The story of the first quarter has been the Patriots ridiculous ability to convert on third down. QB Tom Brady and the offense is 5/5 on third down, with all coming on passing plays.
These third downs have come needing 8 or 9 or 10 yards as the Patriots have been atrocious on first down. But, my goodness, they set up amazing third down plays.
WR Chris Hogan caught a 53-yard touchdown against his former team on 3rd and 13.
You can’t throw it or gain better separation better than this play. The Bills defender threw his hands up in frustration before Hogan even reached the end zone.
The context of this score means a lot, too. The Patriots got the ball on the Bills 45 yard line after an ugly Bills punt, following an amazing special teams play to stick Buffalo at their own 7 yard line.
WR Danny Amendola was flagged for offensive pass interference, negating a 26-yard gain by RB James White and setting up 1st and 20.
Then a Bills defensive holding call gave the Patriots 1st and 10 from midfield.
After a pair of plays that picked up nothing of note, Brady connected with WR Julian Edelman on a huge pass that set up the Patriots on the 1 yard line.
Unfortunately, RT Marcus Cannon was too far down the field and was flagged for a 5-yard penalty, setting up a 3rd and 13 from the Patriots 47 yard line.
Brady went right back to the deep ball and Hogan scored. Here’s how the Patriots have to be feeling right now:
Patriots lead 14-3 heading into the 2nd quarter.