Missed Opportunities Doom Bills

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It’s no secret that you have to play mistake free football to beat the Patriots in Foxboro, and the Bills certainly made their fair share of mistakes, yet they still had a chance to win this game. The game ended up being a very winnable one for Buffalo thanks to great play by the defense and a frustrated Tom Brady. However in the end Buffalo did not make enough plays to win this game.

You just can’t beat New England by settling for field goals, which Buffalo attempted three. Had the Bills scored touchdowns on just two of those attempts, they win the game. Once Dan Carpenter missed a 48 yard try with 46 seconds left in the half there was no doubt Tom Brady would put points on the board. Make the field goal and the halftime score is likely 6-3 Buffalo, but he missed and it was 10-3 New England.

The Bills finally get a break and have Chris Hogan open for an easy touchdown, the ball was under thrown and broken up cleanly, the Bills settle for three instead of seven. Two drives later LeSean McCoy has the ball in his hands in the end zone, but he drops it leading to a missed field goal. The Bills get zero instead of seven. Make those plays and the Bills win, but they didn’t make the plays.

Why on earth is Leodis McKelvin still returning punts? He was shaky the whole game, everyone was just waiting for him to fumble, which of course he did. Instead of having the ball at the 30 down by a touchdown, the Patriots get a free three points. Is if that wasn’t enough, he was still returning punts after he gave the Patriots the ball, and fumbled again! I never want to see him back there again.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Time after time the Buffalo defense got the ball back in decent field position, the offense just couldn’t capitalize. It wasn’t like they couldn’t move the ball, Taylor threw for 233 and McCoy rushed for 82, they just couldn’t get the big play when they needed it.

Common sense would tell you if you need a big play, find the best receiver on the field, but for some reason that was never even an option. Watkins was open, Taylor never even looked his way.  Not sure what made the coaches think he couldn’t beat Malcolm Butler, but they should have targeted him all game. Watkins simply wasn’t in the game plan until the Bills were desperate at the end, that was inexplicable.

On the bright side, the defense played like we expected them to all year. Constant pressure on Tom Brady only led to one sack, but he was hit ten times, and most of them were hard. That sight will never get old, watching Brady got leveled onto the turf. It must really bother some teammates who watch Brady get scared and just fall without even getting hit. Gilmore and Darby continued their stellar seasons, and even the linebackers played fairly well. If you hold the Patriots to 20 points, you should win.

This one hurt, the Bills put themselves in great positions all night, but couldn’t get it done. Sure the officiating was awful, but I’ll save that for later. Bottom line is the Bills lost a very winnable game, which is not easy to come by in New England.