The second-ranked defense of the Buffalo Bills is powerless against the New England Patriots, and their rushing gameplan, and Buffalo trails New England 14-0 through two quarters in Foxborough. In the first half, the Patriots ran for 179 yards at an astonishing rate of 8.9 yards per carry.
In the first quarter, the Patriots paved a road directly through Buffalo’s defense. They ran up 85 yards on the ground, mixing Sony Michel, Cordarelle Patterson, Rex Burkhead, and James White. After Matt Darr shanked a punt which gave New England the ball at midfield, the Patriots drove almost exclusively with running plays and scored a touchdown on the ground to take a 7-0 lead.
Buffalo forced a Rex Burkhead fumble later in the quarter, recovered by Micah Hyde at midfield. The Bills came a little closer, but the drive stalled in range of a 43 yard field goal attempt. Hauschka’s kick was straight on, but surprisingly short, bouncing off the goal post at the bottom.
When the Bills faced the Patriots earlier this year, mired in a touchdown drought, they were a historically bad offense. So far today, they’ve played like that was still the case. They’ve gone three-and-out on four of their first five drives.
Rookies playing quarterback against Bill Belichick is always a doomed proposition, and Josh Allen seems to be falling into the same sand pit through the first half. Sunlight, drops, and off-target throws have kept Allen from connecting with his receivers so far. He made a brutal mistake in the second quarter, staring down a corner route and lofting up a soft pass that was intercepted. The passer is only 7-of-16 passing for 48 yards and the interception. Belichick has challenged the rookie with aggressive Cover-0 looks, and he hasn’t stepped up to the task yet.
If there’s a saving grace, it’s that Buffalo’s making Tom Brady look just as bad. Lorenzo Alexander undercut a route for an interception earlier in the game, and Brady has only completed 7 of 13 throws for 40 yards and that interception.
Julian Stanford (ankle) and Isaiah McKenzie (head) are both questionable to return to the game after suffering injuries in the first half.
The Patriots will get the ball to begin the second half. Buffalo needs a major comeback if they want to win this game - and Brady hasn’t even been the focus of the offensive attack yet.