The New England Patriots looked like a team in need of a jolt and a boost not too long ago. Things change quickly in the NFL, and it seems like everything is coming back to normal, with Tom Brady getting enough time to look like an elite quarterback while the Buffalo Bills, always a team the Pats found easy to beat, disappointing in a game that could have meant a lot more to them than just a win.
The Patriots started the season with a double digit loss in Miami against the Dolphins. They lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in something of a humiliating fashion a bit later, which sparked all the talk about a team on a decline, and Tom Brady seeing the end of his career from up close. The Patriots responded like they always do: Two dominating wins, one over the Cincinnati Bengals, undefeated up to that point, and now against the Bills, a team that always crumbles against the Patriots when they have a chance to make a statement.
Kyle Orton wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t great either, throwing one interception and not being able to make up for the running game getting taken out. The Patriots allowed 4.4 rushing yards per carry going into the game but they held the Bills to just 68 yards on 23 rushing attempts, holding C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to just 45 yards. Orton threw a couple of touchdown passes and for 299 yards, but he’s never been the kind of quarterback to win duels in shootouts with better QBs than him.
Not all is good for the Patriots, despite Tom Brady enjoying his best game of the season with four touchdown passes, throwing for 361 yards and completing 27-of-37 passes. He was sacked twice and knocked around a bit but his offensive line didn’t really breakdown against one of the best pass rushing teams in the NFL. The running game didn’t work for the Patriots with just 50 yards in the game but this time it didn’t matter.
But it might become more of an issue later on. Stevan Ridley injured his knee and left the game. The same can be said for Jerod Mayo, the linebacker, maybe the Patriots’ weakest position and thinnest as well, leaving the game with a knee problem. It’s still too soon to say if it’s something very serious or just bumps and bruises the Patriots will get over quickly, but if they’re out, it makes keeping this momentum going even more difficult.
But thanks to being in the AFC East, nothing is ever too terrible for the Patriots. Despite their losses early in the season, they can always count on the Bills messing up (falling to 3-3), the Miami Dolphins doing the same (2-3) and the New York Jets simply being terrible at 1-5. Maybe this isn’t the best Patriots team we’ve seen in recent years, but in a division so weak, it doesn’t really matter.