34 degrees / clear
Key Decision #1: (NE trails 10-3 / 1st & 10 NE 25 / 10:28 Q2)
- It’s not often New England trails by two possessions, but if Buffalo could make a stop on this series, they would get the ball back for an opportunity to create a two-possession difference in the game.
- On this series, the Bills continued with the defensive game plan they used in the first matchup with the Patriots; that is, protect the deep shots and give QB Tom Brady the underneath throws. Well, Brady took those plays in this series, and after seven throws and just two runs, the Patriots tied the score at 10. The Bills didn’t want to adjust in this series, and it cost them a TD. We understand the reasoning employed by Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott – making a team execute a lot of small plays might force them into one mistake that you can capitalize on, but it didn’t work on this series.
Key Decision #2: (NE ball 10-10 / 4th & 1 BUF 22 / 2:00 Q2)
- Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and McDermott engaged in some serious strategy here; both called successive timeouts in addition to the two-minute warning in trying to discern what to do. At one point, New England actually lined up as if to attempt the 4th down; failure though risked a loss of momentum, and with Buffalo getting the ball first in the 3rd quarter, two consecutive possessions in a tie game. Belichick ultimately chose the FG to go ahead 13-10.
Key Decision #3: (BUF ball 13-13 / 1st & 10 NE 10 / 11:31 Q3)
- Buffalo took the opening possession of the 2nd half all the way down to the New England 10 after an excellent 39-yard play by RB LeSean McCoy.
- On 1st down, however, the Bills inexplicably made a play call that appeared to have FB Patrick DiMarco as the checkdown, which QB Tyrod Taylor took. Taylor completed the pass well behind the line of scrimmage, and the Patriots tackled DiMarco for a big 8-yard loss.
- The Bills then confronted a 2nd and goal from the New England 18, which ultimately resulted in a FG and 16-13 lead. The 8-yard loss on first down, however, cost them an opportunity to finally punch it in for a TD and 20-13 lead.
Key Decision #4: (BUF trails 23-16 / 4th & 1 NE 32 / 13:13 Q4)
- Earlier in this game, McDermott went for a 4th down in the redzone; while he wasn’t successful, he showed he was choosing to be aggressive. On this play, however, he bypassed the 4th down effort for a 1st down, and opted for a 50 yard FG try in a stadium that doesn’t yield long range FGs too easily. The Bills missed, the Patriots took over with a short field, and promptly drove in for a TD and insurmountable 30-16 4th quarter lead.
- We feel that McDermott and the Bills are getting a bit closer to figuring out a way to beat the Patriots, but he’ll need a bit more personnel. In two games this year, McDermott had the Patriots on the ropes, but some decision-making inconsistency has cost him. However, he’s done a remarkable job with a roster that’s in transition, and we feel Bills fans have a bright future with him at the helm.
- Belichick did an outstanding job working in new Patriots to the game plan. Players such as TE Jacob Hollister, WR Kenny Britt, RB Mike Gillislee, and WR Phillip Dorsett all saw the ball at times, and on defense, LB Marquis Flowers was very productive. Many of these players have just joined the team or had been inactive for weeks.
- Every time Buffalo blitzed QB Tom Brady, they were burned, and their blitz calls were fairly predictable. They’ve got to change it up just a bit better in the next matchup.
- Trailing at 16-13, the Patriots effectively went no-huddle to change the tempo, and it worked. Not enough teams do this during a game; on the other hand, not many have a veteran QB who can execute effectively.