Patriots Defeat Bills 40-32
The New England Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 40-32, Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
To look at some thoughts from the first half of action, click here.
Here are a few thoughts about the second half of the game and the overall feel from the day:
Loss of Momentum- Towards the end of the third quarter, there was a scary moment in the action when Buffalo safety Aaron Williams was seriously injured attempting to stop Julian Edelman from getting into the end zone. New England had just gone up 34-13 and had been in complete control of the game to that point, but the injury was so severe that the ambulance was summoned and play was stopped for a prolonged period. After that break, it just wasn't the same Patriots team on the field. It seemed as though the break caused the Pats to lose all of the momentum they had gained up to that point and it almost ended up costing them the game. The defense stepped off the gas pedal a bit while the offense seemed to be playing to riskily.
Offensive Miscues- While the final score ended up being so close, New England really seemed to be in complete control for most of the day. One of the reasons why the game got so close was a number of offensive miscues. First, there were a lot of dropped passes by receivers today and a few missed passes by quarterback Tom Brady. Every incomplete pass was a stop of the clock which allowed Buffalo to keep getting the ball with time on the clock. Also a bit of questionable play calling could be to blame for the tight final score. Passing the ball 59 times isn't completely shocking for New England's chameleon-like offense, but with a huge lead in the second half some more run plays could have allowed the team to chip away at the clock. The Pats also failed on two fourth and one attempts on the day, which ended up resulting in turnovers on downs and consequently to Bills' touchdowns.
Almost Beat themselves- Although the Bills came back and made this one more interesting then it looked to be midway through the third quarter, it was more of a case of the Patriots beating themselves then the Bills playing well. Based on the offensive miscues mentioned above and the lack of attacking from the defense late in the fourth, Buffalo made it close. While the Bills got the points it was more like the Pats gave them to them.
Brady Looks Good- For all the negative talk so far, the Pats still did win the game, and a large reason why was the solid play of Brady. The Pats quarterback completed 38 of his 59 pass attempts for 466 yards and three touchdowns. In total Brady hit nine different receivers for at least one reception.
Gronkowski & Edelman Lead Way- As is normally the way with New England, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman led the way for the team's pass catchers. Gronk brought in seven receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown, while Edelman snagged 11 catches for 97 yards and two scores. Fans were also treated to a rare Aaron Dobson sighting as the third year receiver made seven catches for 87 yards on the day. Danny Amendola only had one catch on the day but it was a huge one as he sprawled out for a 29 yard catch late in the fourth that set up the Pats' final field goal which cemented their lead. Also contributing was running back Dion Lewis who once again was effective in both the running and passing game. Lewis made six catches for 98 yards and rushed another seven times for 40 yards and a score.
Defense Outlasts Taylor- After a tough first defensive series to start the game, the Patriots defense looked sharp until the final quarter. Defensive end Chandler Jones sacked Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor three times and linebacker Dont'a Hightower chipped in with 2.5 sacks of his own. On the day, the defense brought Taylor down behind the line of scrimmage eight times for 53 yards. Of course late in the game the Bills got it going a bit and the Pats pass rush was a bit nonexistent. While Taylor threw for three scores on the day, it was his three interceptions including one on Buffalo's final drive of the game that spelled the end for the young quarterback. All in all, the Pats defense outplayed Taylor and the Bills offense. As it was noted in the halftime post, Taylor was unable to beat the Pats with his arm when he needed to.
To wrap it all up, it was a big divisional win for the Patriots today. While some things went right, a lot of things could use fixing as the season progresses. You've got to believe Patriots head coach Bill Belichick can not be too happy with how this thing ended up. Regardless, the Patriots are 2-0 on the season and are in the position they want to be.
To check out the complete breakdown of stats, click here.