The Patriots defense manhandled Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen during their first meeting in September. Allen had a 16.4 quarterback rating in a 16-10 loss to New England. AP Photo/Ron Schwane

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Twelve weeks have passed since the New England Patriots defense did a number on Buffalo’s Josh Allen, forcing the Bills’ second-year quarterback to have one of his worst performances of the season.

Every Allen wart was exposed in the Pats’ 16-10 win in Orchard Park, as he put up a 16.4 quarterback rating.

He threw the ball all over the yard — as in nowhere near his intended receivers. His issues with accuracy were revealed in spades. He tried to force balls into tighter windows than would be advised, which resulted in turnovers. He took off and ran on occasion because his receivers were covered, but forgot to protect himself from hits. He was often confused by the schemes the Patriots showed, holding onto the ball too long because of indecision, and paid the price.

In the end, Allen’s damage report read: 13-of-28 for 153 yards with three interceptions and a fumble before he was knocked out of the game by a helmet-to-helmet hit.

Three months later, should anyone expect to see a wiser, sharper version of the Bills quarterback taking on the Patriots in Saturday’s meaningful game? Maybe.

But, the smart money goes with Bill Belichick’s defense still being able to bring out the worst in Allen and make him look silly. It would be an upset if the Patriots didn’t turn him into a turnover machine – again.

Now, to be fair, the Wyoming product has pieced together some nice performances following that Week 4 horror show. But there are still too many glimpses of the mistake-prone edition of Allen (nine interceptions, 14 fumbles) to lead one to believe he’s ready to conquer the Patriots.

Even on Sunday night against the Steelers, his split personality was on display. The trigger for the bad Allen to emerge is pressure. The Steelers applied it heavily in a losing effort. The Patriots also brought the heat the first time around.

Naturally, Belichick and the players believe they’ll be seeing a much-better Allen, tossing plenty of bouquets toward the Bills quarterback.

Patriots Pro Bowl corner Stephon Gilmore agreed Allen had picked up his game since September.

“He’s throwing the ball better,” said Gilmore. “Obviously everybody knows he can get out of trouble, so we have to cover longer on the back end and trust our pressure to get there.”

Safety Terrence Brooks said Allen looks more comfortable and confident in the pocket. But, in the final analysis, Brooks said it’s not about Allen’s improvement.

“It’s all about us,” said Brooks. “That’s how I see it.”

Meaning, it’s about the Patriots finding ways to continue to bring out the bad version of Allen, as opposed to the good Allen that’s been on display in spurts in recent weeks.

After tossing three interceptions against the Patriots, Allen has only thrown three in the 10 games since. Bills head coach Sean McDermott, on a conference call with Patriots reporters, was asked about what’s been the biggest change in his quarterback.

“Just him understanding how to play the game in the NFL, how we want to play our offense, how to play situational football,” said McDermott. “Just really a part of his growth and development from that standpoint.”

The Patriots fully expect the Bills to adjust to the schemes and blitz packages they threw at Allen the first time out. But players trust Belichick will still come up with the right answers to fluster Allen. He’s faced Belichick twice, and twice the results have been awful.

“We have a great guy orchestrating this. He’ll put us in a great position,” Brooks said of the Patriots head coach and resident defensive guru. “We know they’re going to switch some things up and throw something new at us. We just have to make sure we clean up mistakes from our past games and go with the game plan. I feel it will work out.”

If Allen plays like he did in Week 4, if the defense can dial up that quarterback, it should work out for the Patriots.

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