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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' 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

So...yikes?

Sloppy, undisciplined defense and a stagnant, unmotivated offense led to the New England Patriots first loss of the season and the Buffalo Bills' first meaningful victory at Gillette Stadium since...well, since forever.Not a whole lot you can really say about this game, as right from the opening whistle the Patriots shot themselves in the foot over and over, only stopping on occasion to reload the gun before firing some more. Buffalo capitalized on a limited offense and stupid mistakes and got themselves right back in it with their second win of the season, so credit to the Bills on a job well done.

That said...does this really feel like a loss? Is anyone all that upset about it this morning? As you read this, Tom Brady's suspension is officially over and odds are he's at Gillette right now watching game tape and getting ready to hit it hard. So forgive me for not being too down this Monday.

The sooner we put this game behind us, the sooner we can get things back to normal around here.

  • This type of games seem to happen to the Patriots a few times a year. For whatever reason, nobody shows up to play, everyone is out of sync, dumb penalties short-circuit drives,and the whole thing is just one big bucket of yuck from start to finish. It's so consistent year to year that I almost think that Belichick throws one game a year on purpose in order to keep his team focuses.
  • If you only watched the first play of this game for whatever reason, you pretty much saw all that you needed to see, as it was this entire matchup in a nutshell. A great opportunity wasted on a penalty.
  • How much differently would this game have gone if that Edelman catch and run wasn't called back? Instead of a three and out, they would have been up-7-0 in less than a minute. With a rookie QB who still needs to get his feet under him, that would have made all the difference in the world.
  • Buffalo did exactly what everyone expected them to do to start this game - kept Taylor mobile, leaned heavily on McCoy, and took a couple of deep shots down the field to keep the defense honest. New England was completely powerless to stop it in the first half, and by the time they adjusted, they were already in too deep a hole.
  • It's amazing how, with some games, no lead is safe, and with others all you really need to do is get up two scores to feel comfortable. This game was definitely of the latter variety. Once the Bills were up by 13, absolutely no part of me felt confident that the offense was going to be able to get back in it.
  • We all saw how important the field position game is last week when it worked in New England's favor. Sure does suck to be on the other end of it.
  • New England went very big defensively to try and spell the run. Buffalo countered with stretch plays and in-cut routes across the middle as Taylor had all day to throw. The Patriots were hesitant to blitz because of Taylor's ability to make plays with his legs, and as a result Taylor was able to more or less move the ball at will.
  • Cyrus Jones is the goat of the week. Some massive brainfarts on the return game that gave Brissett a long field.
  • And a coaching brainfart, in my opinion, was the decision to match up a hobbled Dont'a Hightower up on McCoy.
  • How awesome is it that, when the Patriots went three and out twice in a row to start the game, Ian Eagle acted absolutely blown away? What a great testament to how well the team has played so far that a third string injured QB is unable to get anything going and the announcing crew can't imagine how something like that could happen.
    • Asking Jacoby Brissett to put the team on his back and throw his way back into the game is simply too much, and that's OK. you shouldn't ask that of a rookie. Hell, I've been working at my job for years and I don't want that kind of responsibility.
    • I feel like Dan Carpenter doesn't get enough credit. He's a very solid kicker. The only problem is he's good for one or two huge misses a year, and that's all anyone remembers.
    • Speaking of fans ignoring past success and only focusing on recent misses - come on, Ghost. Get your mojo back. Any last lingering hope I had for a comeback sailed wide right with your latest shank. At home.
    • I hate myself for loving that Ice-T/Lemonade commercial. I love it. Laugh every time he says "read the sign!" I am a huge part of the problem and I don't know if I can do anything about it.
    • Was there ever anything more predictable than the Patriots running a draw on 3rd and 16 and Patriots fans booing the playcall? We are the absolute worst.
    • Hey, weird! Big day for Robert Woods. Never saw that before.
    • Whenever the Patriots sent a man on a blitz, good things happened. The problem is that you can't live and die by the blitz with mobile QBs.
    • That said: if the "limit QB mobility" gameplan is clearly not working in any capacity, I can't quite understand the decision to stick with it. It's not like things could have gone worse with a changeup in defensive philosophy.
    • Holy Tebow do I enjoy watching Shady run. Some of the cuts he makes don't even make scientific sense. Luckily, watching the NFL as of late has made me quite comfortable completely ignoring science.
    • I'm actually kind of glad the refs were out of position and cost the Patriots a first down that ultimately led instead to a holding call and a fumble. If the refs had been out of position for a Buffalo 3rd down attempt, all we would have heard is...well, we all know by now.
    • You'll all be happy to know that I am officially done starting Rob Gronkowski on my fantasy team until he screws me by having a huge day. You're welcome.
    • The girlfriend while watching all the chippy exchanges that took place on the field: "so much testosterone!" Yes. That's true.
    • There were more than a few areas where Brissett looked like a rookie making his second career start. The fumble after the huge Bennett catch and run. His tendency to tuck and take off as soon as he felt pressure. I can forgive things like that. But a deep throw into the end zone to a double-covered Danny Amendola? That's the kind of thing that gets you grounded.
    • I also saw him try to throw a screen pass to Blount. When Blount is your receiving back, it's time to pack up and go home.
    • I always flip back and forth between the Patriots game and the Red Zone Channel whenever the New Eng;and game is on break. So in other words, every 45 seconds or so I switch back to the Red Zone Channel. And with maybe two exceptions, the only game I saw on that channel was Browns/Redskins. The Browns and the Redskins was the featured game yesterday. Why?
    • Live look at Roger Goodell after watching this game.
    • Good for the Bills - seriously. They have a pretty banged up team here, and they were still able to come into Foxboro and get a win. It's always easy to say "oh the Patriots lost this one, the Bills got a win handed to them," but winning games is hard in this league, no matter the circumstances, and it has to feel great to finally get one in Foxboro in a game in which the Patriots aren't mailing it in on purpose. So enjoy it.
  • The good news about a game being more or less over early in the 2nd quarter is that you have already processed the loss and by the time the final whistle blows you're completely over it and excited for the return of Tom Brady.

Speaking of...I'm going to go check to see if there were any reporters camping out at Gillette last night and if Brady did in fact spinning back kick the door down at 12:01 AM. We're on to Cleveland.