The Bills dropped their first game of the season to the New England Patriots and now, one less team is undefeated. However, the Bills’ defense did a great job of keeping the Patriots from repeat scoring and despite the loss, they got the backdoor win against the NFL odds.
And then there were three. The Pats, the Chiefs and the 49ers – of all teams– remain undefeated as we head into week 5. But what about the Patriots and Bills? Can the Patriots keep rolling, and is this the start of a skid for Buffalo, or will they bounce back? Let’s analyze the game to find the answers to those questions.
The Buffalo Bills Defense
The defense did their job and they did it well. Tremaine Edmunds racked up 11 tackles on the day, but three others posted six tackles each to spread the wealth: Wallace, Milano, and Poyer. The defensive unit held Tom Brady and his Patriots to just 224 yards and only 11 first downs through four quarters of play. 18 for 39 and just 150 yards for Tom Brady is a win by most defensive standards. Seven three and outs and nine punts for the Pats. That is tied for a Belichick era worst. So what gives?
The Bills offense netted 375 yards and put up more than double the number of first downs than the Patriots at 23. But mistakes at key junctures cost the Bills big. This started early with Josh Allen’s first pick of the day, where the Pats took over on the 31-yard line. The Patriots drove down and scored, although they missed the PAT.
Then in a run of bad meets worse, Corey Bojorquez got his punt blocked and the Pats ran it in for the touchdown. This time the PAT was good and suddenly the score is 13-0. The first half was rough for Bills fans. After just one field goal in the second quarter, it looked like more of the same old luck while playing in the AFC East against New England. But the third quarter was good. Josh Allen went 6 for 6 and drove the BIlls down the field to score in just nine plays. And the Bills are back in it 10-13. That was the first time the Pats defense had been scored on in the 2019 season.
But the turnover woes wouldn’t go away. After Josh Allen had 3 interceptions and left the game with a head-stinger, Matt Barkley also threw a pick. This was extremely disappointing after the Bills held Brady an the Pats on the goal line to force a field goal. Barkley did a great job of driving the team back down to the red zone… only to have a tipped pass get picked off by Chung.
We have to give credit to both defenses. The Pats defense played incredibly well, holding the Bills to just 10 and of course, holding Tom Brady to just 16 points while giving him four extra opportunities is an amazing defensive effort on the Bills side.
This leads us to those questions; what does this all mean? Will the Pats run the table? I don’t think so. I believe the Bills just gave other defensive-minded teams the playbook that will at least knock one or two wins off the Patriots’ season. And how about the Bills? Are they now doomed to regress? No. Although the Pats did just show the rest of the NFL how to rattle and disrupt Josh Allen. That said, they have many winnable games left on the schedule and even if the Pats run the table, they are still a legitimate contender for one of those wildcard spots. Frank Gore is going to continue to pound the ball. Barkley will find some success if Allen is out for any length of time. And the Bills defense is monstrous.
There are still plenty of wins ahead for Buffalo in 2019.