FOXBORO -- The Bills were visitors at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, but didn't shy away from protecting "their" turf.
BILLS 16, PATRIOTS 0: Perry: First impressions from the game | Curran: Best and worst | Brown: It was a 'complete debacle' | Curran: Shows how hard it is to win in the NFL | Notes: First time shut out at home in 23 years |
Before the game began, as both teams warmed up, there was an incident in which Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett was bumped by Bills safety Robert Blanton. Patriots receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who happened to be jogging alongside Brissett, quickly shoved Blanton while Brissett continued on his way. A scuffle ensued as Bills safety Aaron Williams jumped into the fray, and it had to be broken up with the help of several Patriots coaches, including receivers coach Chad O'Shea and linebackers coach Brian Flores.
After beating New England, 16-0, Buffalo players explained that they went after Brissett because he was running through one of their drills and they thought he could have done something to injure one of the Bills defensive backs.
"We were out there doing our normal game routine, warming up as DBs, and a couple of Patriots guys ran through our DB drill," Blanton told reporters after the game. "I told them, 'Hey, don't run through our DB drill on the sideline.' It's disrespectful and you can get somebody hurt because the DBs were back-pedaling. And they decide to run through our DB drill again. I just went over there and told them to run on their side and don't run through our DB drill."
"Attitudes flare in this game," Williams said. "It's part of this game. A lot of alpha males on the field and it was a big game. We got into it a little bit, but we had to keep our heads and composure in the game and make sure that didn't affect us. It definitely set the tone. We didn't want to come out there flat.
"We wanted some enthusiasm, some energy, some fire, and I'm glad our guys got together and got each other's back. After that happened, we were all excited, we were all ready to play. Things like that are going to happen, but we can't let that affect us in the game."
Patriots quarterbacks Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo often run through the opponent's half of the Gillette Stadium turf during warmups in order to get an extended jog in before throwing. In that sense, Brissett did nothing out of the ordinary. But the Bills took exception.
"We were back-pedaling," Blanton said. "As a DB you're looking at your coaches back pedaling and these guys are running behind us. I guess they think that's cool to run through your DB drills, but the field is separated for teams to warm up on for that reason."
Blanton added: "They were literally in the middle of our DB drills. They were on the field like on the numbers in the middle of our DB drills. I don't know what they do every game because I don't play for the Patriots. But I know no other team has ever done that."
Brissett was roughed up a bit after kickoff as well. He was sacked three times, and he took a hard shot in the middle of the field in the second quarter that led to a fumble deep in Bills territory.
The Bills indicated after the game that what happened along the sidelines near the Patriots bench set a tone. There was no regret coming from the visitor's locker room.
"I think it's dangerous for teams being disrespectful," said Blanton. "The field is divided for teams to warm up on so to come and run through it and we say, 'Hey, can you not run through out drill, it's disrespectful, you can get somebody hurt,' and then to come back and do it again, I think that is pretty disrespectful by the Patriots. I guess you should ask them if they would do that again after being asked not to."
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said before the game that he wasn't surprised by the fact that the Bills bumped Brissett since they take after their "less-than-disciplined" head coach Rex Ryan.
"We have a disciplined team," Blanton said. "I think it was clear today we also had the better team."