INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: New England Patriots Defeat Buffalo Bills 37-16

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In their second meeting of the month, the New England Patriots (12-3) once again took care of the Buffalo Bills (8-7).

 

After looking sluggish during the first half, the Patriots came out in the second half and took care of business. At halftime, both teams were tied at 13. Despite his slight frame, Dion Lewis put the New England offense on his back and the Patriots rode him to a victory.

  1. Tom Brady – Once again this month, Brady had a very un Bradylike game. His numbers weren’t eye popping but they were enough to guide New England to a victory. Although, Brady threw an interception for a fifth consecutive game. This marks the first time since 2002 where Brady has done that. It is fair to wonder if maybe his age is starting to show longer the season goes.
  2. Dion Lewis – Another week and another dynamic game for Lewis. He once again showed that he is the top back for the Patriots. Lewis had 24 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown in the game. He also added five catches for 24 yards and a touchdown. He has been effective being the go to back for New England thus far, but with his frame it might not be a bad idea to limit his touches in week 17.
  3. Bend But Don’t Break – In the game, the Bills offense had their fair chance to move the ball. Whenever they go into the redone though, the Patriots defense managed to hold them to just a field goal. As long as the defense can manage to hold opponents out of the endnote, New England will have a chance to make a run in the playoffs.
  4. Pass Rush – While the numbers may be skewed due to the 21 point victory, the Patriots did manage to record six sacks in the game. Their defense has been without a pass rush for much of the season. The six sacks are certainly encouraging, although the large lead needs to be taken into consideration as well.
  5. Marquis Flowers – With Kyle Van Noy out once again, someone needed to step up for the New England defense. For the first time, someone emerged. Flowers had a very good game on Sunday. He totaled 10 tackles, five of which were solo. To go along with those tackles, Flowers also added 2.5 sacks and three QB hits. For a team that is in dire need of another pass rusher, this game could earn Flowers more snaps going forward.
  6. Mike Gillislee – For the first time in over a month, Mike Gillislee made an appearance. The running backs had six carries for 28 yards against his former team. His reemergence is an important one going forward. In the playoffs, having a running game becomes even more important. Since Gillislee is more of a straight forward runner than either Lewis or James White, getting Gillislee going could be a big addition for the Patriots offense.

Extra Point

While it didn’t come back to haunt them, Malcolm Butler once again had another poor game. He was victimized by Deonte Thompson, who had four catches for 91 yards. With the playoffs inching closer Butler needs to start playing better. If not, his poor play could be a big factor in a potential playoff loss.