Five quick impressions from Patriots' loss to Bills: Brissett roughed up

Five quick impressions from Patriots' loss to Bills: Brissett roughed up

FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hitting impressions from New England's 16-0 loss to division rival Buffalo...

BILLS 16, PATRIOTS 0: Curran: Best and worst | Felger: Pats 'coached scared' with Brissett at QB | Brown: It was a 'complete debacle' | Curran: Shows how hard it is to win in the NFL |

* Jacoby Brissett got the start at quarterback for the Patriots as Jimmy Garoppolo continues to deal with his shoulder injury, but his second-career start did not go nearly as smoothly as his first. Once again sticking with a conservative game plan, the team's third-round pick went 17-for-27 for 205 yards, no touchdowns and no picks. Brissett, who was limited in practice last week with a thumb injury, was sacked three times for 18 yards and he lost a fumble. Through the first 30 minutes of play, he attempted just three passes, completing all three for 75 yards. The team ran 17 plays total in the first half. 

* The Patriots may have been fortunate to get through the game with one quarterback. Brissett took two shots that briefly looked like they could have cost him plays. The first came in the second quarter when he scrambled up the middle and did not slide to avoid contact. He was hit hard by linebacker Zach Brown, and Brown's helmet hit Brissett's left forearm with enough force to pop the ball loose. Brissett did not miss any snaps on the subsequent drive. In the third quarter, Brissett did manage to slide after scrambling, but as he was falling to the turf he took a shot to the head and remained down briefly. He was not sent off the field to go through the concussion protocol, and the when the drive ended, he did not appear to be tested. Julian Edelman took two snaps as a Wildcat quarterback, running once for a one-yard gain and handing off once. 

* The Patriots were dealt a pair of injuries late in the game that are worth monitoring. Martellus Bennett landed hard on his right shoulder in the fourth quarter after a 16-yard reception. The play put him over 100 yards receiving, but he had to be checked by trainers briefly before going back in the game. Bennett has been leaned on heavily as a significant portion of the team's running and passing attacks through four weeks. Also in the fourth quarter, Brandon Bolden appeared to suffer a knee injury after a 16-yard catch. He did not return. A core special teamer, any significant injury to Bolden would be a blow to the team's kicking game. 

* The Patriots running game, which carried them offensively through the season's first three weeks, was not able to produce consistently against Rex Ryan's defense. They averaged 4.1 yards per carry, and LeGarrette Blount, who was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for September, picked up 4.2 yards per carry, but through three quarters that number was closer to 3.0. Ryan and his staff clearly wanted to make Brissett beat them with his arm, and the Patriots were not able to consistently make Buffalo pay with accurate throws down the field. 

* Penalties hurt the Patriots, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. A massive gain that would have put the Patriots at the Bills' 1-yard line on their first play from scrimmage was wiped clean due to a Chris Hogan holding penalty. Edelman was flagged twice (one of which was accepted), and the Patriots offensive line combined for five penalties. Nate Solder, who had not been penalized through two games this season, was called for a hold and a chop block. In all the Patriots were penalized 9 times for 74 yards. Against a Bills team that has been undisciplined in losses to the Patriots in the past, it was the Patriots whose mistakes cost them.

Second ex-Pats OT to make free-agent visit to Cowboys

Second ex-Pats OT to make free-agent visit to Cowboys

The Patriots, who lost left tackle Nate Solder to the Giants last week, have a couple of his possible replacements, Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle, reportedly making free-agent visits to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Fleming visit was reported Sunday. On Monday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Waddle will be joining his former Patriots teammate in Dallas.

Replacing Solder is obviously a key part of the Patriots offseason and retaining Waddle or Fleming could figure into those plans. Waddle, who turns 27 in July, was signed from the Detroit Lions in 2016 and appeared in 12 games last year, starting four. Fleming, a fourth-round Pats pick from Stamford in 2014, turns 26 in September and also played in 12 games last season, starting six.


What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively