Bill Belichick has dominated many teams as the Patriots’ head coach. The Bills are no exception.
Since taking over New England in 2000, Belichick is 36-8 against Buffalo. That includes a 19-3 record in Buffalo, which includes the road win in Week 13 during the 2021 NFL regular season.
Belichick sorted out the Bills’ power favorites as a defensive coordinator working with Bill Parcells for the Giants in Super Bowl 25, foreshadowing the misery he would bring to the same team in a different capacity with a different team.
But then you remember that Tom Brady has been the quarterback for most of Belichick’s time in New England. Brady went 32-3 as a Patriot against the Bills, adding another win as a Buccaneer in Week 14 of 2021. That’s Brady’s best mark as a starter against any team.
Doing the math, that means Belichick is only 4-5 against the Bills without Brady. The recent bias that Belichick beat the Bills on a Monday night in December forgets the fact that the Bills swept the series in 2020 and also came back to defeat the Patriots in New England, 33-21, three weeks later in the Week 16.
Belichick could have had the Bills’ number and had a fantastic performance as a coach in Week 13. Although Mac Jones had a good rookie season to recover from the post-Brady QB Cam Newton-Brian Hoyer-Jarret Stidham mess in 2021, the Bills now have the big advantage at the most important position in the game with Josh Allen.
While Brady was taking his last snaps for the Patriots in 2019, Allen was pulling his last bundles as a young quarterback in Year 2. His two-year career suggests he’s here to stay as an elite passer and running back in the AFC, in the next generation company of Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert. As good as Jones was right off the bat, no one is fooled that he’s a seminal young passer just yet, but rather a strong, intelligent caretaker who plays with a strong running game and defense.
Like other quarterbacks who found their way early in their careers, Belichick blocked Allen early. But while the Dolphins (Tua Tagovailoa) and Jets (Zach Wilson), like the Patriots, are still figuring out if they have their long-term answers, Allen is the new Brady, the unquestioned dominant quarterback in the division.
No one takes away the GOAT training narrative around Belichick. He did well to beat seven teams with final losing records in 2021 as part of the 10-7 season, improving from an initially 7-9 finish without Brady in 2020. But the Bills, even with a midseason slump, they won when necessary on the important points. repeat as division champions, and he should carry that favorite status for a while.
Part of the reason the defensive-minded Belichick owned the Bills for so long is the fact that they added 18 starting quarterbacks in 20 seasons before solving the problem in a big way with Allen. That’s also the number for the Jets and Dolphins as they try to break out of the vicious circle with Wilson and Tagovailoa.
The Bills are 3-1 against the Patriots in two seasons without Brady. So are the dolphins. Belichick still has dominance over the rebuilding Jets, but that team has gone 6-27 since Brady left the division.
As with everything related to the Patriots, there is a line of demarcation from the Brady era of 20 years to now. Contrary to popular belief, the Bills under Allen and coach Sean McDermott have already flipped the script. The pressure is on Belichick to rewrite it quickly, or face a similar new story against Buffalo, unless Jones can emerge to be on par with Allen as an AFC quarterback.