Patriots

First impressions: Patriots 41, Bills 25

First impressions: Patriots 41, Bills 25

In Buffalo, it was apparent that the Patriots were a much different team than the one that took the field at Gillette Stadium and lost to the Bills in Week 4. They easily rolled over Rex Ryan's club, 41-17, moving their record to 7-1 on the season. Here are five quick impressions from the matchup . . .

PATRIOTS 41, BILLS 25: Curran's Best and Worst | Bills Mafia throws WHAT on the field??

* Tom Brady continues to perform as the most consistent signal-caller in the NFL as he completed 22 of 33 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns. He spread the ball to a variety of targets, completing multiple passes to six different receivers. He also continues to impress as he used his legs sparingly but effectively. He was able to climb the pocket and buy himself time to find open receivers. He stepped up, avoided pressure coming from the edges, and threw with Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams in his face for his first touchdown pass of the game. In the third quarter, Brady scrambled for a gain of 15 yards on a third-and-five play to keep a drive alive that eventually resulted in a LeGarrette Blount score. Brady came out with 4:29 left in the game, giving way to backup Jimmy Garoppolo.

* Buffalo played a smart football game against an undermanned Patriots group back in Week 4, but at home they imploded. From the beginning, they drew penalties on a consistent basis. They had a 12-men-on-the-field flag on New England's first drive of the game, on the second their defensive holding penalty canceled out a Patriots offensive-pass-interference call. A late hit in the third quarter and a hold in the fourth also helped the Patriots keep drives alive and led to scores. They finished with 12 penalties for 84 yards. The Patriots were called for some long ones themselves, particularly pass interference calls on Eric Rowe and Justin Coleman, giving them nine flags for 87 yards. 

* Stephen Gostkowski made all of his kicks on the afternoon, perhaps giving him the shot of confidence he's been looking for over the last few weeks. He made two field goald, including a 51-yarder at the end of the first half, and five extra-points. The long boot of the day actually ricocheted off of the upright and bounced through. Gostkowski appeared fired up, throwing his hands into the air in celebration upon seeing that it was good. 

* Rob Gronkowski snagged five passes for 109 yards, including a 53-yard score that gave him the new Patriots record with 69 career receiving touchdowns. Gronkowski found himself in one-on-one coverage down the seam in the first quarter for his record-breaking catch. He took a bow immediately after crossing the goal line, then executed his trademark spike. That was a celebration that could have gone any number of ways, and he chose the classy route. 

* While the Patriots will be happy to head home with another divisional win, one area they'll have to continue to evaluate is their depth at cornerback. Malcolm Butler has solidified himself as a No. 1 corner, and he had another strong game on Sunday, but after that there are some question marks. Last week, Eric Rowe played every snap, looking like the No. 2 on the depth chart, ahead of Logan Ryan. This week, Rowe saw plenty of action through the early portion of the game, and the Bills went right after him. He committed a pass-interference penalty and an illegal contact penalty early in the game, and he picked up another pass interference flag in the fourth quarter. He was targeted eight times, only allowing three receptions, but he was personally responsible for 63 penalty yards. Ryan and Justin Coleman also saw their share of action but the No. 2 job looks like it's up for grabs. Second-round rookie Cyrus Jones was made a healthy scratch before the game for the third consecutive week. 

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

PHILADELPHIA - Carson Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame losing nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters in a 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

Wentz threw for 268 yards and ran for a career-best 63 after a shaky start to lead the NFL-best Eagles (6-1) to their fifth straight win. But the victory was costly because Peters was carted off the field with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins had 303 yards passing and three TDs for the Redskins (3-3).

The Eagles went three-and-out three times in their first four drives and had only 57 total yards before Wentz hit Mack Hollins in stride with a perfect 64-yard TD pass to tie it at 10.

That got the offense rolling.

Wentz connected with Zach Ertz for 46 yards on the next series and found him again for a 4-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.

After getting the second-half kickoff, the Eagles drove 86 yards for another touchdown. Peters was injured during the series, and fans chanted his name while teammates surrounded the cart.

Wentz finished the drive off with a play that Peters would appreciate.

While being hit by two defenders and falling forward, Wentz lofted a 9-yard TD pass to Corey Clement.

Wentz fired a 10-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor to expand the lead to 31-17. Wentz kept that drive alive by escaping a sack and running 17 yards on third-and-8.

Cousins tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson to give the Redskins a 10-3 lead. He connected with Jordan Reed on a 5-yard TD to cut the deficit to 24-17 and threw a 12-yard pass to Reed to cap the scoring.

The Eagles were penalized on four straight plays to start their first possession before Wentz was intercepted by Quinton Dunbar on a deep pass to Torrey Smith on second-and-31.

Philadelphia swept Washington for the first time since 2013 and has a commanding lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys and Redskins are tied for second place.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

0:41 - Tom Giles, Michael Holley, and Tom Curran react to the Patriots’ 23-7 win over the Falcons on Sunday night and whether the Patriots deserve to be considered Super Bowl favorites.

6:09 - Is Johnson Bademosi an upgrade over Stephon Gilmore at cornerback for the Patriots? Michael Hurley joins BST to debate with Tom Curran, Michael Holley, and Kayce Smith. They also discuss the defense’s overall improvement in Sunday night’s win.

14:37 - NBC Sports Boston’s Red Sox insider Evan Drellich joins the show to talk about the Red Sox hiring Alex Cora to be their new manager, whether it was the right choice, and how his presence will affect the Red Sox clubhouse.

22:14 - Kayce Smith and Tom Curran discuss Kyrie Irving’s vulgar response to a Philadelphia fan yelling “Where’s LeBron?” at him on Friday night.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE