Movers and Shakers: Patriots-Bills


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Taking a look at who took a step forward, and who took a step back for the Patriots in today’s win over Buffalo …

MOVING UP

QB Tom Brady: There’s more on the quarterback to carry this team than there ever has been, and Brady looked plenty capable against Buffalo — completing 21 of 27 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Brady was particularly big in two spots. The first was the 42 yards he drove the offense on throws to Brandon Tate and Aaron Hernandez to set up the go-ahead field goal at the end of the first half. The second came at the end of the third quarter, when he converted three third downs on a 13-play, 59-yard touchdown drive to give the Patriots separation. A great effort today from No. 12.

S Patrick Chung: His fourth-quarter interception — the result of a ball that sailed by Ryan Fitzpatrick — will get the most attention. But just as big was a third-quarter stop on a middle screen to Roscoe Parrish. The Buffalo dynamo had blockers and open field in front of him, and had Chung not made the tackle, this third-and-12 catch could’ve become a huge play. But Chung knifed through, dropped Parrish at the 33 (4 yards short of the sticks) and forced a 51-yard field goal attempt that Rian Lindell sliced right. With the rest of the defense sagging, Chung continues to distinguish himself.

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: With Laurence Maroney gone and Kevin Faulk down, depth at tailback is a serious question. Green-Ellis, at least for one day, answered the bell as the club’s lead back, going for 98 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries to key the long, grinding second-half drives. Green-Ellis won’t wow you, but he takes what’s there in an efficient manner, and has some wiggle in close spots. He looked more than serviceable today.

SHAKING DOWN

CB Darius Butler: His third straight week here, but this time for a different reason. Stripped of his starting job, Butler came in late in the middle of the second quarter. Parrish beat him for 9 yards on a second-and-5 to start. Two plays later, C.J. Spiller dusted him on the perimeter, then shot upfield for 19 yards. Following that one, Butler was promptly yanked by the coaches. Should be interesting to see what becomes of him in Miami.


P Zoltan Mesko: One second quarter punt of 33 yards basically handed the Bills a field goal, setting them up at the Patriots 40 with little more needed to get into Rian Lindell’s range. Another boot seemed to careen off the side of Mesko’s foot. Once this kid gets it together, he seems like he’ll be pretty outstanding. But the kind of inconsistency that led to today’s 37.7-yard average is the problem right now.

LB Brandon Spikes:
Only came up with two tackles, and was part of a run defense that struggled against a previously average Buffalo ground game. And Spikes was victimized in coverage, by tight end Jonathan Stupar. He seemed, in general, a little slower to react to things today than he has in the past. Of course, any number of defensive players could’ve landed in this spot.

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