Patriots 49 Bills 21: Grading the Offense

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01: BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots carries the ball for 53 yards against the Buffalo Bills on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Grading the Patriots' offensive performance from the team's 49-21 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Passing Offense:

The Patriots got off to a bad start on Sunday against the Bills without a single completion until there was under a minute to go in the first quarter. However, after starting the game 0/2, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was lights out from that point on (except for a small stretch in the third quarter). The offense scored on seven of their final eight drives, and a lot of that had to do with the Patriots passing attack. Brady finished the day 23/35 for 338 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. The passing attack also came up with big plays left and right (Green-Ellis' 59 yard screen, Hernandez' two big grabs), and aside from a late 1st half interception off a tip, was mistake free. Brady had two passes dropped, and was sacked four times.

Grade: B

Rushing Offense:

Stevan Ridley had a solid day rushing the ball for the Patriots, going for 81 carries on fifteen yards in the rookie's second career start. Ridley was stopped for a few short gains, but showed good vision, power, and burst throughout much of the game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was strong near the goal line like usual, picking up two touchdowns on seven carries (22 yards). The Patriots also had some success on reverses, with receiver Julian Edelman picking up six yards and a first down on his one carry, and tight end Aaron Hernandez picking up 26 yards on two carries.

Overall, it wasn't an explosive running day for the Patriots, but the line opened up good holes, and the Patriots' backs did what was expected of them and a little more, giving the Patriots a nice change of pace from their pass oriented attack (which was a plus considering the team needed to dig itself out of a 21 point first quarter deficit).

Grade: B+

Overall Offensive Grade: B

The Patriots, overall, had a solid offensive output on the day. Putting up 42 total points is no easy feat. However, the Patriots failed to get off to a quick start and it really hurt them. In addition, down 21-17 in the third quarter and with a first and goal from the one, the unit failed to capitalize and score a touchdown, meaning the Patriots had to settle for a field goal and leave points on the board.

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