The Bills came to play today, and probably played their best game of the year, but as usual it was not enough to defeat the Patriots. The offense came alive under the direction of Ryan Fitzpatrick but the defense let them down in a big way in the 38-30 loss. It was their 14th straight win over Buffalo which is the longest active streak in the NFL. C.J. Spiller scored his first two career touchdowns on a five yard reception of screen pass and a 95 yard kick return for a score. Steve Johnson caught a 37 yard touchdown pass to get the Bills closer with 4:08 left. Fitzpatrick completed 20 of 28 for 247 yards. He had two costly interceptions, one in the end zone and the other stopped a chance at a game tying drive. The Patriots ate up yards against the Bills defense as they finished with 445 total yards including 200 on the ground. Tom Brady threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Turning Point:
Fitzpatrick's one mistake in the game was a huge one. The Bills were looking to answer after the Patriots went up 31-23. They moved the ball 49 yards in three plays and then on the first play of the fourth quarter the wind came out of their sails. Fitzpatrick sailed a pass over the head of Roscoe Parrish and it was easily picked off in the end zone. Ending the Bills last big threat at an upset.
The Big Drive:
After Lindell missed his kick, the Patriots went 59 yards in 13 plays taking up half the third quarter. They converted three third downs on the drive including an 8 yard scramble by Brady and the five yard touchdown pass to the Buffalo native Gronkowski.
Stat of the Game:
The Bills had 202 yards in the first half. That is more than they had in the entire game the first two weeks of the season. Still you would like a couple of those field goals be touchdowns.
What You Don't See On The Stat Sheet:
Aaron Maybin, ok he is on the stat sheet technically, he is just a non factor and in this game he played a lot.
- The Bills constantly rushed just three or four and never got near Brady. Whenever he had time to throw, he killed the Bills.
- It doesn't seem like Chan Gailey has confidence in his passing game regardless of who is at quarterback. He constantly called running plays even in bad down and distance situations.
- With the running game moving pretty well early, why not do more play action?
- Gailey was also doing some shuffling on the offensive line moving players in and out even during drives. There didn't appear to be any injury reasons for the rotation.
Everyone knew the Bills would lose in New England at least it was an entertaining game. The Bills made it interesting and fans had a chance to wonder in what excruciating way would they lose in Gillette Stadium this time. At least we didn't have to go through that as the Patriots took over the game in the fourth quarter. Another loss but at least there was signs of life. They say there are no moral victories in the NFL but if we don't take those with the Bills what do we have?
It doesn't get any easier for Buffalo. They get the Jets next week, at least this time they will be at home. It likely won't make a difference as they are inevitably headed to a 0-4 start.