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Patriots Blow Past Bills 52-28
Second half collapse turns two TD lead into blowout loss.
by Steve Saslow
Week 4
Patriots  52
Bills  28
Gameday Grades
The Skinny:
Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes and ran for a third as the Patriots blew by the Bills 52-28. The Patriots scored five touchdowns in less than 13 minutes to turn a two touchdown deficit into a three touchdown lead. The Bills opened up a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter when Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Donald Jones on a 68 yard catch and run for a touchdown. It was bedlam at Ralph Wilson Stadium and then the Patriots woke up scoring touchdowns on their next six possessions. Fitzpatrick threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns but also threw four interceptions. The Bills turned the ball over six times while the defense was giving up 580 total yards. Fitzpatrick hit Scott Chandler for touchdowns in consecutive series to erase a 7-0 first half deficit. To add injury to insult Jones, Jairus Byrd, Cordy Glenn, Kraig Urbik, and Chandler all left with injuries.

The Turning Point:
In a weird way the turning point in this collapse was a big play by the Bills. When Jones scored on his 68 yard catch and run it finally woke up the patriots and they just dominated the rest of the game like they have done so many times in the past.

The Big Drive:
Which third quarter touchdown drive should we choose? The 8 play, 80 yard drive to make it 21-14, the 8 play, 85 yard drive to tie it or the 5 play, 63 yard drive to take the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter? Let's choose them all. They were all dominating drives with a nice mixture of run and pass. The longest of the three drives was 3:19.

Stat I Did Like:
Passing yards: 340 and most of the yards weren't in garbage time.

Stat I Didn't Like:
Rushing Yards Given Up: 247 yards on the ground was a bad flashback to last season's defense

Quick Slants:
- The Bills got a boost getting back both injured running backs. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson had quicker than expected recoveries from injuries. The PA announcer introduced the two players together before the game. They alternated series most of the game but Jackson looked healthier and the offense moved better with him in the game.
- New England won the opening coin toss and elected to defer giving the Bills the ball first. They got three first downs but eventually had to punt.
- Shawn Powell's first punt went for 31 yards but it was a high punt that was fair caught at the 10 yard line. He punted well until he shanked a punt late in the third quarter that added to the big collapse.
- The three drives we wrote about earlier weren't even the longest drives. Their first drive was a 90 yarder in just 7 plays in 3:07.

Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article:
LT Cordy Glenn vs. DE Chandler Jones: Winner: Jones. Glenn got hurt late but he gave up a sack.
LB Bryan Scott vs. TE Rob Gronkowski: Winner: Gronkowski. He struggled early with drops and a fumble but made plays when the comeback started.
LB Kelvin Sheppard vs. RB Stevan Ridley: Winner: Ridley. He was part of a two headed monster with Bolden.
CB Justin Rogers vs. WR Wes Welker: Winner: Welker. Rogers had help but Welker still made plays despite losing a fumble.
Bills RBs vs. LB Jerod Mayo: Winner: Mayo. Bills didn't do much at all on the ground.
WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Devin McCourty: Winner: McCourty. Johnson was a non factor. He dropped a pass and couldn't haul one in on the sidelines. McCourty had an interception.

Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out:
1. Get Pressure On Brady With Front Four: Failure! Brady had all day to throw. He was sacked just once.
2. Win Special Teams Battle: Success! It didn't make a difference. They didn't do anything wrong while Gostkowski missed two field goals for the Pats so the Bills had a slight edge.
3. Control The Clock: Failure! Time of possession was pretty even but it didn't matter with how quickly the Patriots responded in the second half.

My Take:
I have never seen a meltdown that quickly that decisively. It was a meltdown of epic proportions. Things were looking so good for a while before the epic collapse. It is a very disheartening loss that feels worse than if they got blown out from the beginning of the game. It's true that both Jackson and Spiller weren't 100 percent but there is no excuse for that collapse as the Patriots shredded the Bills defense in the air and on the ground in the second half while the Bills offense was punting and turning the ball over. They will need to show some kind of character to bounce back from this tough loss that makes them 0-2 in the division. Let's hope most of the many injuries they suffered aren't serious.

What's Ahead:
This loss will be tough to come back from as the Bills head out west for a two game road trip that starts in San Francisco against one of the NFC's best teams.

  • Stevon Gilmore - Knocked away three passes and was always in good position.
  • Scott Chandler - Had two beautiful touchdown catches.
  • Jairus Byrd - Forced two fumbles and recovered one of them.

  • Goats
  • Mario Williams - They got him to get to Brady. You barely knew he was on the field.
  • Stevie Johnson - Was too quiet for being the main pass receiver on the team. He caught one pass and dropped one.
  • Chan Gailey - Has to take the hit for the team's total collapse when they seemingly had control of the game.
  • C.J. Spiller - I know he was still banged up but his fumble was a killer as well. May have come back a week too early.
  • Erik Pears - Was called for three penalties.

  • Player Of The Week
  • Stevon Gimore - Best game by far for the rookie.

  • Positional Breakdown and Grades Gamebook
    Patriots Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage

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