The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills started to go at it well before kickoff. A pregame scuffle broke out during warmups just prior to Sunday’s Week 4 contest at Gillette Stadium.
It started when Bills safety Robert Blanton shoved Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was running past him down the field. New England wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell immediately came to his teammate’s aid, and Blanton and Mitchell had to be separated by players and coaches.
NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reports that the Buffalo players didn't like that Brissett and Mitchell were warming up on the Bills’ side of the field.
— Sully (@Matt_Sully) October 2, 2016
There seems to be no love lost between the Patriots and Bills, who have developed a one-sided rivalry in recent years. As New England has continued to win AFC East championships, they’ve dominated Buffalo. The Patriots have beaten the Bills in 23 of their last 25 matchups, and they can take complete control of the division with a win on Sunday. New England is in first place after a 3-0 start, and Buffalo has lost two of their first three games.
Brissett was officially named the starting quarterback on Sunday morning when Jimmy Garoppolo was made inactive. Brissett made his first-ever start in Week 3, throwing for 103 yards and helping the Patriots beat the Houston Texans 27-0.
If Brissett had somehow been injured in the pregame skirmish, New England would have been forced to start a wide receiver at quarterback. Because of Garoppolo’s injury and Tom Brady’s suspension, Julian Edelman is the backup signal caller.
Brady will start at quarterback in Week 5.