The Patriots showed a lot during their 41-25 victory over the Bills.
QB Tom Brady would have made a big difference in week 4
It was never in dispute, but the Patriots are probably undefeated if QB Tom Brady were available in the first game against the Bills. QB Jacoby Brissett (who was in attendance despite his injury) couldn’t throw the ball. Brady shredded the Bills defense to the tune of 22 for 33, 315 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions for a rating of 137.0. He was sacked four times, three courtesy of another player on this list, and hit 8 times.
WR Chris Hogan had an excellent outing against his former team
Hogan collected 4 catches on 4 targets for 91 yards and a 53-yard touchdown. Hogan drew a flag in the end zone, too, which gave the Patriots a new set of downs. He was able to generate separation down the field and he has an obvious connection with Brady.
TE Rob Gronkowski set the franchise record for touchdowns
Gronkowski caught 5 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. Gronkowski was exceptional as a receiver and made plays on all levels of the field. He even made a one-handed grab on the sideline that didn’t count, but was still amazing. He now has 69 career touchdowns, which is the most in Patriots franchise history.
LT Nate Solder had a rough outing
Solder gave up three sacks on Brady and really struggled with the speed rushers around the edge. RB LeGarrette Blount only averaged 2.4 yards per carry and had more success running up the middle than to the outside. This might have been Solder’s worst game of the season.
LB Jamie Collins didn’t have the best day
Collins was truck-sticked on the Bills first rushing score and he had a few misses in the open field. He’s no longer listed on the injury report, but his play seemed to be lower than the level we have come to expect.
FS Devin McCourty had a good game as a ballhawk
McCourty only had four tackles and one pass defended, but he had another interception called back due to a penalty and the Bills were unable to attack the deep half of the field for most of the game. McCourty did his job of deterring the Bills.
The rest of the defense didn’t seem to have a standout
It might have been due to the lack of talent on the other side of the field, but it seemed like the Patriots defense didn’t have a standout defender other than McCourty. No one looked bad, but no one had an outstanding performance.
Maybe CB Malcolm Butler? But Bills QB Tyrod Taylor didn’t have any receivers left by the end of the day, so it’s hard to judge Butler’s performance.
K Stephen Gostkowski is back on track
Gostkowski converted all five extra points and both of his field goals, including a long 51-yard kick right before the half in some elements. Gostkowski needed a big day and the coaching staff kept their faith in his ability. Gostkowski rewarded their trust with a nice day.