As another Patriot Day passed into night, one constant remained for the Buffalo Bills - Tom Brady and Bill Belichick still dominate their team like no one else in history has. The Bills hung with their division leaders through three quarters, but it didn’t last. New England pulled away for a 25-6 victory over our heroes.
The Bills defense did everything in its power to keep the game within reach of a win. They bent but they didn’t break, surrendering three field goals in the first half and one more field goal in the third quarter. Through three, the lead was 12-6.
In the fourth quarter, the Patriots finally forced a crack in the foundation. Cordarelle Patterson scampered up the sidelines for a 22-yard run. Two plays later, Brady found Chris Hogan down the sidelines for 20, and James White punched the ball in from the one yard line on the next play.
Credit Brian Daboll for reaching into his bag of tricks in trying to spark Buffalo’s offense, but the team struggled for another week. The team tried a wide variety of wing-T offensive calls early in the game, but New England adjusted before long. They ran a double reverse flea flicker, but couldn’t connect with Charles Clay downfield. LeSean McCoy struggled to find daylight, rushing for a pitiful 13 yards on 12 carries. His biggest play, a catch-and-run down the sideline, was pulled back by a penalty. He did have 54 yards on four receptions, finding more success when the team found him targets in space.
Derek Anderson’s limitations as an immobile passer with a short stint of experience in Buffalo’s playbook were painfully apparent at times. He settled for short crossing patterns on third down, lost a fumble on a strip sack, and predetermined an incorrect read on a critical third down in the fourth quarter. Had Anderson found Zay Jones coming open at the second level, the Bills could’ve taken a 13-12 lead. Instead, the Bills were forced to punt, and New England extended their lead to 18-6 late in the game. As the clock wound down, Anderson brought the Bills close to the red zone, only to throw an 85-yard pick-six that sealed the game for real.
The Bills (2-6) won’t have time to rest, hosting the Chicago Bears (4-3) in six days at New Era field. The Bills now decisively bring up the rear of the AFC East, and they’re in line for a top five pick in next year’s draft. Can Josh Allen come back from injury soon enough? Do we even want him to come back to this roster at this point?
- Tremaine Edmunds left the game with a concussion and did not return. He was replaced by Julian Stanford,
- Derek Anderson took two hefty sacks on Buffalo’s final drive of the game. He left the game after the second one, gingerly handling his right arm.
- If the Bills were worried about LeSean McCoy’s injury status, they didn’t show it. He led the team with 12 carries, and led the team with six catches for 82 yards on eight targets.
- Rookie wideout Cam Phillips made his offensive debut this week in the fourth quarter, including his first career catch.
- The Bills (as they often do) struggled to pressure Brady, but Lorenzo Alexander managed two sacks.
- The only other players to lay a hand on Brady were Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes, who each had a single QB hit.
- Matt Milano had another strong game. He knifed through a block for a tackle for loss in the first quarter, and nearly intercepted two passes.
- Tight end Jason Croom appeared to make a fantastic one-handed catch in the fourth quarter, but the play was overturned when the ball hit the turf.
- Tom Brady has won more games in Buffalo than any player has won in any opposing city in NFL history.
- The Patriots had gone 40 games without scoring a defensive touchdown, until they played the Bills. That’s as many as four tens. And that’s terrible.