The New England Patriots won yet again in Orchard Park this week, defeating the Buffalo Bills 16-10 Sunday afternoon. The Bills fought valiantly, but they were unable to overcome four turnovers and a blocked punt.
Given those misfortunes for the Bills, the final score probably should have been worse. However, a great effort by Buffalo’s defense not only kept the Bills in the game, but gave them an opportunity to win it on the team’s final offensive drive.
How did Buffalo stop our five Patriots to watch? Here’s how it happened.
QB Tom Brady
Buffalo made the future Hall of Fame quarterback uncomfortable all afternoon, leading him to commit three intentional grounding penalties (One of which was even called!). While much has been made about how poorly Josh Allen played, the 23-year old second-year man wasn’t the only quarterback to struggle against a stifling defense on Sunday. Brady only manged to complete 18-of-39 passes for 150 yards and one interception on the afternoon. Of those 18 completions, half of them went to running backs. When Brady targeted his receivers, he only completed nine passes for 86 yards. The Bills never sacked Brady, but they made him throw off schedule and they made him move his feet. They also mixed their coverages well enough to make him unsure of his first read, an impressive feat for a defense. They stopped Brady for much of the day, but they were unable to convert that positive into a victory.
RB James White
New England’s leading receiver was its pass-catching specialist out of the backfield. He did the most damage on New England's second drive, converting a third-and-nine by catching a 14-yard pass, and then converting another third down (this time a third-and-five) by making a spectacular catch on a 26-yard wheel route. The drive ended in New England’s only offensive touchdown of the day. White caught eight passes for 57 yards on the day, adding one carry for one yard on the ground. His two big plays in the first quarter represented nearly all of his offensive output for the day, but they were two huge plays in the game.
OT Marshall Newhouse
The veteran managed to take all 65 of New England’s offensive snaps, and he acquitted himself well against defensive end Jerry Hughes. The Bills only managed three hits on Brady, and Hughes didn’t have any of them. Newhouse had some help throughout the day, but he spent a lot of time one-on-one with Buffalo’s best pass rusher. Holding Hughes to two tackles overall is a win for New England.
CB Stephon Gilmore
The Bills attacked Gilmore without fear, and they were able to beat him quite a few times. Gilmore was called for two penalties (and a third where the flag was picked up...because, well...I was at the game, so I didn’t hear the explanation, but I don’t think I’d have bought it anyway), although one was negated by Mitch Morse being called for an ineligible man downfield penalty. He was matched up with John Brown for most of the day, and Brown had a good game overall (five catches, 69 yards). Gilmore also made the tackle that may have saved the game, keeping Brown out of the end zone on a second-down play in the fourth quarter where the Patriots ultimately came up with a big stop.
S Patrick Chung
Chung wasn’t a huge factor in the game, but I’m not sure why the Bills didn’t attack him more with tight end Dawson Knox. New England’s longtime safety had four tackles on the game, but I think this was a missed opportunity for the Bills. Chung was the guy Matt Barkley and Knox beat on a long ball right before the two-minute warning. This is a match-up that favored the Bills, but ultimately wasn’t exploited.