FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The last time the New England Patriots met the Buffalo Bills, frustrations rose near the end of the game as a result of tight end Rob Gronkowski's late hit on cornerback Tre'Davious White.
With the teams set to meet again Sunday, some have wondered if there is potential for fireworks, but the Patriots aren’t thinking along those lines.
“I don't think either team is going to need what happened last game to get them going. For all of us it's going to be much bigger than that, than what happened at the end of the game,” said safety Devin McCourty, one of the team’s captains. “To me, football is always football. Two teams trying to win a football game at the end of the season is going to be chippy. It's going to be everything from pushing and shoving to fighting for extra yards. You're going to get all of that Sunday.”
And hopefully nothing that crosses that line, as Gronkowski’s hit did on Dec. 3.
In Western New York, White talked this week about how he’s moved on. That’s been the Patriots’ approach as well.
“I'm sure it'll be a very competitive game, like it always is against Buffalo,” coach Bill Belichick said. “I think that the Bills have played great football all year long. Coach [Sean] McDermott's done a great job with the team. They’re very disciplined. They’re tough. They’re physical. They’re very competitive in every phase of the game on every play. There’s no downs off. There’s no plays off. We're going to have to play a good 60-minute game.
“We need to play with fewer penalties, fewer mistakes, better ball security, better tackling, better discipline. There’s a lot of things we need to do better than the last time that we played them, but they’re a good football team. They’re well-coached and I’m sure that we'll get their best shot. We need to give them ours.”
During the course of action, of course.
“No, you can’t worry about that,” receiver Brandin Cooks said. “However they want to play is how they play. We just have to focus on executing. All that other stuff comes with the game.”