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. 

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Patriots seven-time Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater is in Pittsburgh on Saturday making a free-agent visit to the rival Steelers, according to an ESPN's Field Yates.

Slater, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. The special teams captain and one of the leaders in the locker room signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots lost special teamer Johnson Bademosi to the Texans in free agency on Friday but signed special teamers Brandon Bolden and Brandon King just before the free agency period began.

More to come...

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Tom Brady has been making the media rounds lately with "Good Morning America" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" appearances this past week to promote his "Tom vs. Time" series and TB12 Method book. On Saturday, Brady was a phone-in guest on NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" for their "Not My Job" segment. 

Before a mostly cheering live audience in Hartford and after a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks - mostly drawbacks - of tomatoes and strawberries, plus an assessment of the intelligence of most defensive coordinators, Brady settled in to handle three questions about the world's second-most famous Bradys, the family from the classic sitcom - "The Brady Bunch".

Click here to listen and see how he did.