ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Patriots’ offense, it turns out, might need a little more time to get up to speed.
The stats look good at first glace, with 431 total yards, but the offense was sloppy and inefficient in a 23-21 win over Buffalo Sunday. The Patriots gained their 431 yards on 89 plays, though, and were out of synch with so many new faces on offense.
Shane Vereen (159 total yards) and Julian Edelman (79 yards, two touchdowns) were nice surprises, and Danny Amendola had a tough 10 catches for 104 yards while playing through a pulled groin, but the offensive line struggled to protect Tom Brady, who was sacked twice and had pressure in his face all day.
The new faces on offense also didn’t do much. Kenbrell Thompkins caught just four of 13 passes thrown his way for 42 yards, while Josh Boyce didn’t get a target, and the only pass thrown Zach Sudfeld’s way was intercepted.
Stevan Ridley lost another fumble, which resulted in a 74-yard return touchdown for the Bills, and was promptly benched for the day. Brady was seen barking at Amendola for lining up on the wrong side during one play, and they conferred again later on the bench.
And twice the Patriots got inside the 10 yard line, but only produced 3 points. Brady fumbled a snap on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to ruin one drive, and then took a big sack on third down on the other opportunity.
The defense played fairly well, holding the Bills to 277 total yards. But they also had a couple of bad coverage breakdowns on EJ Manuel’s two touchdown passes, to Robert Woods and Stevie Johnson.
The Patriots were lucky to escape with a win after Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 35-yard field goal with five seconds left.Ben Volin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin