Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

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    Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

         Can't get too excited about this one. Sure, the Pats finally won a road game...and losses by the Jets and Dolphins all but clinch the AFC East for the good guys. But, big deal. Its' SB or bust for the Pats.

         Wasn't this game eerily similar to the road losses to the Jets, Miami and Denver? In those games, as was the case today, the Pats went off with half-time leads. Then, in the second half of those games, the Patriots' offense was inept, which which allowed the offensively challenged Jets, Dolphins, and Broncos to pull off close wins. 

         This brand of football is not going to get it done in the playoffs. Here are my less than enthusiatic grades:

          A.) OFFENSE:
    This unit was held to just three (3) points by a defense that hasn't been able to stop the run all season long. The poor second half performance allowed the (5-9) Bills to hang around, and nearly send this game into OT.

    1.) QB: Maybe Tom Brady is injured...maybe he's distracted by becoming a father for the second time...maybe the cold and wind in Buffalo affected him. But, for the second week in a row, he turned in a rather mechanical, listless performance. Awful interception thrown to Bills' LB Paul Posluszny killed a promising 1st quarter drive. Tom finished with just 11 completions for 115 yards, one TD, the above mentioned pick, and a passer rating of 59.1. Hardly the stuff you expect from a legendary QB:
    GRADE: D;

    2.) RBs: Workman like performance from Laurence Maroney, who carried 23 times for 81 yards, and a TD. But, thats' only an average of 3.5 yards per carry. Not much from Kevin Faulk or Sammy Morris, who chipped in with 20 yards more, on 5 carries. Its' hard to run to daylight, when there is no daylight:
    GRADE: B;

    3.) OL: Couldn't get much of a push against one of the worst defenses in the NFL against the run. Too many times, the RBs were hit behind the line of scrimmage. This group has got to get more physical at the point to attack! But, they did do a respectable job in pass protection, as no sacks were allowed. But, there were five QB hits.
    GRADE: C+;

    4.) WRs and TEs: Lack of a competent #3 WR reared its' ugly head once again. The way that the Pats use their TEs...why not just bring in another offensive lineman? Zero receptions at that position. Randy Moss somewhat silenced his critics with five receptions for 70, including gathering in a 13 yard TD pass. Moss was also interfered with...which constituted a 41 yard penalty, and resulted in the Pats' final TD. Wes Welker was held to just four catches for 40. But his last reception sealed the game. 
    GRADE: GRADE: B-;

          B.) DEFENSE:
    Considering that the Pats played this game without their two best defensive linemen, Ty Warren and Vince Wilfolk...and without their offense, which seemingly chose to take the second half off, this group turned in a very good, gutsy performance. 

    1.) DL: Mike Wright was outstanding in relief of Vince Wilfolk...finishing with six tackles, five of which were solos, and a sack. Jarvis Green also helped out with five tackles, including two solos. There was a Ron Brace sighting! The big guy chipped in with four tackles, three of which were solos. Though the Bills do not have an explosive offense, they can run the ball effectively, with RBs Fred Jackson (15 carries for 81 yards), and Marshawn Lynch. Nice job by the big guys who, after the Bills initial drive, held these guys in check:
    GRADE: B+;

    2.) LBs: As usual, the inside tandem of Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton was solid. Mayo led the team in tackles with nine including five solos. OLBs Tully Banta-Cain and Derrick Burgess both had big games...combining for twelve tackles (eight solos), and four sacks:
    GRADE: A;

    3.) SECONDARY: Had some problems with journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who completed 17 passes for 178 yards...and slot receiver Josh Reed, who caught 4 passes for 63 yards. Allowed a completion to Reed on a 4th and 8 late in the fourth quarter, when a break-up would have ended the game. Credit the much maligned Jonathan Wilhite with a pick to end a Bills' first quarter drive, at the Pats 36. His play seemed to swing the momentum the Pats' way.
    GRADE: B;

         C.) SPECIAL TEAMS: Shanked punt (his second of the day) midway in the 4th quarter by Hanson gave the Bills a chance to come back. Though the Pats' defense stood firm, it put the Pats in horrible field position. After a three and out, Hanson had his next punt returned for 20 yards by Roscoe Parrish. The fine return led to the Bills only TD, two plays later...and cut the Pats' lead to just 17-10.

         The Pats have struggled throughout the season returning kickoffs. Same story today, as they had to start their drives in relatively poor field position. Wes Welker did his usual good job returning punts:
    GRADE: C-;

          D.) COACHING:
    For whatever reason, the Pats seemed to start out this game a bit flat. After the Wilhite interception, the team seemed to pick up speed, and shot out to a 14-3 half-time lead. But, as they have done in road games throughout the season, the Pats' offense went into hibernation in the second half. Where were the adjustments? Where was the urgency? 

         I would like to see the Pats become a more physical team...and establish their running attack. That would enable Tom Brady to get out of the shotgun, and run the offense more over center. It might also open up the play-action passing game, which, at one time, Tom was so good at. My guess is that BB would like that too...but doesn't have the personnel to accomplish it.

         Laying eggs on the road in the second half will land the Pats on the Florida golf courses come February...rather than in Miami for the SB.
    GRADE: D;

          E.) PLAY OF THE GAME:
    The Wilhite pick;

          F.) GAME BALLS:
    Mike Wright, Tully Banta-Cain, Derrick Burgess, and Jonathan Wilhite.    

         Here are the game stats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=291220002.

         Thoughts?

     
                          
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Stay-Pro. Show Stay-Pro's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    It's fitting that OC O'Brien's hoody says "BO" on it.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    TexasPat3: Why not just bring in another offensive lineman?

    Me: Mark LeVoir.


    Good analysis overall, but I'd give the coaches a higher grade for innovative play calling on defense. Lining up with no down lineman on obvious passing downs allowed the Pats to adjust successfully to the injuries at the DL position and also generate a solid pass rush for the first time all season. 
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from darwk. Show darwk's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Hey Tex- fair grades. I don't remember ever seeing you give TB a D grade. I do think he's playing injured- speculation is his ribs are the main culprit right now. But yeah- a D sums up his play on the field.

    Coupled with the D for coaching- which I might put down to a D- sums up why this team has been do difficult to cheer on.
    BB definitely needs to overhaul his coaching staff. 2nd half all season long have just been painful.
    A win is a win is a win- and yeah I'm happy it was a win.

    I know we've been taking it "one game at a time"- but now that we are near end of the regular season- can't say there is a whole lot that gives Pats fans  confidence for the post season.
    Still "no fire in the belly" that is shown with any kind of consistency.
    Other than the remarkable Wes Welker and the rejuvanated Maroney.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatFanInBA2. Show PatFanInBA2's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    I agree with a D for TB. He underthrew several times - does not seem like he is truly back...He did have enough time though...

    Nice to see us bring in the heat on the QB...

    Overall cannot get too excited - Buffalo helped us immensely with timely penalties..
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from vtfanofcs. Show vtfanofcs's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

       I enjoy the weekly report cards and usually agree with the grades far more than this week.  Tom Brady and Coach Belichick MANAGED this game quite well IMO.  Furthermore,  kudos to the coaching staff for the defense in this game.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from SmokingJoe. Show SmokingJoe's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    I only saw the 2nd half, and therefore, I missed most of the best plays of the game........

    What I saw and liked:

    TBC getting to the QB, Good Pass Rush In General in 2nd half.
    Sea BASS Carrying Welker 3 yards for the 1st down....
    Very Good Pass Protection
    Maroney Continues to Run Hard.
    Excellent Catch By Moss in the Middle of the Field...
    I thought Moss ran Hard.... Should have been PI in 2nd half long bomb...

    What I didn't like:

    Once Again, offensive Play Calling Brutal... Passing Long Bombs with a two score lead in 2nd half is incomprehensible... RUN OUT THE FKKING Clock!
    Brady off the mark with open receivers... I am assuming he is very hurt
    Kickoff coverage was poor. Mediocre at best....

    Bottom Line... A Road Win in December is a WIN.... Besides Pats were only team in AFC East to Win this week.... Clinch next week and Rest Em Week 17....




     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]   I enjoy the weekly report cards and usually agree with the grades far more than this week.  Tom Brady and Coach Belichick MANAGED this game quite well IMO.  Furthermore,  kudos to the coaching staff for the defense in this game.
    Posted by vtfanofcs[/QUOTE]

         VT...you may have a point about me being too hard on the coaching staff. The Pats' defense was outstanding today...injuries and all. But, lets' not forget that the "D" was matched up against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills. Not exactly the Colts, Chargers, Saints, Vikings, or Eagles.

         The real reason for the low grade was the horrific performance of the offense in the second half a road game...yet again. The Pats have lost at least three road games that they should have won because the offense hibernated in the second half of those games.

         Terrible play calling. No adjustments. No sense of urgency among the players. Not making the big plays when needed...which was once a hallmark of this team.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from BostonTrollSpanker. Show BostonTrollSpanker's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Nice work one again TexasPat. 

    I think you may slightly underestimate just the value of getting the road win - perhaps reading too much into admittedly disturbing trends but not putting enough weight on simply getting it done and getting out with a W. My guess is that this victory will give a bit of momentum. Not saying that we are superbowl bound mind you. 

    Look forward to your feature every week - keep it up.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from southernpat. Show southernpat's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Pats struggled against a team that had nothing to play for, okay, mathematically they're alive, but really...no.  With chances to control the game in the 2nd half by methodically grinding out 1st downs, the Pats coaching staff decides to air the long ball on succesive 3 and outs.  Sometimes, you just scratch your head and wonder.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from timithye. Show timithye's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    TP, luv the report card, come in looking for it after each game.

    What has happened to Ghost's long kickoff's?  Seems like the past few games he is not getting past the 10yd line, where they used to be 3yds deep in the EZ? 

    The lack of second half offense is very disturbing.

    The pressure on the QB was encouraging, if only for one game.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from DBAZ22. Show DBAZ22's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    TP as usual hard to argue with your grades, and the next two weeks will dictate where my enthusiasm level lies.  They beat Jax next week, and I might start getting a little fired up because Jax HAS to win to have any chance, and Houston might be in the same boat in the final week.  Although this W was far from glamorous, as others have stated it was a road win w/in the division.  W/o getting into a long diatribe, there are two teams that truly scare in the AFC - Indy and SD.  Indy does not have a potent D as witnessed several times this season, and SD has the A-Rod factor heading into the playoffs.  Some outstanding regular seasons w/o winning the BIG one.  That being said this team is a long shot to win it all, but momentum heading into the playoffs is huge as we have witnessed over the years.  Last thing is I can only recall one playoff game where this team "laid an egg" in the playoffs in the BB era - the Denver 5 turnover game. 
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Give credit where credit is due.  The DL didn't have any starters, they started out rough but finished with six sacks.  They had been averaging 1.6 sacks per game before, so I think you have to give the coaches and players credit for stepping up.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from gfkr2. Show gfkr2's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Kudos to the defense.  Wilhite still makes me nervous out there.  He got lost on the Josh Reed 4th quarter drop.  Went to double cover Bodden's receiver in the endzone leaving Reed wide open.  It could have been a different game had Reed not dropped the ball.  Also, I can not beleive the Patriots still send Wilhite on a Corner Blitz.  Message to Pees:: It is 100% ineffective.
     
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  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatFanInBA2. Show PatFanInBA2's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Our D did fairly well in the second half - despite not having some of the key starters. 

    This is a win and a division win and the first one on the road - this is excellent. Having said that, I do agree with Tex Pat, the fact is our O goes into hibernation in the second half - particularly in road games - this is very perplexing !!
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from Pats7393. Show Pats7393's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    What I'm taking out of these second halves is this, teams are doing what the Pats were really good at adjusting.  we are predictable on offence, the D played ok but its against the Bills so not putting too much into it.  We still gave a passing TD that I believe we should not have.  The truth is CBs and Ss keep making the same mistakes and are caught out of position.
    As much as I love the win it is more concerning than reassuring.  In the playoffs we need to go on the road against one of two teams that are very good passing the ball, Indy or San Diego.
    Grades are ok but I would have taken more of who the opponent was and graded a bit lower on most of them.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from Caesar1177. Show Caesar1177's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD :      VT...you may have a point about me being too hard on the coaching staff. [/QUOTE]

    No, you were not too hard on them at all. Defensively? Yes, the coaching was probably the best I've seen in a while.

    Offensively? Pathetic. I've never seen such pathetic playcalling as I have this year. Its all max protect throw to two guys. Coming out of halftime with three straight passes was absolutely ridiculous. They have been doing that all year. This team can run the ball - but the coaches won't commit. And then when they do, the next series they change it up. Want to know why they have no identity?And more blown timeouts.

    I think there is a tendency to say that this is BB because O'Brien is new as an OC. But wasn't the offense in 2005 pretty good with BB taking the same role as McDaniels? I just hope that BB sees how bad the playcalling is and makes a change the day after this team is eliminated - which should be in about three weeks.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from Patsfan24-7. Show Patsfan24-7's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]I'll take whatever win I can get at this point....We still struggled in the 2nd half..but I like the fact that we atleast tried to get creative a little bit...I still dont like the 2 man passing game we have....and when playoff time comes...this team better have some solid plays for other guys on the team...cuz its obvious any team with a decent coach will double Moss n Welker in the playoffs...and the disturbing thing is when they call Welker or Moss' #..there are no other options to go to....Its not like before when 5 guys would go into routes..and TB would fine who is open...this year...I have noticed when the ball goes to Welker you can See Moss either running a decoy deep route or he just trots off the line and locks up with the D.B.??   You only do this when you know you are not getting the ball.....Hence we have a one read offense,...they call a play for an indivudual to get open...if he is covered,..,,then Brady is in trouble...and he cant run...so its not a good formula IMO for an offense to mostly have one read on every pass play...
    Posted by patsfan76[/QUOTE]

    The patriots dont run a "one-read offense"

    thats the dumbest thing ive ever heard!

    Tom brady still goes through his progression; from first read to second read to third read if no one is open then he might check back with his first read in most cases its Welker, but by no means is this a one read offense.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Pats7393. Show Pats7393's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD : The patriots dont run a "one-read offense" thats the dumbest thing ive ever heard! Tom brady still goes through his progression; from first read to second read to third read if no one is open then he might check back with his first read in most cases its Welker, but by no means is this a one read offense.
    Posted by Patsfan24-7[/QUOTE]

    What offense are you watching?  It is predictable and Brady is looking for two guys, if you look at the tape you'll see double teams on RM and WW that leaves other guys single with LB coverage.  We are not hitting those plays because one the OL play has not been good so brady is hurried but IMO he's looking at moss and welker thats it. 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Tex, another good job in your analysis..

    The talk of the airwaves is now Brady, the extent of his injuries and their effect on his play.  In mid-season, for example the blow-out game against the Titans, he looked fantastic, afterwhich everyone said Brady is back.  Since we have heard of the finger, rib and shoulder injuries, his play has gone measurably downhill. Going 11 for 23 and 115 yards against that Buffalo defense?  Underthowing receivers may be a sign he can't get that zipp on the ball to get it there sharply.  A sign a rib is giving him enough pain he has to fight through it with his mind sayng "yes" and the body is saying "no"?

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from Pats7393. Show Pats7393's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]Tex, another good job in your analysis.. The talk of the airwaves is now Brady, the extent of his injuries and their effect on his play.  In mid-season, for examply the blow-out game against the Titans, he looked fantastic, afterwhich everyone said Brady is back.  Since we have heard of the finger, rib and shoulder, his play has gone measurably downhill.  Underthowing receivers may be a sign he can't get that zipp on the ball to get it there sharply.  A sign a rib is giving him enough pain he has to fight through it with his mind sayng "yes" and the body is saying "no"?
    Posted by agcsbill[/QUOTE]
    I agree which really makes me wonder why our OC is not running the ball in the 2nd half with a nice lead! 
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD:
    [QUOTE]Tex, another good job in your analysis.. The talk of the airwaves is now Brady, the extent of his injuries and their effect on his play.  In mid-season, for example the blow-out game against the Titans, he looked fantastic, afterwhich everyone said Brady is back.  Since we have heard of the finger, rib and shoulder injuries, his play has gone measurably downhill. Going 11 for 23 and 115 yards against that Buffalo defense?  Underthowing receivers may be a sign he can't get that zipp on the ball to get it there sharply.  A sign a rib is giving him enough pain he has to fight through it with his mind sayng "yes" and the body is saying "no"?
    Posted by agcsbill[/QUOTE]

         I tend to agree, AGC. His injuries are probably worse than we're being led to believe. Tom just doesn't look like Tom. 
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Sam-Adams. Show Sam-Adams's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Tex, grades look right on to me. Penalties really helped them out of this one. They still look horrible in the second half on offense. They're still taking way too many chances downfield. OB isn't really learning and they still haven't had anyone step up as the third receiver. 
    After the opening drive the defense looked good. It seemed Wright took it on his shoulders after the TB pick to pick up the D and they responded. It was great to see them walking around confusing the O like they used to do. KEEP IT UP.

    Still need consistent, ball controlling play calling on offense
    We need someone to step up and become a target for TB. It's going to be tougher to find "only" Moss and Welker come playoff time.

    IMO, this team needs to find some fire on offense. There's no go for the throat mentality to close out games and it almost cost them another one yesterday. Maybe it's play calling, maybe it's execution, maybe it's the O line but they need to get an attitude or the playoffs are going to be real quick for us. 
    TB used to bolt down the field after every TD pass and meet the receiver in the end zone, I haven't seen that this year. He can jog if he's worried about his knee but that was big for the team. 
     
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    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    There is a all22 replay shown on the last Welker 1st down. I see it too. 1 read. Oline protection,sore rib's,a HOF WR on one side, An Wes (sure hands/fights for yards/and almost can't be coverd) Welker. How can you blame him?
     
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