New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills: Five Things We Learned
The more things change the more they stay the same. Both the Bills and Patriots showed some of the same weaknesses while breaking out in other areas.
We knew that Tom Brady could win football games and that Ryan Fitzpatrick was coming into his own. And we also knew that both defenses were having struggles in various aspects of the game.
So here are some things we can take from the pounding that the Patriots put on the Bills:
Ryan Fitzpatrick is an inconsistent quarterback
Admittedly, his receivers dropped some easy catches today, but Ryan needs to get the ball to his guys more often than not; if he can't hit them with the ball, they can't catch it. Four interceptions is a bad day; if he doesn't clean that up his job will be up for grabs.
Tom Brady can play from behind
Well, this is exactly news for Pats' fans, but it seemed like he was struggling more this year than we can recall, and he certainly turned in a solid performance overall today. Let's credit the O-line with pretty decent blocking; it's nice to see that for a change!
The Patriots have found themselves a running game
We had a clue that Stevan Ridley could pound the ball, and he turned another 100-yard game in the win today. So where did Brandon Bolden come from? Two 100-yard performances in the same game? If this is the new status quo for New England then we may have found the missing link.
The Bills running game was incognito all day
They may have been banged up, but management felt that Spiller and Jackson were good enough to play and that just about sums it up. They couldn't get the run going and that added pressure onto Fitzpatrick and the passing game. While the Patriots enjoyed a balanced attack on offense, the Bills tried to be one dimensional and it backfired over the course of four quarters.
The Patriots still need a lot of work on defense
The D-line got more pressure on the quarterback this week and notched 3 sacks to go with 6 total turnovers, but still struggled somewhat in coverage, yielding 350 passing yards despite Fitzpatrick's inaccuracy. Tighter coverage and more disciplined tackling need to be the priority in practice and on the field in future games.
It's hard to criticize a team who put up 52 points against a defense that was touted as one of the most improved in the league prior to the start of the season. Apparently, they didn't improve as much as we thought. And maybe this New England D has the heart to hang tough and give the offense the ball and chances to score points.
That's all Brady can ask for regardless of the opponent.