Buffalo Bills: 5 quick thoughts from 14-10 loss to the Patriots

Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Bills
Harrison Phillips, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

Buffalo Bills miss A.J. Klein

The Buffalo Bills have played almost exclusively in nickel defense this entire season. However, in this game, and with these conditions, the Bills went to more 4-3 defensive sets to try and combat the power run game of the New England Patriots.

Unfortunately, the Bills did not have their third-best linebacker, A.J. Klein, as he was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the day. The Bills turned to Tyrel Dodson, who finished the game with five tackles and for the most part, played well. However, Klein is better against the run and would have been a boost for this defense.

Harrison Phillips has himself a game

One of the top performances for the Buffalo Bills defense against the Patriots came from defensive tackle Harrison Phillips. He would finish the game with seven total tackles and one tackle for a loss and looked more like the player from early in 2019 before he suffered that season-ending knee injury.

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The fourth-year defensive tackle had to play a larger role this week with Star Lotulelei back but appeared to have his workload managed as he came back off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. This was a good game by Phillips and he should see more playing time down the stretch.