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At the half ... Patriots 14, Bills 3

Posted by Albert Breer  December 20, 2009 02:23 PM

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An efficient, tidy first half for the Patriots. And one in which they benefitted from officiating on both sides of the ball.

The Bills offense has shot itself in the foot every chance it's gotten, and that's why the Patriots' run defense hasn't been exposed as much after it was on the first drive.  A slew of penalties has brought bad down-and-distance situations, which has allowed the Patriots to walk defenders all around the prior to the snap, designed to disguise the rush and confuse an offensive line that's had very little time (i.e. Richie Incognito signed this week) to work together. And that has allowed the coaches to get a thin defensive line some much-needed rest, with the field flooded with edge rushers in those obvious passing situations.

And that's provided pressure that helped lead to a pair of sacks on Buffalo's second drive, and heat that resulted in a terrible throw on a comeback in the second quarter that was picked off by Jonathan Wilhite.

On the flip side, two big pass-interference penalties fueled the Patriots' two touchdown drives. Randy Moss is responding well here, with four catches for 54 yards, plus one of those PI's drawn for a 41-yard gain. New England's running him underneath to get him in space, where he can outrun the guys sitting in those zones.

This one's a little like last week's game with the Panthers was ... If the Bills had more at quarterback, we'd have a ballgame. Since they don't, we probably won't.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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