Bills beaten 40-32 by Patriots: Initial reaction to frustrating defeat


Initial thoughts on the Buffalo Bills 40-32 loss to the New England Patriots

The Buffalo Bills entered Sunday’s contest against the New England Patriots with high hopes. On the back of an impressive opening-day win over the Indianapolis Colts, a lot of people were convinced they were finally ready to vanquish their AFC East rivals.

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However, by the end of the afternoon it was a familiar story, with the Patriots beating the Bills 40-32. New England are now 14-2 in Buffalo since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000.

The Bills launched a spirited comeback from a 24-point deficit, but ultimately left themselves with too much to do. If you’d have said the offense would finish with 32 points, you’d think they would win the game, especially with their defense.

Unfortunately, as we should expect by now, Tom Brady was the main tormentor, finishing the game with 38 completions in 59 attempts, for 466 yards and three touchdown passes. Rob Gronkowski was his main target as usual, snagging seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown reception.

The game started off well for the Bills. Tyrod Taylor marched the team down the field, completing two of three passes and adding a 23-yard scramble.

LeSean McCoy looked especially sharp, carrying the rock four times for 31 yards (he would finish the game with 89 yards on the ground). Karlos Williams completed the 10 play, 80 yard drive with a touchdown run, and the Bills found themselves off to a dream start, with a 7-0 lead.

Sep 20, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) throws a pass during the first half against the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The defense then continued the momentum, by forcing a three-and-out on the Patriots first series of the game. They received an assist from the crowd, who forced Tom Brady to take a timeout due to the noise inside “The Ralph”.

Unfortunately, the tide started to turn on Buffalo’s next drive, as they also went three-and-out. New England made them pay after starting with good field position, as Brady led his teammates on a quick-fire five play, 62-yard drive down the field, finishing it off with a 8-yard dart to Julian Edleman.

The Bills followed this up with another three-and-out, when Taylor was fortunate to avoid a safety. The ensuring punt return and additional personal foul penalty gave the Patriots possession at the Bill 13 yard line.

New England scored two plays later. A six yard run by Dion Lewis gave them a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

One of the few negatives the Bills had against the Colts, was 11 penalties for 113 yards. Unfortunately, they continued this in week two, conceding five penalties in the first quarter alone, and finishing with 14 for 140 yards.

Things really started to unravel on the next Buffalo drive, as Taylor threw his first pick of the season. Backed up on their own 30-yard line, the defense was powerless to resist, as Brady threw a two yard scoring pass to his All-Pro tight end, for a 21-7 lead.

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The Bills were in disarray, with Stephon Gilmore and Nigel Bradham both screaming at Duke Williams after the Gronkowski score. Maybe Williams did screw up, but he can’t be blamed for the defense struggling as a whole, which included some poor tackling.

Perhaps best epitomizing the Bills problems on defense was Aaron Williams, who had trouble controlling his emotions, and was benched after two personal fouls. (The safetyies miserable afternoon was compounded, when he was taken off the field on an ambulance in the second half – we can only hope that it is nothing serious, but it didn’t look good.)

Rex Ryan’s troops finally got a break, after the Patriots failed on a fourth and one attempt from their own 48. Aided by a 39-yard pass interference penalty, Buffalo scored after a nine yard pass from Taylor to Charles Clay, but Dan Carpenter missed the extra point, and they trailed 21-13.

At this point, you just wanted the Bills to get to the half, but there was still time for the Pats to add a 46-yard field goal, to take a 24-13 lead. This was increased early in the second half with another field goal, to make it 27-13.

Even here, Buffalo were still in the game, but the first drive aside, the offense for mostly ineffective until the final quarter. Belichick proved once again why he is renowned as a defensive genius – remember he lost Vince Wilfork and Darrelle Revis in the offseason.

Talking of defensive geniuses’, Rex Ryan did little to live up to his own impressive reputation. Brady’s average QBR may usually be 12 points lower against Ryan defenses compared to the rest of the NFL, but the four-time Super Bowl winner was, quite simply, sensational on this day.

To be fair to the Bills they didn’t give up, leading to a comeback which came up just eight points short. Taylor kept fighting, and finished the game with 23 completions in 30 attempts, while throwing for 242 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. (He also added 43 yards on the ground.)

When it was all said and done though, New England probably deserved the win and in the process proved they are still the class of the AFC East. Hate them or not, call them cheaters, but the team always seems to rise to the occasion.

As for the Bills, it’s back to the drawing board. They won’t be the last team to be beaten by the Pats this season, but Ryan will need to rally the troops after a frustrating defeat.

The defense had no answer for Brady and his teammates, as they allowing 507 total yards, while the offense showed some promise. Ultimately though, they need to show more discipline moving forward.

What do you think about the Bills performance against the Patriots? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Next: Bills vs Patriots: Full game day coverage