Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

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    Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

         The Patriots used a physical, smash-mouth style of play, in disposing of the Buffalo Bills in monsoon like conditions, 34-20, in Foxborough. This marks the second straight week that the Pats have dominated their opponent physically, and bodes well for the Boys in Blue as they head into the play-offs. Thanks to this win, the Pats will enjoy a much needed bye week, before likely dealing with the Cincinnati Bengals. Here are my grades:

    I. OFFENSE: In a word, "physical". Gone were the relentless dinks and dunks to metriculate the ball down the field. In it's place were wrecking ball runs through a constant downpour, resulting in a bevy of breakway jaunts by RBs LeGarrette Bloiunt, and Stevan Ridley.

    1.) QB: Going into this game, if I were to tell you that the "Terrific One" would complete just 14 of 24 passes for 122 yards, a TD, and a pick, how many of you would have felt comfortable with those stats? But, no worries. This stat-line came about as a result of Tom's decision to rely on his newly discovered power running game. Folks, when you're playing in a driving rain storm, and you're running game is getting you over six (6) yards per carry, why throw the ball? Despite the game being close into the fourth quarter, this was a rocking chair game for Tom, who, when he did decide to throw, was hardly pressured. Facing a 3rd and six from around midfield with five (5) minutes remaining in the game, and the Pats nursing a ten point lead at 27-17, Shane Vereen bobbled of a "safe" swing pass, which resulted in Tom's lone pick. Though nothing Tom did today jumps out at you, he led his offense, and did what needed to be done to secure the win: GRADE: B;

    2.) RBs: LeGarrette Blount turned in perhaps the finest game by a RB in franchise history, as he rushed for 189 yards on just 24 carries. But, as we know, that was only half of the story, as Blount returned two kickoffs following Buffalo TDs for 83 and 62 yards. His 35 yard TD run with 2:31 left to play iced the game, as it increased the Patriots' lead to 34-20. In addition to the Blount heroics, Stevan Ridley contributed 74 yards on just 12 carries...highlighted by a 29 yard first quarter jaunt. FB James Develin converted a 3rd and one into a first down with a four (4) yard plunge, to help get the Patriots out of a second quarter field position hole. Though Shane Vereen did nothing running the ball, he had three receptions for 42 yards, including a 4 yard TD reception. But, as stated above, he had that bobble of a Brady pass which led to an interception. and allowed the Bills an opportunity to get back in the game. The other thing that needs to be stressed is that, despite the briiliant ground assault, the Pats had four (4) fumbles...one each by Brady, Blount, Vereen, and WR Julian Edelman. Fortunately, all four of these fumbles were recovered by the good guys. This is something that can't happen in the play-offs: GRADE: A+;

    3.) OL: Aside from some weak play from Marcus Cannon and Ryan Wendell, there's little to complain about here. Cannon and Wendell had back to back holding penalties, which killed a potential third quarter scoring drive. But, the left side of the line was, for the most part, dominant. The Big Uglies collectively allowed just one sack, and two QB hits on Tom Brady. Folks, when the running game notches 267 yards and averages over six (6) yards a rush...that's getting it done, and then some: GRADE: A;

    4.) TEs and WRs: Though the TEs collectively had no receptions, their blocking  played a part in the success of the running game. As for the WRS, Julian Edelman reached the 100 catch/1000 yard milestone for the first time in his carreer. Jules finished with nine (9) catches for 65 yards, along with a third quarter two-point conversion reception. The rest of the depleted WR corp hardly contributed, as rain and the run reigned: GRADE: C;

    II. DEFENSE: After a solid first half, had some trouble containing Bills' back-up QB Thaddeus Lewis and the Bills' dynamic RB duo of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson.  Though this unit failed to force a single turnover, they forced a couple of change of possessions, by making a pair of fourth down stops. These stops prevented the Bills from launching a more serious challenge.  

    1.) DL: Though the DL allowed a good amount of yardage on the ground (35 rushes for 169 yards), the guys up front almost appeared as if they were taking a "bend but don't break" approach to the Bills' RBs. But, most of the mileage that RBs C.J. Spiller (19 carries for 105 yards) and Fred Jackson (14 carries for 60 yards) earned on the ground was inconsequential. The Bills got a break from the refs on a ticky-tack "illegal hands to the face" penalty against Chandler Jones, which negated a sack....and led to a TD, instead on a FG. The inability to get consistent pressure on QB Thaddeus Lewis resulted in zero forced turnovers, and three (3) 20 plus yard pass plays. Huge second quarter stop of Lewis on a 4th and one play at the New England 44 by Rob Ninkovich (5 tackles, 3 solos, a sack and 2 TFLs) blounted a potential Bills' scoring drive. Solid performance by DT Sealver Siliga, who led he team with nine tackles (5 solos), and had a sack: GRADE: B-;

    2.) LBs: This corp is hurting playing without Jerod Mayo, and with Brandon Spikes at 75%. Dont'a Hightower had six (6) tackles (2 solos). Credit the Bills for running a no-huddle offense for most of the game, forcing the Patriots to go without situational substitutions. There was a coverage snafu on the huge 37 yard catch and run on a short pass over the middle to RB Fred Taylor, which set up the Bills' final TD...cutting the Pats' lead from a dominant 24-10, to 24-17. Jackson and Spiller did quite a bit of damage, with a combined for eight (8) catches for 81 yards, coming out of the backfield: GRADE: C;

    3.) SECONDARY: The Pats caught a break this week, as Buffalo's best WR, Stevie Johnson, missed this game,due to the passing of his mother. Forced into service due to the absence of FS Devin McCourty, rookie Duron Harmon had his difficulties...surrendering a 22 yard completion to WR Marquise Goodwin, and a 27 yard play to TE Scott Chandler. Kyle Arrington got torched for 25 yards by WR Robert Woods. That aside, the coverage generally was decent. For the game, Thaddeus ewis finished with 16 completions in 29 attempts for 247 yards, and a TD. Though some Lewis accuracy issues and dropped passes helped the cause, the footing likely dictated more soft coverage, in hopes of limiting big plays: GRADE: B;    

    III. SPECIAL TEAMS: This group as truly special today...led by LeGarrette Blount...who answered two Bills' TDs with kickoff returns of 83 and 62 yards. These returns led to 10 New England points. PK Stephen Gostkowski broke the Patriots' scoring record for a season, tacking on four (4) FGs in the process. Another great job by punter Ryan Allen, who averaged 53 yards on two punts. Even Tom Brady got in the act, with a 32 yard pooch punt on a 3rd and 32 play, from around mid-field. Julian Edelman had two punt returns for seven (7) yards, and an unforgivable muffed punt. Fortunately, he recovered his own miscue: GRADE: A+;

    IV. COACHING: BB has his Boys ready to play despite the downpour, as they jumped out to an early 16-3 halftime lead. Decision to stick with the running game was an easy one, based on the weather conditions, and the overwhelming success of the ground assault on the field. Despite their 6-10 record, the Bills have talent...and are a good QB away from being a contender. It's truly amazing that BB has been able to lead this team to a 12 win season and a bye week, despite the injury barrage. Over the past two weeks, BB and Josh McDaniels have done a great job of transitioning away from Gronk, and finding other ways to get it done. Whether or not the smash-mouth approach is successful in the play-offs remains to be seen. The Cincinnati Bengals appear to be the Pats' playoff opponent, and may be the most talented all around team in the AFC: GRADE: A;

    V. PLAY OF THE GAME: After the Bills had scored a TD, cutting the Patriots' 16-3 lead down to 16-10, LeGarrette Blounts' 83 yard kickoff return was the tonic the Boys in Blue needed to regain control of the game.

    VI. PLAYER OF THE GAME: LeGarrette Blount carries this team on his back to victory, in one of the finest overall performance I've seen from a RB in some time.

         Here are the game stats: http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=331229017

         As always, your comments and opinions are welcome.

         Enjoy the win! Happy New Year, my friends!!      

            

                  

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from themightypatriots. Show themightypatriots's posts

    Re: Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    But I want to be the #1 seed every year!

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from TripleOG. Show TripleOG's posts

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    Good Job Tex. I would maybe give the backs an A - considering the fumble by Blount and the costly drop by Vareen.  I cant say it was perfect but pretty close. Great way to end the season and get some rest on the bye week.

    The team isnt perfect but they have just as much a shot at winning as any other.

     

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Cloudyandrain. Show Cloudyandrain's posts

    Re: Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    as always good analysis. I am still concern the blown coverages of the secondary. This is could be the  Pat's kryptonite.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to TripleOG's comment:


    Good Job Tex. I would maybe give the backs an A - considering the fumble by Blount and the costly drop by Vareen.  I cant say it was perfect but pretty close. Great way to end the season and get some rest on the bye week.

    The team isnt perfect but they have just as much a shot at winning as any other.

     



         I thought about lowering the RB grade to just an "A"...but Blount and Ridley were so great yesterday, that I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

     

     
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    no worries. Cant go wrong with either and Im happy with the win  and the # 2 seed. Now its time to really make it count.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Giving Brady a B, based on what?  I could see this if he was being relied upon to lead the Pats to a win, IE - coming from behind, nip and tuck game, etc. , but, in this game he managed what he was called upon to do and did not go "pass happy".  His lone INT was due to a bobbled, catchable ball by Vereen.  If you are scoring him based on stats, well, that is another matter. One thinks the "monsoon", as you put it, had a lot to do with the passing game.  Yes, I know Lewis looked Manning like, but, if not for his passing, which the Bills needed, they would have been smoked worse.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

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    In response to TripleOG's comment:


    no worries. Cant go wrong with either and Im happy with the win  and the # 2 seed. Now its time to really make it count.



         Have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised with the way that the Pats have played in their last two games. Despite all their injury problems, they are hanging tough...and showing that they'll be hard to beat in the play-offs.   

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to TexasPat's comment:

    In response to TripleOG's comment:


    no worries. Cant go wrong with either and Im happy with the win  and the # 2 seed. Now its time to really make it count.



         Have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised with the way that the Pats have played in their last two games. Despite all their injury problems, they are hanging tough...and showing that they'll be hard to beat in the play-offs.   



    We may think so, but the rest of NFL fanworld thinks Pats' fans are out of their minds thinking the Pats have a chance, plus, the talking heads have all but given the trophy to Manning and the Broncos.  Can't figure out why, though, given the SB will be in cold, wintry conditions.  Kryptonite for Manning.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from seawolfxs. Show seawolfxs's posts

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    Pretty good job

    the most important aspect is that they are really physical. would all of the recent SB winners have been considered to be the most physical? except maybe the broncos

    I thought Wendell had a good game, and didnt the announcers say good things about canon?? but will acquiece to those with game film

    Why is it that so many lower level Qbs have such great games against us. I thought Lewis was pretty good, he made some great long throws and was hurt by drops. from what I saw I wouldn't mind having him on my team. 

    these pats are not a one trick pony. No complaint  about the play calling of McD at all.i still don't like ling sideline passes on 3 and short. did the pats go into zone in the second half with a 2 score lead? I think this helped the pats, espn and nflnet have CERN awfully quiet about the pats. Which is just great with me. 

     

     

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to agcsbill's comment:



         Have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised with the way that the Pats have played in their last two games. Despite all their injury problems, they are hanging tough...and showing that they'll be hard to beat in the play-offs.   



    We may think so, but the rest of NFL fanworld thinks Pats' fans are out of their minds thinking the Pats have a chance, plus, the talking heads have all but given the trophy to Manning and the Broncos.  Can't figure out why, though, given the SB will be in cold, wintry conditions.  Kryptonite for Manning.



         Wouldn't want to have it any other way. First thing first, though. The Pats must beat a very tough Bengals team. But, if the Pats get by them to face the Horseface in Denver, let Peyton's Broncos be heavily favored. All the sweeter, if the Pats can pull off the upset.

     

 
  • You have chosen to ignore posts from ccsjl. Show ccsjl's posts

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    Great report...you did nail the LBs with a C...Bills RBs were running free all day in pass routes, the TD was to an uncovered back, and BOTH 4 quarter 4th down stops of Bills were dropped passes by wide open backs. 

    For Offense - grade C from me, simply because they could not "slam the door" on the the Bills until the final 2 minutes of the game. After the Ninc stop on 4th down in second quarter, Pats had the ball at midfield with 5 mins to go and up 16-3.. FG there goes up by 3 scores, TD is GAME OVER, instead its 3 and out for the offense, which continued without a score the entire 3rd quarter as well allowing Bills to hang around and get within 6 points.

     
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    In response to PhatVirgin's comment:

    good job with the report card.  The only thing missing was a big assist to the heavy rain.  The weather condition and poor run D of the Bills is basically begging for a game plan with a heavy dose of running.  IMO, the OL and RBs have an advantage in that kind of weather.




    Funny...the NY Jets don't have a good team in ANY weather...never, not for the last 40 years...must be some kind of record for continued futility and failure...oh well, they ARE nthe NY Jets afterall...stay proud GANG Green...you're team marches to the beat of a foot fetishist

     
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    Re: Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to agcsbill's comment:

    In response to TexasPat's comment:

    In response to TripleOG's comment:


    no worries. Cant go wrong with either and Im happy with the win  and the # 2 seed. Now its time to really make it count.



         Have to say that I've been pleasantly surprised with the way that the Pats have played in their last two games. Despite all their injury problems, they are hanging tough...and showing that they'll be hard to beat in the play-offs.   



    We may think so, but the rest of NFL fanworld thinks Pats' fans are out of their minds thinking the Pats have a chance, plus, the talking heads have all but given the trophy to Manning and the Broncos.  Can't figure out why, though, given the SB will be in cold, wintry conditions.  Kryptonite for Manning.


    Did you see how happy Tom Brady was being a 1 point dog to the Ravens?  Can you imagine if they are 7 or 10 point dogs going to Denver?  That's if the Broncows can get out of the first round!

    I was also encouraged how happy he looked beating the Bill win mostly a running game.  The shots of him and Blount yucking it up on the sidelines at the end of the game was every telling.  He knows they can win games by pounding the ball and you will see a lot of that in the Next game at home no matter who we play.

     
  • You have chosen to ignore posts from trouts. Show trouts's posts

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     The 4 fumbles were troublesome but luckily didn't result in turnovers. And to all those numbskulls who wanted to unload Mankins, did they notice that he returned to the game, played hurt and helped open hugh holes for Blount?

     
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    In response to trouts' comment:

     The 4 fumbles were troublesome but luckily didn't result in turnovers. And to all those numbskulls who wanted to unload Mankins, did they notice that he returned to the game, played hurt and helped open hugh holes for Blount?




    numbskulls.... you must be refering to Rusty,er Deadhead.

     
  • You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Bills @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    In response to PhatVirgin's comment:

    good job with the report card.  The only thing missing was a big assist to the heavy rain.  The weather condition and poor run D of the Bills is basically begging for a game plan with a heavy dose of running.  IMO, the OL and RBs have an advantage in that kind of weather.



         So...you're saying that, if it wasn't for the rain, that the Bills would have beaten the Pats??  And Jet's fans wonder why Pats' fans make fun of them...LOL!!  

     
  • You have chosen to ignore posts from garytx. Show garytx's posts

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    I didn't get to see the game so I depend upon the report card to keep me abreast of what happened.  Thanks Pat.  

     
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    One little quibble, Tex.  Cannon may have been called for a penalty, but I thought his run blocking was exceptional this game.  I was impressed by his quickness, speed downfield, and power.  Really, he was one of the best performers in the game, I thought. 

     

     
  • You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

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    In response to garytx's comment:

    I didn't get to see the game so I depend upon the report card to keep me abreast of what happened.  Thanks Pat.  



         The way that the Patriots have played the past two weeks gives me hope that they can reach the SB...despite the rash of injuries. Prior to these past two games, I'd thought that they would be nothing more than playoff fodder. But, this group is starting to remind me a bit of the 2001 team, that beat Marshall Faulk's "Greatest Show on Turf". 

     
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