clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Patriots vs. Bills: Fan Notes from the Game

Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots' 17-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, December 22, 2014. Peyton Manning Peyton Mannings his way to a Denver loss, thus giving the Patriots the one seed and absolutely nothing to play for in Week 17's matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Pats fans everywhere celebrate and take to the internet to exclaim from every possible outlet that the game is meaningless and the only thing that matters next week is keeping everyone healthy.

Sunday, December 28, 2014. The Patriots rest everyone, have a lackluster day, and drop a game to Buffalo. Pats fans everywhere take to the internet to exclaim from every possible outlet that the Patriots offense is completely unable to do anything, the line is a mess, and when New England plays Seattle in the Super Bowl they have zero shot of stopping that invincible Seahawks pass rush.

Oh, you crazy Pats fans.

You know what I take from this game? I take one number, and that number is zero. Zero represents the amount of serious injuries the Patriots suffered, and that means yesterday was a massive, massive success. To take anything else away from this one is nothing more than the vintage doom and gloom that settles in around Foxboro every time the Pats don't win by anything more than three scores, and so if you find yourself in that camp this morning, might I advise you to make a beeline for any egg nog that happens to be left over from last week's festivities and have yourself a hearty swig. The postseason is finally upon us, and we're exactly where we wanted to be.

  • Usually waking up Sunday morning to learn that six Patriots starters are inactive would be enough to make me just stay in bed for the rest of the day, but I was absolutely ecstatic to find out that pretty much everybody with so much as a hangnail was on the bench. The odds of Gronk getting hurt this week are zero.
  • That said - I wasn't entirely unconvinced that Gronk would be standing on the sidelines, scoping the stands for chicks, and all of a sudden Scott Chandler would dive for an overthrown sideline route and crash right into Gronk's knees. I didn't see him on the field yesterday, but if he was there, I hope he was wearing one of those suits cops use when they train police dogs to attack
  • I know that wasn't the most exciting game in the world to watch, but man did I have a blast yesterday. I wouldn't want every regular season game to be meaningless, but it was extremely nice to be able to just relax and enjoy watching the Patriots play without having to worry about a thing for once.
  • ESPECIALLY since Bill Belichick decided to sit pretty much everybody.
  • Just when I thought yesterday couldn't get any better in terms of pure viewing enjoyment, on came Solomon Wilcots and Spero Dedes to call the game. Dedes has only slightly more game calling experience than I do, and Wilcots exerts most of his brainpower just trying to form sentences. A few more gems from Solly yesterday:
  • "There's Brian Tyms running down the sideline. Now he gets pushed out here, and so now when Tom Brady throws that deep ball, Tyms can't catch it."
  • "Everybody knows that the Patriots are the 10 pound gorilla out there, and so they get everybody's best shot." Pretty sure I could hold my own against a 10 pound gorilla, Solly.
  • "The Patriots couldn't convert on third down, so that's gonna bring up a fourth down now. Looks like New England will have to punt."
  • I will say, though: those guys did a good job of calling the game like it really, really mattered. Gave the Bills their due credit and criticized the Patriots for not being consistent.
  • That said - easy, Solly. The Patriots sat their best playmakers and were missing two offensive linemen.
  • You really have to love the media's ability to spin almost any scenario to make it interesting.  What a miserable, abject failure by the Patriots to get their offense in gear. And what an amazing, dominant performance by the Bills. Boy are these two teams trending in opposite directions.
  • Forgot how much I love Bills center Eric Wood. Ever since he stole the show in Bad Santa, I've been rooting for him.
  • New England played a lot of soft under zones, completely vanilla coverage, gave receivers a large cushion for the underneath routes, and sent linebackers up the A-gap on a blitz to try and manufacture pressure.  Orton responded by finding he holes in the zone and torching New England on an opening drive highlighted by a huge Sammy Watkins catch and run.
  • I don't know I'd go so far as to call yesterday a poor performance, but I do feel confident saying that Bill Belichick won't hesitate to use the game film from this one to lay into this team over the next few weeks in meetings.
  • It also gives the media plenty of billboard material. Pats look rusty! They can't play like this and expect to win games! Brady is done! Can't wait to read it all.
  • Let's all take a moment to think about what this game meant to us vs. what it meant to Bills fans. The Bills were trying very, very hard to get to nine wins on the season for the first time in a decade. Most of their fans didn't care about draft position (most likely because Buffalo doesn't have a 1st rounder anyway) or the fact that the Pats weren't even playing their starters; they just wanted to finish about .500. If the Patriots ever put together a nine win season, people will be calling for Belichick's head. Make sure we all appreciate that.
  • Seriously - good for the Bills for really, really wanting it yesterday. It's almost cute, isn't it?
  • Steve Maneri got the start for the first time all season, and what does he do? Nothing, that's what.
  • The Patriots went for it on fourth down a lot, which I love. I mean why not? Ghost is money, and those are the situations that can win championships.
  • I'm not entirely unconvinced that the NFL doesn't offer teams incentives for finding various creative ways to generate as many consecutive commercial breaks as possible. We all know the dreaded touchdown/commercial/scoring review/commercial/extra point/commercial/kickoff for touchback/commercial burn, but yesterday I saw a touchback/commercial/one play, timeout/commercial/one play, end of quarter/commercial strikeout. If only there had been an injury timeout/commercial doublebluff, we may have had a challenger for the crown.
  • You know what would be great? If Kyle Orton had earned himself the starting gig after yesterday's game. It won't be happening, since he announced his retirement today, but a man can dream.
  • Jamie CollinsJamieCollinsJamieCollinsJamieCollins. Time for that man to get his own theme song.
  • On the strip sack of Orton in the second quarter, Sealver Siliga crashed left to take the guard with him so Collins could blitz the A-gap unimpeded. Spiller was completely out matched in blitz pickup and Collins literally threw him out of the way before lunging at Orton, who made a nice move to avoid initial pressure. However, as he has so many times in the past, Orton was skittish and confused after that initial hit and Collins was able to get right back up and swat the ball away. And then, to make this even more creamy, he recovered his own ball. Total and utter badassery
  • I saw a Tommy B QB sneak yesterday and I was none too pleased about it. And then he took that sack, and since the window was open in my apartment I was very audibly able to hear a loud, unified "GET HIM OUT!" coming from somewhere up north.
  • How does Fred Jackson do it? He's a year older than I am, and when I bang my shin on the dresser I'm out of commission for a week. All the respect in the world to that guy.
  • Did you see Brady sitting all alone on the sidelines to start the 2nd half? Now that's the body language of a QB who has just given up on his coach. This team is in complete disarray. Can't wait to hear Trent Dilfer's take.
  • Nice little reception for Jimmy G yesterday. Good for the crowd.
  • And not the worst start for him, to be honest. Yeah, he went three and out, but the decision making was there and he didn't look panicked at any point. His big problem is one that most rookies have in that his internal game clock seems to have been manufactured at the same place where Jonas Gray got his alarm.  That's fairly common and absolutely nothing to panic over, but it's good to know that that is one of the things to work on in the offseason. Most of Garoppolo's sacks were those in which he waited too long to get rid of the ball.
  • I need to know what this defense does at halftime to come out of the locker room so dominant and I needed to know it yesterday. Everyone was on the bench, and they still didn't give up a 2nd half TD. I wonder if whatever it is that they do would work for me at my place of employment; instead of doing nothing all day, I'd just mail it in until lunch before coming back to my desk and filing those TPS reports like it's my job.
  • Note to self: filing those TPS reports is your job, you moron.
  • Danny Amendola must not have gotten what he wanted for Christmas, because he came out of the tunnel angry yesterday and stayed angry from start to finish. All up in everybody's face like Buffalo insulted his sister.
  • Or maybe he heard Dedes and Wilcots consistently calling him Danny Ahm-mendola instead of by his real name and simply had enough.
  • So let me get this straight, Patriots fans: the offensive line looks bad in the first half = serious problems that are going to come back to haunt this team in the playoffs. The offensive line looks better in the second half = a meaningless performance by backups that are in no way indicative of what the Patriots actually look like. Is that right? Is that the logic?
  • Why did the Patriots activate Josh Boyce yesterday only to keep LaFell in the game well into the second half? How great would it have been if Boyce had gotten the call on that end-around? And it looks like LaFell hurt himself on an in route in the fourth quarter. No need for that.
  • I also would have liked to see less Blount and more James White. All I wanted to see this season, from July to December, was ONE snap in which he looked like the back that the coaches were all gushing over during the offseason. Still got nuthin.'
  • Bad day for tight ends overall. Lots of drops, missed blocks, and bad reads. Starters or no starters, you're going to need better from guys not named Rob Gronkowski going forward.
  • Why the hell did the Bills punt on 4th and 1 from the New England 42 yard line in the 4th quarter? I bet those decisions happened all season in Buffalo and probably cost the Bills a potential playoff spot.
  • Look at Jimmy G avoiding the sack! That was a blast to watch.
  • You know what's crazy? If I closed my eyes and had to discern between Jimmy G and Tommy B based on cadence alone, I don't think I'd be able to tell them apart. I've been trying to sound like Brady for 14 years now and Garroppolo has done more in one season than I'll likely ever do.
  • That he's significantly better looking than I am doesn't help me any, either.
  • What a crappy call on that personal foul call against the Bills on Tim Wright. Hits like that are the reason I fell in love with professional football.
  • Every time Tyms makes a catch he throws a complete fit over his inability to take it all the way. I don't know whether to laud him for that or tell him to relax a bit.
  • People are going to knock Belichick for challenging that Fred Jackson fumble that wasn't, but I'm not and here's why: that's a play that warrants a timeout anyway. It's a run just before the two minute warning that sets up a 2nd and long, so it makes all the sense in the world to call a TO there to make the offense run plays before the 2 minute warning. So why not throw the red flag? Best case you get the ball, worst case you have to spend the timeout you were going to call anyway. So why the hell not?
  • Looking at Jimmy G run the 2 minute offense makes you appreciate Tommy B all that much more, doesn't it?
  • Congrats to the Bills for getting your first win in Foxboro since this year's class of high school freshmen were born. Well done, guys.
  • That said - if you're a Bills fan, do you really celebrate this win? I mean do you look at December 28, 2014 as the day Buffalo finally got that monkey off their back and beat the Pats at Gillette? I guess you do - I mean a win is a win is a win, and you play the guys who suit up across from you - but I'd like to think that the party in the street going on today is more of the "congrats on getting paroled" variety as opposed to the "Happy Graduation" variety.

Another 12 win season in the books. We're on to the playoffs.