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Patriots vs. Bills: Fan Notes from the Game

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Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots' 40-32 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Here's wishing everyone out there in Patriots Nation a happy first Victory Monday of 2015.

The New England Patriots are coming off a huge divisional road win against the Buffalo Bills. Tom Brady is now 24-3 against Buffalo in his career. Rex Ryan remains undefeated in soundbytes and pregame trash talk. No matter how you look at it, New England went to Buffalo, where the fans were attempting to set a world record for noise, and reminded everyone that the AFC East still goes through New England. And while it was ultimately a fairly insignificant Week 2 win and there is still an entire season in front of us, at the end of the day the Patriots are 2-0 including a divisional victory in what is a fairly difficult place to play. For all the talking the Bills did off the field, it was business as usual for the Pats as they head into Week 3 atop the division and ready to roll.

  • It may not be a very popular opinion - but it was really heartening to see the city of Buffalo so riled up for this game. It's like watching a dog wag its tail at another dog on the TV; sure, you could change the channel and bring things back to reality...but why would you want to do that? Let the little fella have his moment.
  • There is way too much talent at almost every single position for Buffalo to look the way they looked yesterday. You obviously need to credit the Patriots and what they were able to do, but a roster like Buffalo's shouldn't be giving up 500 yards to anybody, even if he is the greatest anybody to ever anything.
  • I actually feel like this is a scenario where the Patriots would have benefited from receiving the kickoff to start the game. Buffalo marched right sown the field and scored, which riled the crowd up even more than they already were. If the Patriots had gotten the ball and scored right away, it might have gone a log way towards calming things down.
  • I mean seriously; the Bills scored RIGHT AWAY. It looked incredibly easy and at no point did Buffalo struggle to move the ball. Classic Rex Ryan offense; high percentage passes, a strong running game.
  • New England, on the other hand, gained all of two yards on three plays before having to call a timeout before punting it away.
  • Other than that initial drive, though, Buffalo really couldn't get anything going until later in the 4th quarter. It's a classic example of being all kinds of jacked up, playing off of emotion and adrenaline, and then that initial rush wears off and you're left trying to regain some dignity. It happens to me almost every single time I go to Golden Corral.
  • Tommy B didn't even bother to see if the offensive line could match up with the Bills defensive line to start. I don't think he held onto the ball for longer than two seconds for the entire first quarter.
  • It's too bad, too, because the New England O-line handily won the battle in the trenches. Three rookies, one of whom only started pass blocking for the first time in May of this year, slapped the Bills around like they were cheating at Whack-a-Mole by having everyone crowd around the machine so they could split the tickets and get one of those multi-colored Slinkys.
  • And don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about; everyone cheated at Whack-a-Mole. I just hope nobody in the NFL is reading this article, otherwise Brady might get another 4 games.
  • I wish that the NFL's new concussion protocol applied to real life. Anytime I needed a break or did something dumb, everything just stopped and a few people came over to see if I was OK.
  • I'd love to know why Danny Amendola is returning punts. This is the second week in a row that the best punt returner in the NFL was on the sideline for an opposing team's 4th down. It has to be injury related, or a fear of what an injured Edelman will do to this offense.
  • Speaking of Edelman - he's playing like a man possessed right now. He has a swagger and confidence that can only come with being the man who played the game of his life last February and caught the game winning TD in the Super Bowl. His route tree seems to have expanded and he's playing more instinctively than he did last year.
  • Not only has professional football gotten less and less fun to watch with each passing year, but it has gotten significantly slower as well.  The two kind of go hand in hand, but there was absolutely zero flow to yesterday's game.
  • But you know what had plenty of flow? Tommy B's 30 yard laser to Gronk to set up the first New England TD of the game. What a pass. If Peyton Manning threw that this year, we'd all still be waiting for the ball to reach the receiver.
  • Brady through two games: 7 TDs, 756 yards, 0 picks, 119 passer rating. Can we get another ESPN article that calls the Pats cheaters again? Maybe release it during their bye week?
  • I truly believe that there are legit positives to creating a locker room culture where you can speak your mind, say whatever you want, and act however you want. There is a lot of passion and energy that can come from that kind of environment, and when you're winning, that passion starts to snowball and feed off of itself. But there are also some negatives as well, and those negatives were on display in Buffalo yesterday. Undisciplined. Rowdy. Unnecessary penalties. Unsportsmanlike conduct calls. Don't think for a second that a number of the things that went wrong for the Bills on Sunday falls on the lack of personal accountability Rex Ryan has instilled.
  • Of course, nobody wants to hear that. The refs were clearly favoring New England (11 penalties) over Buffalo (14 penalties) yesterday.
  • Dion Lewis jumping into Rob Gronkowski's arms and wrapping his legs around Gronk's waist after that touchdown was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. I almost expected Lewis to lean his head on Gronk's shoulder and take a little nap as Gronk carried him off the field, tapping his butt gently.
  • Jamie Collins is an animal. That is all.
  • Malcolm Butler recording his first ever interception! You never forget your first one, do you? Glad to see that Butler is finally on the stat sheet for 100% the first time in his entire career. Yup...no other picks for that guy that I can remember.
  • Every year, without fail, an NFL running back emerges who is suddenly and inexplicably amazing. Be it CJ Anderson, Alfred Morris, Arian Foster, or Justin Forsett, there always seems to be one or two backs every year that just lights the league on fire. Now I'm not dumb enough to say that the 2015 version of that is Dion Lewis - I mean that's the absurd rantings of a crazy person - but it's worth making the observation known.
  • How's covering Gronk working for you, Stephon Gilmore?
  • There was a decent number of Patriots fans at Orchard Park yesterday; good for you guys. I'm guessing that said fans in the stands live in the Buffalo area - the only other alternative is that folks voluntarily traveled to Buffalo.
  • Come on, Rufus. Not the best way to make your debut.
  • So the Pats have fumbled twice so far this year, and both have come from the same guy who wasn't on the Patriots last season. Deflategate joke, anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  • Man did Buffalo need that fumble recovery. If the Patriots had scored again on that drive, that might have been the ballgame.
  • FINALLY! An illegal hands to the face called against Chandler Jones.
  • If anyone remembers former Pats tight end Jermaine Wiggins, he was a pudgy dude who wore #85 and caught a lot of short passes from Tommy B (and Drew Bledsoe) over the middle. Tight end Michael Williams looks EXACTLY like him in terms of on the field stuff. Just gets a lot less targets.
  • Bacarri Rambo - what a great name. He's on my All-NFL Name team alongside Jacquizz Rodgers, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Rufus Johnson, and L'Carpetron Dookmarriot.
  • After the Lewis fumble: "Usually when that happens, coach tells you to go and stick your head in the bushes for a while." How great would it be if that was actually the case? Like there was an actual bush on the sidelines and the fumbling back had to stand there with his head in it for the rest of the game? What a great mental image.
  • That Tommy B didn't go for the sneak on 4th and short goes a long way towards just how much respect the Patriots have for the Bills defensive front. Also a great play by the Bills defense there - good discipline and stayed home without falling for any deception.
  • I'm getting sick of these crazy bobbling catches, thankyouverymuch. I don't care if it's only a four yard pickup.
  • Why don't teams throw deep on Fletcher every single time?
  • That Lewis fumble was  a tangible shift in momentum; New England was more or less moving the ball at will up until that point.
  • Defensive holding and illegal hands to the face shouldn't be an automatic first down. I'm going to say that every single week until the NFL does something about it.
  • My favorite moment of the game may have been the cut to that drunk Bills fan ringing the bell. Great find by the camera guy.
  • That guy is more or less a microcosm for the Bills overall, isn't he? Went way too hard too early, and by the time the 2nd half came around it was time to stick a fork in him.
  • I can't make fun of him, though - I've been there more times than I'm goig to admit publicly. Never at a Pats game, but I've for sure been there. And if you're a real New Englander, you for sure have as well.
  • Tommy B throwing behind a lot of receivers yesterday. Left a few gimme first downs on the field.
  • I wonder if the NFL gave a lot of thought to how the new PAT rule puts the cold weather teams at more of a disadvantage. I'll be curious to see the completion percentages once November rolls around.
  • The game took a marked turn for the worse when Marcus Cannon came in for Vollmer. Canon was completely overmatched and Brady never really got a chance to settle after that.
  • I want to keep mentioning how Gronk is always able to get so open - but the guy is legit uncoverable.
  • How great is it to be playing the Bills and Scott Chandler is making catches left and right and we're all actually happy about it for a change?
  • That said - you HAVE to make those end zone grabs, Scott. Dammit. That could have been the ballgame. There isn't any residual love for Buffalo coursing through your veins, is there?
  • A positive to take away from the first drive of the 2nd half: the only reason the Patriots didn't get a touchdown there is because of a drop. Every play they ran out of that 4 TE set worked perfectly; Chandler just couldn't bring the pass in. And you know that New England is only just scratching the surface of that formation.
  • We're seeing mostly throws out of that formation thus far because what play Brady calls is based entirely on the defensehe is being shown. He most likely has three or four plays dialed up, he reads the personnel, and calls accordingly. When the defense goes a little smaller on the goal line as opponents amass more footage of the formation, look for more runs down the stretch.
  • Garbage OPI call on Sammy Watkins.
  • Shady McCoy is incredible. You get that guy in space and you aren't going to tackle him. Tough to knock the defense when he starts gashing like that.
  • So is the inordinate amount of penalties on Buffalo going to be the "Patriots are cheaters" scandal of the week? Has Belichick manipulated the refs to gain favorable calls? Looking forward to FlagGate playing out.
  • Great seeing Aaron Dobson not only seeing the field, but being involved in the offense and making positive contributions.
  • Of course, by "making positive contributions," I mean that he actually held on to the balls thrown his way. The ball only bounced directly off his face once all game, which is a huge improvement.
  • Dobson's stat line was 7 catches on 8 targets for 87 yards, mostly outside the hashes, but what you don't see on the stat sheet were the times when Tommy B threw a "I'm trusting you on this pass" attempt to move the chains. If he can become a viable part of this offense...look out when LaFell comes back.
  • Buffalo has $250 million invested in their defensive line. The reason? Tom Brady. Sacks from Buffalo yesterday? Two. If two sacks is worth $250 million, that means that the Patriots got $1,000,000,000 out of their line yesterday. That's a solid return.
  • Is it me, or did the third quarter last approximately nine years?
  • Glad that Edelman got his annual lay-out-for-the-goal-line touchdown catch out of the way early so he doesn't have to put his body at risk again for the rest of the year.
  • The Patriots have run that play a few times over the years: hard sell on the stretch run, left guard peels back to block the free rusher, Brady reads his options and executes accordingly. We first saw it against the Texans when Brandon Lloyd caught an easy touchdown pass, and we saw it again yesterday with Edelman across the middle as the linebackers bit up on the run fake.
  • Kind of a damper on that play, though, when a serious injury occurred. You always hate to see an ambulance on the football field, mouth, ego, and trash talk aside. All the best, Aaron Williams. Couldn't be happier to hear you're in the hospital with full feeling in all of your extremities.
  • It's also rough because I had a GREAT joke written about Williams after that play, but now I can't tell it because it's ripping on an injured guy. That's not cool.
  • I'm also curious as to what the deal was with the playing surface yesterday. Players were sliding all over the place, and it's quite possible that the turf played a factor in Willams's injury.
  • The majority of New England's sacks yesterday were simply the defensive line overpowering the offensive line, either shoving guys backwards or making quick moves to the inside to get a direct lane to Taylor. Not a whole lot of trickery from a defensive standpoint, which is heartening.
  • I think you're going to hear conflicting arguments about the rationale for continuing to throw the ball late in the 3rd quarter and into the 4th. The easy answer is ego and arrogance; the Patriots wanted to make a statement and shut the Bills up with authority. However, the counterargument is that the Patriots wanted to keep moving the chains, and they were more likely to move the ball throwing it, as Brady was having tremendous success all afternoon against the Bills. I personally think that it was a little bit of both.
  • I just wanted the Pats to run out the third quarter because that quarter JUST WOULDN'T END.
  • Anybody notice how Tommy B stopped the silent count as the game went on? And how we could all hear him calling the plays all the way from our couches? I wonder if there is a Guiness World Record for fastest transition to silence.
  • Heyyy Malcom Brown! I had legit forgotten about him until he registered his first sack. And that's a good thing, to be honest.
  • A real negative from yesterday's game: the New England front 7 reminded me quite a bit of the New York Giants NASCAR package that...well, you know.
  • Malcolm Butler was right there on the Robert Woods touchdown. It happened a few times last week against the Steelers as well when he was in position, the ball just sailed the slightest bit too high.
  • He really does need to work on his tackling, though. It's a big weakness of his.
  • To those of you who enjoy my articles and are thinking of a small way to say thanks for writing them, I'd love it if you could find any comments on other threads about how classless the Patriots are for keeping their foot on the gas late in the game. Those are always my absolute favorite comments to read.
  • Besides the ones that tell me how awesome I am, of course.
  • I will say this, though: the Bills were able to make this game close again because the Patriots kept on throwing. Their decision to keep throwing for sure gave Buffalo a few extra possessions.
  • NO FOUL FOR UNECESSARY ROUGHNESS! THOSE CHEATING CHEATYCHEAT GOLDEN BOYS GET BAILED OUT BY THE REFS AGAIN!
  • Heyyy Fletcher got burned deep! I don't think he's made a good play all year.
  • Are you kidding me, Danny Amendola? That's one of the best catches I have ever seen in my life. Totally bailed Tommy B out there.
  • I'm surprised there wasn't an official review for the 2nd of Blount's two carries of the day, as he was right by the 1st down marker once he actually touched the ground. Not that it really mattered.
  • Part of me thinks that the Patriots allowed Buffalo back in it just to rip their guts out again at the end of it.
  • Amazingly, I never once thought that the Patriots weren't going to win this game once they got rolling. If it were any other team with any other coach, I might have been worried. But come on...it's Buffalo.
  • Rex Ryan after the game: "we talked too much. That's why we lost." I wonder if he'll learn from this...probably not.
  • Those poor Bills. They have now lost the last five Super Bowls that they have played in. That's no fun.

Let's enjoy this one for a few days, and not get overconfident with the Jaguars coming to town. They just took down Miami, so they're going to be coming into Foxboro with plenty of confidence.

Never change, Buffalo. Never change.