If you felt deprived of something the past two weeks, could not sleep, had a difficult time eating and were completely unmotivated at work, most should understand.
Patriot’s football can do that to you, when they do and don't play.
And today, they certainly brought the drama.
The game's major story line, once again, was the Patriot’s defense. Bill's quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, like many sub-par quarterbacks New England has faced this season, looked like a reincarnation of 'insert your favorite hall-of-fame quarterback here.'
(I almost feel a sense of déjà vu in these weekly recaps, but oh well).
By the end of the third quarter, Fitzpatrick piled up over 220 passing yards. He finished with 337 passing yards on 27/40 completions and 2 touchdowns. However, his most telling statistic was his game-killing interception to safety Devin McCourty with under a minute to go in the fourth quarter and his team trailing 37-31.
In all, one inconsistent unit outplayed another inconsistent unit. For Patriot fans, they were glad their unit came out on top.
New England opened with the game’s first 10 points, a field goal by Stephen Gosktowksi and a 1-yard plunge by running back Steven Ridley before both teams traded scores in the second quarter. Much as they did in their second half barrage during the team's first match, the Patriots turned often to their potent no-huddle attack.
This season, one of the major problems for the Patriot’s defense has been surrendering astonishingly long drives. In the second quarter, Buffalo finally overcame their early penalty meltdown and gave the Patriots a heavy dose of running back C. J Spiller outside of the tackles, as well as throws out of the shotgun formation to rack up scoring drives of 54, 80 and 75 yards.
Tom Brady continued his stellar streak of throwing a touchdown in 41 consecutive games by tossing a 2-yard touchdown to tight end Rob Gronkowski. New England’s offense, which also leads the league in rushing touchdowns (13), featured running backs Steven Ridley (22 car, 98 yards, 4.5 yds per carry) and Danny Woodhead (1 rushing and 1 rec. touchdown).
Yet, as effective and compelling as it can be, questionable play calls, once again plagued New England’s offense late and almost cost them the win. With a 1st and 10 on their 2-yard line, the Patriots quick snaped to Steven Ridley, resulting in a 2 yard loss. A penalty and two incomplete passes later led to a Stephen Gostkowski 27-yard field goal, which moved the Patriots ahead 37-31. Although the touchdown would have likely been the Patriot’s ultimate goal, one could question why they failed to attempt to run down the clock more effectively.
Buffalo's doom, again, rested in their team's undisciplined play. They finished with a mind boggling 14 penalties for 148 yards.
How many teams can overcome the opposition and the referees? Only the good ones...
The Bills came within a few yards of setting the half time record of 126 total penalty yards. Further, three costly turnovers—one by running back Fred Jackson near the goal line—haulted their momentum of a late game comeback.
The Patriots sit somewhat comfortably in their division at 6-3. Yet, an important question remains: How long can they mask their glaring weaknesses before they can no longer overcome them?
...Could new pick up, corner back Aquib Talib be the answer to their secondary's woes? What are your thoughts?
Look for my analysis this Tuesday on the Patriot's close win over the Bills.