The Buffalo Bills talked the talk. Now they have to walk the walk… of humility.
Despite a comeback attempt from the Buffalo Bills, they would fall short when Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins dropped a high pass that would wind up being intercepted. That pick doomed Buffalo to a 40-32 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Week 2 of the NFL season.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns, as New England cruised to 37 points before the start of the 4th quarter. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had 7 cathes for 113 yards and a touchdown, while Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman had 11 catches for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns, but also threw for 3 interceptions in his first loss as a Buffalo Bill. Bills running back LeSean McCoy 116 all-purpose yards (89 rushing).
However, while New England was precise on offense and opportunistic on defense, this game wasn’t sealed until the final minute. Buffalo stormed back with three straight touchdowns and a final chance to tie the game. Taylor’s thrid pick of the day sealed the loss.
Some major takeaways from the 40-32 loss suffered by the Bills:
- Buffalo’s running game was again solid. This week, however, it was not allowed to dictate play. The Bills strangely abandoned it early on in favor of WR Screen plays, which failed and created a short field (14 yard TD drive) for New England on their third drive of the game. While the Bills need to establish some balance, the Bills went away from what was working on their first drive. After calling 6 runs on the 8-play opening drive, they called only 3 runs on their next 9 plays. This Bills team is best built to run the ball, yet it was abandoned. The result? A near safety (the ensuing punt/personal foul led to a Patriots drive start of the BUF 14) and an interception on a dropped pass (which led to a Patriots drive start of the BUF 30). That’s a pretty easy way to dig an early 21-7 hole.
- Penalties were major setback for a second straight game. This week, the Bills were flagged for 14 penalties and whopping 140 penalty yards. While the Indianapolis Colts didn’t make the Bills pay last week, the Patriots did. To be fair, the stripes seemed trigger-happy on both teams (New England had 11 penalties as well). However, Buffalo needs to clean up their lack of discipline, and FAST. The Bills had FIVE unsportsmanlike conduct/personal fouls in this game (one was declined). This coaching staff cannot allow these errors to go on, or else the better teams in the league will take advantage of them.
- Speaking of coaching issues, there was a lack of a sound defensive scheme for the Bills today. The Bills knew that Brady gets rid of the ball faster than anyone else in the NFL. For some reason, Ryan’s defensive scheme didn’t involve jamming the smaller Patriots wideouts (i.e. Edelman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson). Jamming the receivers disrupts the timing of a quick-release style of quarterbacking. While Brady still throws a great deep ball, his best work comes from “death by 1,000 cuts” and the occasional intermediate pass that springs for a big gain. Also, with disrupted timing with the receivers, it naturally leads to more time spent scanning the field, which would allow the talented Bills defensive line more time to hit Brady in the pocket and rattle him. Instead, Ryan chose to blitz heavily, and it was negated by Brady’s quick throws. Simply put, Rex Ryan was out-coached. At least he admitted to it.
- While the Bills seemed out of it by the start of the 4th quarter, give credit to the Bills for creating some positive momentum offensively to move forward. An added bonus was that the Bills were able to get a last-ditch chance to attempt to tie the game with a minute left.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Bills (1-1, 0-1 in the AFC East) will look to rebound when they head to Miami and take on the Miami Dolphins (1-1, 0-0 in the AFC East) next Sunday, September 27th.
Stay tuned to BLTD Sports for the latest National Football League and Buffalo Bills coverage!