Can Rex Ryan Back-Up His Bluster
That question was answered with a resounding NO Sunday afternoon as Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and a host of others destroyed the Buffalo Bills “vaunted” defense, 40-32. Don’t be deceived by the final score, this wasn’t that close. The Bills scored 19 points in the 4th quarter, long after the winner had already been determined.
The Bills scored on their first possession and the Buffalo fans were in heaven. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long and many had left the stadium before they got a chance to get loud again. They may have pulled the comeback off if they were playing the NY Giants (sorry Giants fans. I hate to kick you when you’re down…) but nope, they were up against an angry (although they’ll never admit it) Tom Brady & Bill Belichick. Only one team in NFL history has come back from a 24 point fourth quarter deficit.
New England: What Went Right
I’m not sure where to start, but how about this…
- Tom Brady was so good even ESPN had to admit it. No snide remarks about deflated footballs by anyone after this one was over.
If that wasn’t enough, how about this from Sports Center
Nuff said! Lesson learned? Don’t piss-off Tom Brady! He’s playing like he has something to prove after all the off-season slander he put up with. Bet it will be a little tense if Commissioner Roger Goodell is forced to actually attend a Patriot game this year…or, better yet, give Brady another MVP Trophy.
- Rob Gronkowski was, once again, unstoppable. It’s hard to believe, but so far he’s been better than ever. Check this out from old friend Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal
- The question of who will replace Shane Vereen (who?) has been answered with an unknown running back who no one wanted…and he isn’t named Gray. I know it’s only two games, and he has fumbled twice (lost one), but Dion Lewis (remember that name Rex Ryan) has been outstanding. Belichick had enough confidence in him that he put him right back in the offense after his fumble. That doesn’t happen very often, just ask former Patriot Stevan Ridley.
Lewis (that’s L-E-W-I-S Mr. Ryan) had 40 yards rushing and a TD on just 7 carries. You’re right, that’s OK, but nothing to rave about. How about this then, 6 receptions for 98 yards. Combine the two and you get 13 touches for 138 total yards. If you aren’t good at math Rex, that’s 10.6 yards per touch. Anyone think Ryan will remember his name when the two teams meet again in November at Gillette Stadium on Thursday Night Football (ESPN)?
I could go on and on about the offense, including the emergence of Aaron Dobson (7 receptions for 87 yards, one drop), THE catch of the day by Danny Amendola to seal the victory and the continued success of Julian Edelman (11 reception, 97 yards, 2 TDs), but the biggest surprise of the game was (drum roll please):
- The Offensive Line. People needlessly worried about Tom Brady’s life/health coming into this game against Buffalo’s feared pass rush. Brady’s quick release certainly helped, but the youngsters held up just fine, allowing only two sacks…and that was without Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell. Can we all please stop holding our breath every time TB drops back to pass?
Yes, the defense gave up 32 points, but it actually was very good. Remember, 19 of those points were in garbage time, just as the 7 they gave up to Pittsburgh in the final seconds of game one. As is usually the case, when you give up that many points, people will point out your deficiencies. Well, how about these positives:
- 8 sacks against a very mobile Tyrod Taylor, who, fortunately, escaped without injury
- 3 Interceptions (Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon)
- Held Buffalo to 3 for 13 (30%) on 3rd down
- 3 sacks from an unstoppable Chandler Jones & 2.5 for Jamie Collins
- Kept Sammy Watkins to 6 receptions for 60 yards and 1 TD
New England: What Went Wrong
- Patriots’ had 4th and 1 from the Buffalo 41 yard line in the 4th quarter and went for it. Going for it actually wasn’t a bad decision, but getting greedy and throwing an incomplete long pass to a covered Dion Lewis was not among the smartest things to do.
- Brady was strip-sacked and the Bills scored in 15 seconds to make it 37-32 late in the game
- The run defense continues to be soft. Despite trailing, Buffalo ran the ball 27 times for 160 net yards (almost 6 yards per carry).
- Yes, they sacked and pressured Taylor the whole game, but he completed 23 of 30 passes and 3 TDs. Big lead or not, garbage time or not…that’s not very good. They did contain his scrambles (5 for 43 yds, 1 TD) fairly well, but still need the secondary to step up. Three int’s was nice, completion percentage was not.
It’s still a long season and, with 14 regular season games to go, anything can happen. The AFC East came back to earth with Buffalo’s loss and Miami falling to Jacksonville (you know that hurt). The Jets (2-0) kept pace with New England by beating the highly overrated Colts (0-2) Monday night.
The Patriots return to Gillette Stadium against the surprising (1-1) Jaguars Sunday. Bill Belichick doesn’t allow his players to enjoy wins for very long, but it will be hard for his team to “get-up” for Jacksonville after their dominance in Buffalo. It’s still the NFL and On Any Sunday…..”
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