The Patriots’ 37-31 win over the Bills was penalty-plagued from the start, and without Buffalo digging their own holes constantly throughout the first half, I’m not sure the Patriots walk out of this one with a win. There is a tough stretch of games coming up in which they face San Francisco and Houston, and if the defense plays like they did Sunday, these games will not be close enough to worry about holding onto a fourth quarter lead. We have yet to see New England playing from behind for many stretches in the fourth quarter, and it will be interesting to see how they fare in those situations.
Positives to take away from this game
- Brandon Spikes has become a legitimate linebacker in the NFL. Teams need at least one guy that is inches from the edge and loves to push the barrier of the kind of devastating hits he’s allowed to make.
- Stevan Ridley broke off some big runs. I’m very impressed by his ability to get into the second level. He’s on pace to break 1400 yards, quite a number for a Patriots back.
- Sebastian Vollmer has been incredible. Leading the way on Ridley’s touchdown run and keeping Mario Williams out of the backfield for the afternoon were two of his highlights on the day. You know it’s a good day for you on the line when people are not really talking about you after the game. The same goes for Nate Solder.
- Devin McCourty looks like a decent saftey. Even though he was late on the Fred Jackson 2-yard score, I don’t think he would have stopped him anyways. The two takeaways were an important part of the game. If he remains back there when Talib plays next week, the secondary could see an improvement.
Negatives on the day
- Even though there were no long plays, a myriad of 15-24 yard gains does not bode well for this defense. They struggled all day in the front seven, failing to stop the running game and putting up a poor day tackling.
- The number 2. Which is the number of drops Welker had on key plays including after the McCourty forced fumble that put the Patriots offense on the 1. If he catches that ball there is a chance the team pushes a little further downfield and takes more time off the clock. I believe he will be back to normal next week.
- They seem to still be forcing the ball to Brandon Lloyd. If he can’t get open, stop throwing him the ball until he does.
The Patriots host Andrew Luck and the red-hot Colts next week in a game that was flexed in the schedule to 4:25 pm. Let’s hope Talib is everything he’s hyped up to be.
Statistics courtesy of NFL.com
Tags: Brandon Lloyd, Buffalo Bills, Devin McCourty, Patriots, Sebastian Vollmer, Stevan Ridley, Steve Gregory, Tom Brady, Wes Welker