The New England Patriots’ hopes of taking back the AFC East crown took a massive hit on Sunday. The reigning division champion Buffalo Bills came into Gillette Stadium and beat the Patriots 33-21 to overtake them in the standings again.
The game itself was a disappointing affair from New England’s point of view. Bad individual and collective performances, tough mistakes and unnecessary penalties, and uneven performance in all three phases cost the team.
Naturally, the postgame analysis was pretty straight-forward.
“We just need to execute better,” said quarterback Mac Jones. “It really just wasn’t our day, but there’s no excuses and there’s really nothing to talk about. I didn’t play great. I can play better. I can lead a lot better. It starts with me. We just have to look in the mirror and address what we can, and just keep working to get better every day.”
Center David Andrews echoed those remarks.
“The time for talking is just... We talk and talk. We have to execute, we have to be better. That’s really what it comes down to. Not some pop-up speech or talk, it really just comes down to execution and we didn’t do a good enough job of that today,” Andrews said.
The Patriots’ execution issues were most apparent on the key downs. Whereas Buffalo went 6-for-12 on third down and 3-for-4 on fourth down, New England moved the chain in only one of 10 third down situations; the 5-for-6 performance on fourth down was encouraging but not a sustainable way of playing successful football.
At the end of the day, the Bills out-executed the Patriots — something head coach Bill Belichick also pointed out during his postgame press conference.
“Not a lot to say here,” he noted during his opening remarks. “Obviously, Buffalo made more plays than we did today. Played better than we did, coached better than we did. We just didn’t perform well enough to really have a good chance to win the game. Have to find a way to do better. They made more plays than we did — give them credit — and we just have to get back to work here for next week.”
Despite the loss, Belichick pointed out that the Patriots would stick to their course.
“We’ll do what we always do,” he said. “Come in here, let the film make corrections from today and then get ready for Jacksonville.”
The Patriots will host the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium next Sunday.