Well, the honeymoon is over. After months of trash-talk and intense build up to Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills didn’t have what it took to take down their division foe yesterday. The 40-32 score doesn’t give justice to the destruction that went down at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday.
Tom Brady methodically picked apart the Bills’ defense, completing 64.4-percent of his passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns. New England’s offense negated Buffalo’s ferocious pass rush, as Brady got the ball out quickly (averaged 2.0 seconds from snap-to-throw), completing 30-of-42 passes that traveled fewer than nine yards in the air.
Julian Edelman ran free on underneath routes, using his speed and shiftiness to break open against linebackers, seeing 19 targets, recording 11 receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns, while All-World tight end Rob Gronkowski worked the seam, catching seven balls for 113 yards and a touchdown.
New England’s no-huddle offense forced Buffalo’s defense to not only get aligned on the fly, but to keep the same personnel groupings on the field, which allowed Tom Brady to locate the mismatches and exploit favorable matchups. Buffalo did stymy the Patriots’ rushing attack, holding them to 56 yards and a score on 15 carries, but ultimately, it meant nothing against a team that utilized so many quick passes as an extension of the run game.
On offense, the Bills were able to move the ball on the ground, gaining 160 yards on 27 carries, with LeSean McCoy accounting for 89 yards on 15 carries, while Tyrod Taylor and Karlos Williams each added scores of their own.
Buffalo’s passing attack was limited due to the ridiculous amount of pressure the Patriots sent at the young quarterback. Taylor was sacked eight times, hit three times and pressured another nine times. Left tackle Cordy Glenn struggled mightily against Chandler Jones, who recorded 3 sacks, adding another hit and a hurry, while linebacker Jamie Collins added another 2.5 sacks of his own.
Rookie right guard John Miller struggled for the second week straight, surrendering four quarterback hurries and a sack in which he was bulldozed by defensive tackle Alan Branch.
When he had adequate time to throw, Taylor was inconsistent going 23-of-30 for 242 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. The first interception was due to a high pass that was tipped off of a leaping Charles Clay’s hand and was picked off by Malcolm Butler, while the second came at the end of the first half on a Hail Mary.
Sammy Watkins led all Bills’ receivers in targets (8) but Percy Harvin continued to be a big piece of the team’s offensive game-plan, catching four of his five targets for 47 yards, and could’ve added another 48 yards and a touchdown had it not been for a Bradley Fletcher pass interference penalty.
Harvin also gained seven yards on a rushing attempt where he lined up at running back in a pistol formation with LeSean McCoy as the wing next to Tyrod Taylor.
32 of Harvin’s 47 yards came after the catch, so it’s clear that Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman has designed plays specifically to get the ball into the hands of one of the more explosive weapons in the league.
For the second straight week, rookie cornerback Ronald Darby proved his many doubters (myself included) wrong. Darby was targeted nine times and surrendered just three receptions for 48 yards.
Four of those targets came when he was defending Rob Gronkowski, who has an eight inch, 70-pound size advantage on him, but Darby allowed him to catch just one pass for 36 yards. In Darby’s first two professional games, Andrew Luck and Tom Brady have posted a combined 45.2 passer rating when targeting him, the fifth-lowest total of cornerbacks that have played at least 60-percent of their team’s defensive snaps.
Defensive Tackle Kyle Williams didn’t make much of an impact on the stat sheet (2 tackles, 1 assist) but he was consistently creating pressure and disrupting the pocket when he was given adequate time. The Patriots started three rookie interior offensive linemen and Williams had his way with each of them, drawing generating four pressures and two hits on Tom Brady.
His quickness and burst off the snap was often too much for center David Andrews and guard Andrew Kline to handle and both were flagged for holding penalties on the underrated veteran.