Unfortunately, the Terry and Kim Pegula era in Buffalo began with a loss to the New England Patriots by a score of 37-22. Have I mentioned I hate losing to the Patriots? Because I do. And it has happened a lot in my lifetime and I actually thought this might be the week we beat them and take a serious step towards reclaiming the AFC East crown. But alas, Tom Brady was Tom Brady (361 passing yards with 4 TDs) and the Bills couldn’t get out of their own way (8 penalties for 107 yards and 3 turnovers). However, we did get an awesome #OneBuffalo display and great quotes from Mr. Pegula that were the saving grace from this game.
Let’s get right into my grades for the team though, because I’m already tired of thinking about the loss so going over the statistics more in-depth would just be bad for everyone. The offense looked alright, nothing to write home about, but it was respectable. Kyle Orton is definitely not the long term solution at QB, but 300* (I know he threw 299, but for all intents and purposes it is close enough to call it 300) passing yards in consecutive games is something I can certainly get used to seeing. I would just like it if he could be more consistent. I also loved seeing that Scott Chandler is in fact capable of catching passes still, you’d almost not have known with his targets/catches through the first 5 games, but he showed up today in a major way with over 100 yards receiving. However, there was plenty more not to like. The run game was basically non-existent as no Bills running back finished with more than 26 yards. I’m not sure if it is play calling, the defense or the offensive line, but it seems like that much talent shouldn’t be limited to 68 yards. Speaking of the offensive line, the unit as a whole couldn’t pass protect very well in this game. Orton was sacked 5 times, one of which resulted in a lost fumble when he got blind-sided by Chandler Jones. Despite these negatives the Bills still gained a decent amount of yards, had good time of possession and went 3-3 in the red zone, so I’ll give them a grade of C- in this game.
The defensive side of the ball, which has been the unit allowing Buffalo to win this season, was not good enough against the Patriots. I know the Pats are the Pats and they’re a lot better than they played earlier in the season, but still… with all the offensive line problems they’ve been having, the Bills should have been able to get more pressure on Brady. The lack of hurried throws Brady had to make exposed the Bills secondary a bit. There were some long TD passes where the coverage just looked bad. There was also what is easily the most obvious pass interference penalty there’s ever been – See Williams, Duke in the 2nd quarter. Now Tom Brady played very well in this game and when a QB of his caliber is making all the throws, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. Additionally, the run defense was again stout, limiting the Pats to 50 rushing yards on 27 attempts. All in all, it was a mixed showing from the D, but ultimately a lack of turnovers and surrendering far too many points means my grade for the Bills defense is a C- as well.
Samuelson Slant Grade: C-
The team played okay, but clearly not good enough to win though. What do you think, Bills Mafia? Is this grade too gentle given the score and the fact they lost to the Pats?