The New England Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, 23-21.
On the Bills first offensive series, Kyle Arrington forced a CJ Spiller fumble, and Tommy Kelly recovered it, putting New England in great position. Brady hit Julian Edelman for a 9 yard TD pass to quickly put New England up 7-0. After a field goal to put the Patriots up 10-0, RB Stevan Ridley fumbled the ball away to the Bills who took it to the house, 75 yards for the TD, and Bills cut into the lead, 10-7. Ridley fell down by himself, and fumbled the ball by himself, and it was his second fumble of the day. The first fumble was recovered by New England. Ridley lost touches after that, Blount and Vereen got a heavy dose in the run game.
Brady responded with 2 mins left in the 2nd by throwing an 8 yard TD pass to Julian Edelman. Patriots would get the ball back pretty quickly but Sudfeld tripped and tipped a Brady pass into the arms of a Bills defender (Justin Rogers). Bills took over in Patriots territory and two plays later Manuel hit Robert Woods for a TD right before the half. Talib looked like had gotten beat by the rookie WR but Talib looked at safety Steven Gregory, upset with him, and Arrington. So one of the three made a mistake in coverage leaving Woods wide open.
To start the 3rd, the Bills drove the field and Manuel threw an 18 yard TD pass to Stevie Johnson who beat Kyle Arrington on the play. The Bills slipped Johnson in the slot against Arrington, a mismatch for New England, and McCourty was very late on giving safety help to Arrington, leaving Johnson wide open.
Late 3rd, Brady fumbled the snap on the one yard line on fourth down, and the Bills recovered it. Another HUGE mistake by the Patriots offense in the game. The Patriots defense stepped up though, forced a punt back to the Patriots offense. The Patriots took it down the field to the Buffalo 5 but rookie Kenbrell Thompkins did not know where to go on a play and ran into Edelman causing Brady to hold the ball and eat the sack. The Patriots kicked the field goal with 10:52 left in the game to pull within one. 20-21.
The Patriots would not do much after their defense forced a quick punt but the Pats would get the ball back again at 4:31. On a 3rd and 3 play, Brady hit Amendola for 6 yards and a fresh set of downs. There would be a heavy dose of Amendola and Vereen on the Patriots game winning drive. The Patriots would get a false start that would set them back, but Brady would hit Amendola on a huge 3rd and 8 play for 10 yards to get the ball to the Bills 29 yard line. Then Vereen would rush for 15 yards, taking it all the way to Buffalo’s 14 yard line in the range of Gostkowski. Brady lined it up right down the middle for the Gostkowski who would make the game winning field for New England from 35 yards out. That completed Brady’s 38th career comeback victory.
Thoughts on the game
The offense wasn’t great today, and wasn’t sharp at all, but it didn’t look like a bad offense by any means, just an offense who committed a lot of self imposed mistakes, and had bad luck. The Brady interception was a rare kind of thing, just bad luck. The snap Brady fumbled was bad luck, and the Ridley fumble, he caused himself, bad luck, but Ridley does have problems holding onto the ball. I’m sure, I hope, he won’t do that every week. A lot of mistakes that lead to Bills scores were caused by the Patriots themselves. The Patriots did everything they could to lose this game, but still scraped away for the win in Buffalo. The Patriots didn’t emotionally and mentally in the game today.
I mentioned on Patriots Gab twitter that I would tell you two things I thought were impressive in the Patriots ugly win over Buffalo. Well here is the first one.
The Patriots turned it over 3 times, was beating themselves, and still came away with the win on a day that was not their best. That is encouraging since last season when the offense struggled, the defense couldn’t hold up their end of the deal, and help win the game. This game though, the Patriots defense played well today. The secondary had two horrible mistakes, but outside of that, played well. The linebackers were great, and the defensive line was solid. Chandler Jones was creating pressure, but the Patriots still need to find that elusive pass rush. The defense kept the Patriots in this game. The Patriots offense kept the game close.
The Patriots on offense were a team obviously going through some growing pains, but that is to be expected with a whole lot of rookies on offense, but Gronk’s return, hopefully week 3, will help the offense a lot. Kenbrell Thompkins did not have a good game at all, he looked lost half the time, running into players, and slipping a lot. His hands was not great either through the day. I would have love to have seen Aaron Dobson, but he was ruled out, and also thought to be behind Thompkins because of the preseason, but obviously, the preseason doesn’t tell you much. Dobson is a deep threat and you wonder if he could provide that if the Patriots would use it. After getting rid of a lot of little guys for the bigger guys who were suppose to be deep threats the Patriots still go short passes. I’d love to see New England go deep because if they want to go far this year, they need a deep threat working or teams will sit on those short routes. The Patriots offense will return to good form at some point in the season but this is a new group who needs time to grow up.
Danny Amendola had a heck of a game today after an injury scare. He pulled up on a play grabbing his groin and had to be stretched out. He came back and was huge in the game, he caught 10 passes for 104 yards. Julian Edelman caught 2 touchdown passes. RB Shane Vereen was great in the run game and in the pass game, he did what I thought Spiller would do today. Vereen rushed for 101 yards and 58 receiving yards.
EJ Manuel had a solid debut and Bills fans should be happy about that. Manuel finished the game 18/27 for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Obviously the Bills were throwing a lot of short quick passes, but the two touchdowns were long ones for EJ.
The second thing that impressed me was the defensive play by New England. Yes the Bills scored 21, but in the NFL now, that is actually a low score. LB Jerod Mayo lead the way on the defense with 15 tackles, 12 were solo. Everything was pretty solid on defense minus the two coverage mistakes by New England that lead the way for 2 touchdowns by the Bills ( 75 yard fumble return, interception lead to EJ first TD). They completely shut down the Bills run game, and anything to do with CJ Spiller. They were also able to shut down Scott Chandler, a thorn in the Patriots side last year.
The Patriots will have a short week before hosting the New York Jets on Thursday night.
QB Tom Brady
29/52 288 yards passing 2 touchdowns
WR Danny Amendola
10 catches 104 yards REC
RB Shane Vereen
14 attempts 101 yards rushing 58 yards REC
WR Danny Amendola