Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

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    Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

         Strange game, that showed just how devastating turnovers can be. Despite dominating the time of possession 38 minutes to 22, running 89 plays to just 61 for Buffalo, and outgaining the Bills in total yards, 431-286, the Pats had to rally in the dying minutes of the 4th quarter to eek out a 23-21 win in Buffalo. Why? Because two huge turnovers led directly to two Buffalo TDs. Though this win did little to kindle SB excitement for fans of the 2013 edition of the Boys in Blue, a win is a win. A tough game to grade...but here goes:

    I. OFFENSE: Looked anything but fluid. Two huge turnovers and a goal line fumble nearly did the Pats in.

    1.) QB: Poor Tom Brady. The last time I can remember feeling this sorry for him, and seeing him this frustrated, was early in the 2006 season, when Reche Caldwell was his number one receiver. Other than a fine performance from a gritty Danny Amendola, and some key receptions from Julian Edelman, the pass receiving weaponry was seemingly reduced to spears and knives. Since most of his receivers were having trouble getting open, Tom was forced to hold onto the ball far longer than he surely wanted to, leading to him absorbing several heavy hits from the Buffalo front seven. For the game, Tom completed just 29 of 52 (fifty-two) pass attempts, for 288 yards, two TDs, and one Zack Sudfels drop, which resulted in an interception...and morphed into an easy Buffalo TD. Of these 29 completions, the average gain was a Curtis Painter like 5.3 yards. Not all can be blamed on Tom's receivers. Mid-way in the 3rd quarter, facing a 4th and goal from the Buffalo one yard, Brady  fumbled a snap from center, leading to a turn over on downs...and allowing the Bills to remain on top, 21-17. Still...credit Tom for using the "spears and knives" at his disposal to lead his team on a 12 play, 48 yard closing drive, setting up a game winning 35 yard FG. Tom completed seven passes on seven attempts during this game winning drive: GRADE: "B+";

    2.) RBs: Stevan Ridley has proven that he can be an effective NFL back. But, apparently he hasn't learned that Job One as a RB is to hold onto the ball, and that Job Two of a RB is to hold onto the ball. Fumbling can't, and won't be tolerated...especially by BB. Ridley fumbled on the second play from scrimmage, only to be saved by a "down by contact" ruling. Then, midway in the second quarter, with the Pats in command, up 10-0, and driving for another TD that likely would have broken the game open, Ridley slipped, and fumbled again, at the Bill's 25 yard line. It was scooped up by a Buffalo defender, and returned 74 yards for a Buffalo TD. This play cut the Pats' lead to 10-7, and changed the momentum of the game. It would be Ridley's final play of the day. Enter RB Shane Vereen, who looked and ran like Buffalo star RB, C. J. Spiller, was supposed to...running for 101 yards with just 14 carries. He also caught 7 passes for 58 more yards. Ridley finished with 50 yards on 9 carries...averaging over 5 yards per run. But, if a RB can't hold onto the ball, he's worthless: GRADE: "B-";

    3.) OL: The "Big Uglies" allowed their King to be hit and sacked too often. But again, part of the reason for this was that "the King" had to hold the ball longer than average, because his receivers weren't getting open. Not a good day for RG Dan Connelly, and center Ryan Wendell. Some pass pressure seemed to be coming from the middle. Wendell also likely shares some of the blame for Brady mishandling the snap in the above mentioned failed fourth and goal gamble, at goal line. By and large, a decent job of run blocking by the OL...the production from which was marred only by the aforementioned Ridley and Brady fumbles: GRADE: "B-"

    4.) TEs and WRs: Other than Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman (two TDs receptions), the remaining corp pf Patriots' receivers, both WRs and TEs, were awful. They looked completely out of place, timid, and had a severe case of the jitters. Preseason wonderboy Kembrell Thompkins showed a habit of "leaping", seemingly every time he attempted to haul in a pass, and, on one play seemed far more concerned about avoiding a hit than keeping his feet in bounds, to make a catch. The other preseason star, Zack Sudfels, had a drop, which morphed into an interception,  setting up the Bills second TD...and giving them the momentum going into the second half of play: GRADE: "C"...despite Amendola's great gritty effort.  

    II. DEFENSE: Though the pass rush was tepid, and the pass coverage spotty, the "D" took care of Priority One by shutting down C.J. Spiller, and containing the Buffalo ground attack. The "D" only allowed one long TD drive. The other two Bills' TDs came on the Ridley fumble, and after the Brady interception (thanks to a Sudfelds' drop) set the Bills up deep in Pats' territory, in the closing minutes of the first half.

    1.) DL: Good job of shutting down C.J. Spiller, although old nemisis Fred Taylor was allowed to do damage (13 carries for 67 yards). DT Tommy Kelly recovered a forced fumble in the red zone, leading to the Pats first score. Though the Pats recorded no sacks, the front four recorded four (4) QB hits, including two by Kelly. Kelly also had 7 tackles (2 solos), while Rob Ninkovich chipped in with eight (8) tackles (5 solos), and a fumble recovery: GRADE: "B";

    2.) LBs: Jerod Mayo led the team in tackles by far with 15 (12 solos). Though the LBs were generally good in run support, they had issues in pass coverage, as TE Scott Chandler and RB Jackson combined to gain 80 yards on eight receptions: GRADE: "B";

    3.) DBs: Credit Kyle Arrington for forcing two fumbles, the above mentioned one by Spiller, and one by Bills' WR Marquis Goodwin, which led to ten (10) Patriot points, and helped stake the Pats to an early 17-7 lead. Though WRs Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods each hauled in a E.J. Manuel TD pass, there were no pass plays of over 20 yards allowed for the game, and the Bills were held to just 150 passing yards. Now...part of the reason for that is that the Pats were facing a rookie QB, who missed several open receivers during the game. Still, the game plan was to contain the Bills ground game, and make Manuel beat then through the air...for the reason that Manuel is not an accurate deep passer. Steve Gregory had 9 tackles (7 solos), and the aforementioned Kyle Arrington chipped in with 5 tackles (4 solos), and a TFL, in addition to forcing the two aforementioned fumbles. We'll have to wait a couple of more weeks to see this secondary really get tested: GRADE: "B"   

    III. SPECIAL TEAMS: Credit the much maligned Stephen Gostkowski for hitting all three of his FG tries, including a 48 yarder, and the game winning 35 yarder, with 9 seconds left to play. His kickoffs were also good and long...as the Pats only had one kickoff that was returned. A good job punting by Ryan Allen, whose punting average was skewed due to a number of punts he made from inside the 50 yard line, which he tried to land inside the Buffalo 20 yard line. The Bills were unable to return any punts. Meanwhile, ulian Edelman averaged over 10 yards per punt return, on three returns: GRADE: "A";

    IV. COACHING: The defensive game plan was to defense the run, and make rookie QB E,J, Manuel beat them. To facilitate this plan, the Pats appeared to play a very vanilla defense, with little blitzing. As as result, though the Pats recorded no sacks for the game, they managed to hold the Bills to 136 yards rushing, and just 150 more passing...numbers that the Pats will gladly take on any given week. Offensively, it's clear that the Pats' passing attack needs lots of work, and an infusion of talent. Much will be cured if TE Rob Gronkowski returns soon, and is anywhere near 100%. Still, one has to wonder about whether the Pats will get anything out of Thompkins, the injured Dobson, Sudfelds, and Boyce, in the near future. To say that Thompkins and Sudfelds were disappointing today is a gross understatement.What to do with Stevan Ridley is another issue. His propensity to fumble cannot be tolerated. Look for Vereen to get more touches, and for Blount to get more carries. That play at the goal line in which Brady fumbled the snap was disturbing. It never appeared that the Patriots offense played with any decisiveness, until the games' final drive. That said, it's only Game One. There's obviously lots of work to do: GRADE: "B";

    V. PLAY OF THE GAME: On a 3rd and 8 from the Buffalo 39, with around 1:10 to play in the game, Brady converted with a 10 yard pass over the middle to Danny Amendola. It kept alive the final drive, and helped set up Gostkowski for the game winning FG;

    VI. PLAYER OF THE GAME: A toss up between Brady, Amendola, Arrington, Shane Vereen, and Stephen Gostkowski. I'll go with Danny Amendola, who, playing hurt, finished with ten (10) receptions for 104 yards...including the "Play of the Game". 

         As always, your thoughts and comments are welcomed. Here are the game stats:  http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=330908002

                 

        

              

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

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    A poor performance deserves a poor report card. Honestly, you have this about right. The defense was pretty good for the most part. The offense was pretty bad for the most part. Terribly timed turnovers nearly cost us this game. Glad we escaped with a W, and our young team should be able to learn a ton from this ugly performance. But hey, in the standings our 1-0 looks exactly the same as Denver's! I'll take it.

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

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In response to WazzuWheatfarmer's comment:

     

    A poor performance deserves a poor report card. Honestly, you have this about right. The defense was pretty good for the most part. The offense was pretty bad for the most part. Terribly timed turnovers nearly cost us this game. Glad we escaped with a W, and our young team should be able to learn a ton from this ugly performance. But hey, in the standings our 1-0 looks exactly the same as Denver's! I'll take it.

     



         True. A very tough game to grade...as those three "terribly timed turnovers", as you put it, nearly cost the Pats the game...and turned what should have been a blow-out victory into a nail-biter.     

     

     

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Low-FB-IQ. Show Low-FB-IQ's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Thought you were more than gracious but pretty solid

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from digger0862. Show digger0862's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Turnovers kill you almost every time. Luckily, the Bills kept giving us life. Those are generous grades for the offense but they did come through in the clutch.

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

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    no problems with this

    The 3rd down %for the D was also good

    For Once The D may be ahead of the O

    Your  observations on the passing game are right on

    Alot of work to do

    When you win toyou can have the benefit off the doubt on grading

    I am not any less positive for the season

    There is something to take out of clutch play

    Pat's Fan lost in Jet Land

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from TFB12. Show TFB12's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Interesting report card TP.  I think you are being a bit too nice on the OL and WR grading.  A couple of things...

    Brady should not have been touched as much as he was today. 

    The WR's didn't know where to line up, Amendola included, and Brady had to direct them all, with the exception of Edelman.  Edelman dropped some passes, one was a TD he should have had.  He still can't make the adjustments like a real WR.  He doesn't trust his hands enough, continues to make catches with his body.  Love the guy's heart and determination though.  Amendola was being fed the ball out of lack of open WR's.  He showed no signs today of being as versatile as I have been told by many here that he would be.  I will have to look again but I didn't recall seeing many YAC from him either.  Is this groin problem going to hamper him all season?  Not sure he will be available Thursday or not.

    Ridley.  He could be awesome.  Just can't hold onto the ball.  Thought he would have worked on that this past off season.  Doesn't look like he did.

    Special teams.. Slater shows why he is on this team, and a pro bowl player.  Blount returning punts?  Thank goodness they brought Washington back, Blount looked slow.

    Sure hope they look much better on Thursday vs the Jets then they did today.

     

     

    ---------------------------------------------

    "Being the best doesn't mean you always win. It just means you win more than anybody else."  Text received by Tom Brady from Kurt Warner after Ravens loss.


    view my Patriots photoshops at patsfanfotoshop.tumblr.com





     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from NCPatsFan1971. Show NCPatsFan1971's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD


    Excellent and very fair assesment TP.

     

    I could feel the wind being taken out the Pats sails after Ridley's second fumble.  But like many have said a win is a win is a win. 

     

    Using the strong criticism of the Pats on a couple of other threads as a base, I guess Seattle is in trouble after only scoring 12 Points on Carolina and only beating them by 5.  And how about Indy just getting by Oakland by 4 points at home.  I think the Pundits are calling for Oakland to be awarded the next Number 1 Draft Choice.   And Pit losing to Tenn?  Whaaaaat?

     

    I'm not blind to the amount of improvement needed by our favorite team but this is only the first game of the season.  And after week 1 the Pats are 1 and 0 which is better than the alternative. 

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

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    There were some weird bounces of the ball that helped the Bills quite a bit.  Ridley, literally, dropping the ball in such a way for the Bills to return it for a TD from 76 yards out!  A pass that hits the hands of the receiver and tumbles into the arms of the defender, most likely thinking...... " Look what I found, Ma!".  Odds Brady fumbles like that again at the one yard line?

    All in all, those rookie receivers need to start thinking like "PRO" receivers.  They are not playing against college d-backs, now.  Once they do, we may see something.

    Regardless of the grades, in my book, the Pats did what they had to, to win.. 1 - 0 is 1 - 0 right now.  Unless TP, you think the Pats will play like this week after week. Expecting "A" grades every week is a pipe dream as the other team has something to say about it.  There are going to be glorious games and nail biter games.  Now onto the Jets!

    AGCSBill, just a fan havin' fun!!

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from TB17JM16. Show TB17JM16's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Go look at that INT again, Sudfeld, with his long arms, must be near 8 feet diving outstretched and Brady still overthrew him, the next game he needs more than one pass thrown to him.

    That INT is on Brady and along with the crucial fumble at the 1, not one of his better games.

    Thompkins and Sudfeld will be fine, 1st nfl game for both.

    Ridley is my biggest concern.

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

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    When you have two turnovers that make the game closer than it should have been it's hard to grade.  The frustration on Brady's face throughout the game said a lot about the receiver corp.  Being rookies they will learn and believe there is something to work with there.  It's going to take a couple of games though.  I only disagreement I have is the fumble that Brady had.  That was all on Tom.  He was pulling away before he had the ball.  His body language said it all really.  Some stuff to work on this week but it's not all that bad.  As long as they get better of course.

     

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from darwk. Show darwk's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    This game is a tough one to grade.  Mostly I agree though I think you gave special teams a way generous grade. Ghost did his job, Allen not so much. Some really weak punts giving the Bills good field position- anf the return game?- blah at best. No razzle dazzle. I give them a C.

    Coaching gets a C as well. Mostly due to McD play calling in the red zone. Trying to pass, rather than pound the ball in with runs- cost them points. A lot of them.

    Verreen is my player of the game. Outstanding.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Quagmire3. Show Quagmire3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Good right up Tex and I enjoyed reading it. However I think you wre a little generous with your grades for the offense considering we were playing a Buffalo team without two of their best DB's. For me the OL would have gotten a D-, the TE's an F, and the WR's grade broken on two: Amendola and Edelman A- all others F. Oh yeah and coahes a solid D. Your grades are probably more accurate but I am still torqued over such a horrid performance. If we play like that Thursday we will lose to the hated Yets.


    "Giggedy, Giggedy!"

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from BostonTrollSpanker. Show BostonTrollSpanker's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    oustanding writeup TP - better than anything we will see on the Globe's site tomorrow. 

    Thought some of the grades might have been a bit high but overall thought it was a very fair treatment and accurate to what I saw out there. 

    keep it up

         
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from DanishPastry. Show DanishPastry's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    I mostly agree with the grades.
    What I liked about this game is the toughness at the end, TFB showing why he is a hall of famer with the final drive, DA with key 3rd down conversions, Vereen.

    The rookies needed their first game to get their feet wet, jitters were obvious and to be expected. So while I agree KT, Boyce,  and Sudfeld didn't play well, I expect them to be better on thursday.

    The D had a near flawless game. I would like to point out, that while the 3 balls the patriots turned over to the Bills were self-inflicted, the D forced the turnovers they created. In reality, while not a scary opponent, the D only had one drive where they looked bad - the one to open the second half.

    I am really excited, 'cause while it wasn't pretty it still showed a lot of heart. And the talent is there. Once Gronk is back in a couple of weeks they are going to be as explosive as ever.

     

    Supra societatem nemo

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

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In response to TB17JM16's comment:

    Go look at that INT again, Sudfeld, with his long arms, must be near 8 feet diving outstretched and Brady still overthrew him, the next game he needs more than one pass thrown to him.

    That INT is on Brady and along with the crucial fumble at the 1, not one of his better games.

    Thompkins and Sudfeld will be fine, 1st nfl game for both.

    Ridley is my biggest concern.



         I get NFL replay. But, unfortunately, the games don't get replayed until the Monday night game concludes. Once I get the chance, I'll watch that interception again. 

         I'm not as optimistic about Thompkins and Suds as you are.

     

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from Patsman3. Show Patsman3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Not sure what game you were watching but the Punting was awful.  The rookie shanked two punts, one which was out of their own end zone and gave Buffalo great field postion on the Pats 42.

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from BabeParilli. Show BabeParilli's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In response to WazzuWheatfarmer's comment:

    The defense was pretty good for the most part.



    You mean other than letting a nodody rookie lay a 105 on them, right?

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from ghostofjri37. Show ghostofjri37's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In response to Patsman3's comment:

    Not sure what game you were watching but the Punting was awful.  The rookie shanked two punts, one which was out of their own end zone and gave Buffalo great field postion on the Pats 42.




    I am not judging one way or the other... yet. I don't think the we can judge this decision until the weather gets bad and the games & situations become more important.

    This being said for some perspective both Mesko and Allen had the same net punting yards yesterday.

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

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    I am generally in agremeent. Would have given the D a slightly higher score - Bills only had one long sustaining drive in a league that is greatly skewed towards offense - and a slightly lower score for offense.

    Overall, I am optimistic about the season.

     

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from stan17. Show stan17's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    Pretty fair but I would've been a little harder on the D. They let a rookie QB go 18-27 with 2 TD's and no picks and had no sacks on him. 

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from ghostofjri37. Show ghostofjri37's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    I think as far as the D is concerned there is good reason to be optimistic. They were much better at getting off the field on the 3rd downs yesterday, especially at the end of the game.

    The 1st TD pass looked to be a communication issue between talib and Gregory which is correctable.

    My one concern would be the lack of getting to the QB.

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from BabeParilli. Show BabeParilli's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In response to PatFanInBA2's comment:

    I am generally in agremeent. Would have given the D a slightly higher score - Bills only had one long sustaining drive in a league that is greatly skewed towards offense - and a slightly lower score for offense.

    Overall, I am optimistic about the season.

     




    Bills mostly shot themselves in the foot rather than our good play doing them in.

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from ATJ. Show ATJ's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    TP, I think you pretty much nailed it.  A very fair assessment.

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

    Re: Patriots @ Bills REPORT CARD

    In response to BabeParilli's comment:

    In response to PatFanInBA2's comment:

    [QUOTE]

     

    I am generally in agremeent. Would have given the D a slightly higher score - Bills only had one long sustaining drive in a league that is greatly skewed towards offense - and a slightly lower score for offense.

    Overall, I am optimistic about the season.

     

     




    Bills mostly shot themselves in the foot rather than our good play doing them in.

     

    [/QUOTE]

    and we didn't ? 

     
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