Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots: Report card from Wild Card win

Reggie Gilliam, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Reggie Gilliam, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Buffalo Bills
Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

Defensive Ends

The Bills defense was coming off a nine-sack performance against the Jets and had three on the night against the Patriots, with the defensive ends accounting for two of them on Saturday night.

The first sack was by Jerry Hughes, who made a heads-up play on a fake spike by the Patriots that he was not fooled on. Then in the second half, Boogie Basham was able to add a sack for this defense, his first career postseason sack.

However, the defensive ends should get credit for really limiting the run game of the Patriots. The score certainly helped limit the Patriots’ offense to run the ball. However, there were plays like Mario Addison’s ability to run Damien Harris out of bounds on their second drive that stopped him from picking up a first down that helped set the tone and limit what they did on the ground.

Grade: A

Defensive Tackles

Similar to the defensive ends, this defensive tackle position deserves a lot of credit for slowing down the Patriots’ run game. Harrison Phillips once again led the way at the position with three total tackles with Ed Oliver finishing with two.

However, it was Star Lotulelei who made the impact play for this position as he actually got the first sack for this defense. The veteran defensive tackle has been in and out of the lineup in the second half of this year and it was great to see him make that play early in the game.

Grade: A