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Patriots Lead Bills 24-17 at Half

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The New England Patriots have had an up and down first half in Foxboro, leading the Buffalo Bills 24-17 after 30 minutes.

The Patriots have struggled to slow down the Bills' passing attack in the first half.
The Patriots have struggled to slow down the Bills' passing attack in the first half.
Jared Wickerham

The New England Patriots have had an up and down first half in Foxboro, leading the Buffalo Bills 24-17 after 30 minutes.

The story of the first half has been clear: the Bills are beating themselves. They have ten penalties and have consistently given the Patriots second and third opportunities on drives. While a few of the calls have been questionable, they need to cut down on the silly mistakes.

Offensively, Tom Brady has been sharp, which shouldn't be a surprise given how he's played this year. Brady had a first quarter would-be touchdown dropped by Wes Welker, but was also bailed out with a pair of dropped interceptions (which weren't necessarily his "fault"). Stevan Ridley has been shut down on the ground for the most part by a stingy Bills defensive line, but did find the end zone in the first quarter. The other Patriots touchdowns: Danny Woodhead on a 15 yard run up the left side of the line, and a two yard Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski lob.

Defensively, the Patriots have been below average, at best. They've allowed 17 points and have had a tough time guarding Bills tight end Scott Chandler over the middle, and their third down defense has been sub-par. They've also allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick too much time to throw, and have also had trouble slowing down the Bills' two running tandem of Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. The unit's only highlight: a Vince Wilfork strip sack in the first quarter, recovered by Jermaine Cunningham, and turned into a Patriots touchdown the ensuing series.

The Patriots get the ball to start the second half.