The Patriots got off to an early 10 point lead following a fumble-scare by Stevan Ridley, quickly recovered by Dan Connolly. It wasn't too long until the Bills had the Patriots fearing the end of their 9 game opening win streak. (The longest active streak in the NFL.) Luckily, a time killing 4th quarter drive ended with a Stephen Gostkowski game winner in a 23-21 victory in Buffalo.
1.) Danny Amendola
The first half showcased the chemistry between Brady and Amendola that has been raved about since training camp. Wes who? Then Amendola went out limping after apparently re-aggravating his groin injury. Enough to make us remember the durability of Welker. Fortunately, he came back out on the field in the second half and did the dirty work necessary. He provided Tom Brady with a security blanket on 3rd downs and made spectacular grabs in the middle of the field through traffic. Expect a terrific season from Amendola.
2.) Julian Edelman
Edelman reminded us all that he is still an asset in the passing game as he was the recipient of both of Brady's 2 TD passes. He was a reliable option for Brady in an offense that had a rather down day.
3.) Shane Vereen
Shane Vereen split reps with Legarrette Blount after Ridley was benched in the first half for not protecting the ball. He was able to catch the ball and run it from the backfield showing his burst and quickness; but most importantly, protecting the ball. His versatility and his reliability today should earn him more reps in the season as it appears Stevan RIdley is in the doghouse.
1.) Stevan Ridley
There is nothing Bill Belichick hates more than an unreliable player and that is what Stevan Ridley is becoming as he is having trouble protecting the ball. He put the ball on the ground twice. The first time it was recovered by Dan Connolly, but the second time was an embarrassing one as Da'Norris Searcy recovered it and ran it back 74 yards into the end zone. If he can't protect the ball now, how can Bill rely on him when it counts?
Kenbrell Thompkins was tied for the most targets on the team with 14. Of those targets, he received 4 of them for 42 yards. While Leodis McKelvin provided solid coverage throughout the game, it was clear that he just wasn't on the same page as Tom Brady. He was unable to get both feet down on a needed 3rd down conversion. His routes were out of sync and not precise. A preseason featuring solid football gave us a letdown today. At the end of the 4th quarter, Brady no longer targeted Thompkins. We will see if he can pick it up as the season goes on.
3.) Dan Connolly
Sure he recovered Ridley's fumble in the first quarter, but that doesn't negate a poor showing in the first game of the season. Connolly got dominated by Kyle Williams throughout the game and was the culprit of a false start penalty. In his defense, the offensive line played poor as a whole but Connolly did not do a good job of protecting Tom Brady.