt a pass in one quarter was in a 27-13 win against Tennessee on Dec. 18, 2011.

That victory was their first of the season to end a 0-13 start.

UP NEXT

Colts: Host Denver Broncos on Thursday night.

Bills: Close out home schedule hosting Miami Dolphins on Dec. 17.

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