From the goal posts to the players' towels hanging from their wastes, everything was blowing every which way on a gusty Monday evening at Highmark Stadium.
In an AFC East first-place showdown between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills, the wind took on a leading role as it swirled throughout and dictated how the game was played.
Employing a run-first, run-second and run-third approach, the Patriots imposed their game plan and their will upon a wild, wooly and windy night in upstate New York en route to a 14-10 win over the Bills.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, the frontrunner in the eyes of many to win AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, attempted just one pass in the first half and two in the second, with his three total attempts accounting for the least amount of passes thrown by a winning quarterback over the last 30 seasons, per NFL Research. He completed two of them for 19 yards in New England's seventh straight win, while counterpart Josh Allen completed 15 of 30 for 145 yards and a touchdown in a losing cause.
The wind blew away any hopes of modern-day, pass-happy football and bestowed upon the prime-time stage the opportunity for a winning, old-school approach that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels embraced in victorious fashion.
"They were what they were," Jones said of the conditions. "For the offensive line to do what they did was incredible, they deserve all the credit in the world. And Josh for calling the plays that he called, knowing the environment. And knowing that, we knew we were going to be able to run the ball. The running backs ran hard; Rhamondre [Stevenson], Damien [Harris] and B [Brandon Bolden]. You couldn't ask for better effort from those guys. It was just a crazy game to be a part of. We knew if we didn't turn the ball over, we'd be good. It was just a weird day."
It was a weird one to say the least.
Bills kicker Tyler Bass had the shortest miss of his career, as his 33-yard attempt blew off into the distance, closer to the fans than three points.
When the wind was with the kickers, kickoffs sailed through the back of the end zone. For Jones and Allen, throwing passes anywhere but short was a futile effort, as Jones' one incompletion was his only deep attempt (10-plus air yards) and Allen was 3 of 13 for 59 yards and a touchdown on deep passes, per Next Gen Stats.
"Yeah it was difficult, I think one way was probably easier than the other," Jones said of throwing in the gusty conditions. "I haven't seen that much wind, probably ever, but it's just a learning experience."
While it was a learning experience for the Alabama product, it was a losing effort for a Bills team that had no answer for the Patriots' rushing approach, which saw New England run the ball an eye-bulging 46 times for 222 yards.
It made for an indelible night for the Patriots and an ominous one for the Bills.
"I don't know if it affected us too bad, maybe a throw here or there, but, again, that's why I'm here, to play in those types of conditions," Allen said. "Gotta find a way."
While Allen and Buffalo are no doubt looking to forget Monday and move forward, Patriots offensive lineman David Andrews had an ear-to-ear grin describing a game he won't soon forget.
"I don't know if I've ever played in a game where we've thrown the ball three times and I've been playing football since I was 6 years old, so that's 23 years," Andrews said. "Six years old, I threw the ball more than that. How can that not be a memorable thing? Monday night, I mean, wind, cold."
With temperatures in the 30s and gusts as high as 50-55 mph, every pass or kick was an adventure on Monday night.
There was no homefield advantage or shelter from the storm for the Bills, but the Patriots embraced the chaos and rode it to victory.
"We knew it was gonna be windy," Jones said. "You can't control it, there's no on-and-off switch. But you can just go out there, have the right mindset and just understand that everything's not gonna be perfect. I don't think there will be a game like that in a long time, but when it is, you can't control it, you just gotta go out there and do your job."
Jones and Co. certainly didn't shirk any task, no matter the weather. And they emerged through the flurries and winds atop the AFC East with a comfortable two-game lead amid most uncomfortable conditions.