Totally Biased NFL Recap: 10 Observations From the Pats Battering the Bills

Finally.

Almost an entire month later, the Pats finally notch another W in the ol’ W column. This win was significant for a lot of very important reasons, which I’ll now go over briefly, rather than write an article about it… shit…

The most obvious? It snapped an ugly, two game losing streak. The first in years for the Pats, and a losing streak that brought them into a losing record, something that’s been nearly unheard of in the Reign of the Sith Lords Darth Brady and Darth Bill.

A little less obvious? This win was a big win over a divisional opponent, and when it comes down to it later this season, one or two wins over division teams can, and usually do, make the difference when it comes to getting into the hunt for a Lombardi.

And not so obvious at all? I finally get to write about a goddamned win! It’s like I won the lottery or something… Only… not at all…

This was a good, convincing win for the Pats, something they needed after a couple of brutal, heart-breaking losses. We’re back to an even .500 record, and we can look ahead instead of dwelling on what’s already happened. We can take it one game at a time.

And which game? All we’re looking forward to is Denver in Week 5.

Before we get to that, though, let’s take a look at 10 things to take away from this Week 4 matchup that saw the Pats, finally, walk away with the win.

10. The Official Officials are Officially Officiating
I know this is a moot point, and they didn’t have any sort of impact on the game, but Jesus, if the old adage isn’t true, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I hated the refs before this season, I thought they sucked and I hated all the DPI and OPI calls, but holy shit, after three weeks of the replacement refs, I was foaming at the mouth to get these guys back on the field.

And what a difference! It seems like they’re really letting teams go at it, really letting them play it out, with a lot of no-calls and, most importantly, consistency. It’s always my number one gripe with officiating, and so far? So good.

9. Gostkowski: What the Hell, Bro?!
Who in the hell would’ve predicted that Stephan Gostkowski, the usually sure-footed kicker, would miss two field goals, in a row? If you had any money on that, then that’s money well-earned. It also makes you an insufferable asshole. Call it a hunch.

We dodged a bullet here in this game, and although I’m tempted to say it was more like a howitzer round, I’m also tempted to say that I don’t know whether or not the offense would’ve gotten going without missing…

Still, we are not always going to be this lucky where the game doesn’t come down to a field goal. Let’s be glad we got away with it here.

8. Mario Williams? Who?
What happened to Mario Williams? Although it’s probably unfair to call him “overpaid” after landing a massive, 6-year, $100 million contract, considering we’re only four games into the season, you can’t help but start wondering if it was totally worth it.

The superstar DE has notched only 9 tackles and 1.5 sacks on the season, two tackles of which he racked up yesterday. If what Buffalo says is true and he’s opening up lanes for other players and creating opportunities for teammates by drawing double-teams then perhaps he just had a bad game, and didn’t have the impact he may usually have in his new lineup. If what Buffalo says isn’t true, though? Then he’s most certainly overpaid because none of his teammates got the opportunity Buffalo claims they get with him in the lineup.

The Bills have combined for 10 sacks on the season and only managed 1 yesterday on TFB, in addition to the Pats going 247 yards combined for rushing. Regardless of whose fault it really is, Williams or otherwise, someone in Buffalo didn’t earn their paycheck yesterday.

#51 notched an impressive INT against the Bills

7. The Defense Isn’t Getting Shroomslapped Every Other Play
The defense had a pretty strong outing yesterday, and, despite Buffalo putting up 28 points, I think there’s a lot to be very pleased with on that side of the ball.

The Pats combined for 3 total sacks, which is 3 times as many as Buffalo had allowed all season. Not shabby. Big Vince, as usual, had a monster game, with a tipped ball that led to one of Devin McCourty’s INTs, and a fumble recovery at the 1-yd line just before the end of the 1st half to steal momentum from the Bills, not to mention end a drive that was, literally, inches away from being a scoring drive.

On top of #75’s phenomenal play, the rest of the squad finally did a good job of tackling. It’s crazy to think a Darth Bill coached team would be so weak in such a fundamental part of playing defense, but for the 1st three weeks, it seems like guys could make contact, but couldn’t tie up a receiver or runner for the take-down. That was remedied, for yesterday, as even Kyle Arrington, one of our worst tacklers, was on-point and spot-on with bringing down the ball carrier. We won’t get into him being burnt play-after-play throughout the game by the Bills’ passing game, though…

I couldn’t talk about the defensive play and not bring up the 4 total INTs, the 2 fumble recoveries, the big-time stops in the 2nd half… no, no, no… All of it’s pure gold. What am I most proud of, though? They held two of the league’s best RBs, CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson, and a rushing attack that was averaging almost 180 yards a game to just 98 total rushing yards.

SUCK ON THAT, BUFFALO!!!

One of #32’s two INTs on the day

6. Devin McCourty’s Return to Form… Mostly
I swear to God, the only thing that would make this into more of a roller coaster for Devin McCourty would be someone vomiting and that stupid picture of everyone with their hands up at the very end.

After a ho-hum outing in Week 1 versus the Titans, McCourty had a positively, and it’s not negotiable, Pro Bowl game covering Larry Fitzgerald, arguably the best WR in the league, and inarguably one of the best there is, if not of all time. Then against the Ravens, he committed costly penalties and was torched by a Ravens passing attack that was formed, it seems, out of nowhere this season.

So, it’s with great, great relish I can report the strength of his game in Buffalo as being nearly on-par with his game against Arizona. He notched 2 INTs and 5 solo tackles.

The only thing left for McCourty is to finally nail-down some consistency, and he could be a premier CB in the league.

5. We’re Allergic to 3rd Downs
The 3rd down play for the Pats has been absolutely atrocious. On both sides of the ball, too. We only converted 4 of 11 3rd down opportunities, or right around 36% efficacy, while Buffalo went a staggering 8 for 15 on 3rd down conversions.

This has got to change. I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but someday, this is absolutely going to bite us in the ass.

This is basically what it looked like all day. Running. No blues jerseys around anywhere. Except behind him. In a trail of dead.

4. The Run Game Saved the Day
One of my biggest concerns going into the new season was the running game. And, thankfully, It’s been a bit of a relief so far.

Both RBs who saw extended touches combined for over 240 total yards, scoring on 3 runs, with TFB racking up a whopping 4 yards on his own scoring run. The old statue’s got some moves, after all! And not even a week or two removed from Travis and I discussing how few QBs are left that aren’t known for their ability to scramble… Chalk another one up to Darth Tom.

On the subject of our legitimate RBs, Ridley and Bolden are both strong, power runners that don’t dance or bounce to the outside, going north/south and falling forward for extra yards. Buffalo’s front 7 is also reasonably solid, with the aforementioned addition of Mario Williams this offseason, and despite that, the Bills just didn’t seem to have an answer for the New England rushing attack.

3. The Pats’ Mental Toughness
It takes a special kind of gumption to be down 2 scores at half-time, 21 – 7, after having dropped a handful of wide-open passes, several of which were guaranteed TDs, after two, momentum-stealing fumbles, and then rally in the 2nd half to put up 45 straight points.

Gronk dropped a few big passes, and managed to fumble for the first time in a season or two, but came back out and had himself a big-time game. How big? 5 for 103 big, with a TD. Bitch!

Welker? He was all but disappeared this season, and even fumbled the ball, but then after half-time came out and laid the SMACKETH DOWN on Buffalo’s candy asses!

It’s just a sad and simple fact, not every team in the league could have fought back the way the Patriots did, but their discipline, their determination, their confidence and their mental toughness all allowed them to.

One of the 6 TOs on the day.

2. We Won the Turnover Battle
This was one of the single biggest determining factors in this game. The turnover battle is where many games are won and lost, and luckily, on this day, we won.

The Patriots’ ball security was uncharacteristically lackluster yesterday, and as I previous mentioned, both Gronk and Welker had a couple of key drops that led directly to Buffalo scores. These fumbles, and their ensuing points, were absolutely a tangible shift in momentum for the two teams, where the wind had been taken from the Patriots with the Bills taking full advantage.

We weren’t without our share of luck, too, however, as Devin’s McCourty’s stellar play led to two first-half INTs, with Jerod Mayo hauling in the rock once and Tavon Wilson reeling in an errant pass and recovering a fumble, on top of a Vince Wilfork strip-and-recovery inside the 2-minute warning for the 1st half.

Despite not capitalizing on every turnover, such as the first-half INTs, getting turnovers is still a huge momentum shift. Example? Gronk’s fumble changed the game for Buffalo, and it wasn’t until we came out of the locker room at half-time that the momentum was ours again. Speaking of coming out of the locker room at half-time…

1. That Vaunted Pats’ O Shows Its Face
The offense may have sputtered, and even stalled out, during the first half, but after one disappointing drive in the 3rd, the offense finally started rolling the way we’ve been waiting for all season. And the Buffalo Bills looked absolutely helpless.

TFB led seven (read: SEVEN!) consecutive scoring possessions, marching across the field each time for a TD and capping the last drive with a FG, and inflating the score to over the half-century mark. Darth Tom’s systematic dismantling of the Buffalo defense was reminiscent of the offense’s legendary abilities last season, and his consistent ability to get the ball to guys who were open or in a mismatch gave the Pats the edge, time and time again.

White Wes had a big game, hauling in 9 for 129 and getting the offense going when we needed it most, especially after the costly turnover, and as previously mentioned, the run game kick-started the offense, for once, and once the offense started going, there was just no stopping them.

Absolute. Cirus. Catch.

Brandon LLoyd’s TD catch was just a complete boner-inducer, and his performance of 3 for 50 betrays just how good his catches really were. Brady’s fire and tenacity is ridiculous, especially when him and Lloyd are getting each other amped up. It’s absolutely infectious to see them fired up, and it’s an instant hard-on whenever I see it. Too much? Ok, too much.

The offensive line was phenomenal, giving Brady and the RBs tons of protection to let plays develop and keep Brady off the ground (he was sacked only once).

It was just complete and total domination by the Patriots’ offense, and if they’re hot like they were yesterday, I’d put money down that there isn’t a defense in the league that could totally shut them down. No. Effin. Way.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

And that about does it for this week’s recap. Any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to utilize the comment box below! And make sure to stay tuned and check back next week for the Week 5 recap!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: