The Patriots overcame a defensive slugfest last night, and emerged victorious in Orchard Park, as they bested the Buffalo Bills (2-6) 25-6. The Pats offense struggled for a majority of the game, as the defense and special teams led the way to another triumph over their divisional rivals.
Here are some takeaways from yesterday’s game.
1. The Patriots offense struggled to gain momentum against Buffalo
The Patriots were able to drive the ball down the field at will, but they struggled to finish off drives, as they settled for 4 field goals, before scoring their first touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tom Brady had an efficient game as he had 324 passing yards (without any touchdowns or interceptions) along with 8 rushing yards (only 3 short of 1000 career rushing yards!). Buffalo was able to constantly get after Brady, with Lorenzo Alexander and Jerry Hughes leading the way for the Bills’ pass rush. Following the injury to Sony Michel during last week’s win at Chicago, the Patriots tried to be creative with their rushing game, as they featured Cordarrelle Patterson in the backfield on several plays, with #84 rushing for 38 yards off of 10 carries.
Julian Edelman ( 9 catches for 104 yards) and James White (10 catches for 79 yards) led the way for the passing attack, as they consistently got open whenever Brady was in trouble. The Pats also had solid contributions from Chris Hogan (2 catches for 49 yards) and Josh Gordon (4 catches for 42 yards). Rob Gronkowski had 3 catches for 43 yards, and it definitely appeared as if he was still hampered by injuries he has suffered recently.
The Patriots will definitely need to have a better outing on offense next week as they welcome the Packers, who gave the high-powered Rams fits on offense.
2. The defense had a solid outing
Throughout the season, the Pats defense had been described as the team’s weak link due to their inconsistent showings over the last few weeks. That narrative changed last night, as the defense carried the Pats to a win on a night when Tom Brady & Co. were not at their best. The Bills tried to attack the Pats by using the Wildcat formation on several occasions, which was mostly unsuccessful for Buffalo. The Patriots were able to limit the effectiveness of LeSean McCoy, who was limited to 13 yards off of 12 carries. The Patriots also finally won the turnover battle, as they were able to force 2 turnovers that were crucial in breaking the game open for them. Firstly, Pat Chung recovered a Derek Anderson in the third quarter that resulted in a field goal that increased the lead to 12-6. In the fourth quarter, Devin McCourty delivered the dagger, as he picked off Anderson and returned it for a 84 yard touchdown that put the game out of reach.
If the Patriots’ defense continues to play like this, they will be hard to beat.
- Passing: Tom Brady – 29/45 for 324 yards
- Rushing: Cordarrelle Patterson – 10 carries for 38 yards
- Receiving: Julian Edelman – 9 catches for 104 yards
- Defensive: Kyle Van Noy – 8 tackles (including 2 sacks)
- Passing: Derek Anderson – 22/39 for 290 yards, and 1 interception
- Rushing: Chris Ivory – 6 carries for 34 yards
- Receiving: LeSean McCoy – 6 catches for 82 yards
- Defensive: Phillip Gaines – 10 tackles
What’s next?: The Pats welcome Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (3-3-1) for a Sunday Night matchup. Ironically, this is only the second matchup between Brady and Rodgers.