Coming off three straight blowout wins that were all essentially already decided in the first half, the New England Patriots had to go through a dogfight to get their record to 4-0. The reigning world champions defeated the Buffalo Bills 16-10 on the road in a contest defined by dominant offensive play, sloppiness on both sides, and offensive units that had a hard time getting into a rhythm. In the end, however, the Patriots prevailed.
After the hard-fought game that was not decided until an interception by Jamie Collins late in the fourth quarter, Bill Belichick stepped in front of the media to talk about the victory. One thing became clear immediately: New England’s head coach felt good about the way his team performed in one of the toughest environments in the entire league, and how it rose to the challenge of going against a physical and well prepared opponent.
“Great team effort by our guys, really proud of our players,” said Belichick. “They stepped up, showed a lot of mental and physical toughness in this game. Obviously the Bills are a good football team — played very well, they have a lot of great players, well coached, tough. Our guys just started making more plays, and really competed for 60 minutes. We knew that’s what it’s going to take here, and they really responded to that.”
“It’s good to get a division win on the road, and I’m really happy for our team, I’m really proud of the way they competed here. This was a tough football game, tough place to play,” added Belichick. The toughness mentioned by the future Hall of Famer was on full display throughout the game, with both teams’ defenses making life hard for the respective units on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
As for the Bills’ defense, it was able to limit Tom Brady and company to 224 yards of total offense and only 11 first downs. Of New England’s sixteen points, just nine — a touchdown and missed extra point, as well as a field goal — were actually the result of the unit driving down the field. Belichick, however, did not appear to be surprised by how the game developed for his team’s offense during his postgame press conference.
“We know they have a great defense,” he said after the game. “They’re well coached, they’re strong in all three areas, defensive line, linebackers, and secondary. They do a great job with their disguise, and are a tough, physical football team. Yea, they do a good job. They made it hard on us, like they always do. [...] It was a big field position game and there were some turnovers in there that obviously impacted the field position.”
Ultimately, Belichick’s team was able to come out on top due to its very own defense. Between relentless pressure against Buffalo’s quarterbacks — first Josh Allen, later Matt Barkley — and four total interceptions caught by the unit, it allowed New England to stay ahead throughout the game. The head coach’s sentiment therefore echoes what was on full display on that side of the ball from start to finish: “We had good team defense.”