FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots started their hostilities about 45 minutes before Sunday's kickoff when a melee broke out between the two teams on the New England sideline.
New England rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was set to make his second NFL start despite a right thumb injury, was jogging, just around midfield. He was confronted and shoved by Buffalo safety Robert Blanton. Patriots rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell stepped in, as did other Bills -- as Brissett kept going.
Blanton punched and head-butted Mitchell. New England coaches, including defensive line coach Brendan Daly, stepped in and at least two Bills, safety Aaron Williams and cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, threw punches, inadvertently hitting the coaches -- Williams shoving Daly more than once.
Williams was demonstrative as he walked away after the skirmish.
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft, appearing on the team's 98.5 pregame show, said the skirmish "goes back to Rex (Ryan)," adding, "That's why Rex is Rex and that's why Bill (Belichick) is Bill."