Best and worst: Patriots 20, Bills 13
BEST sign for Jerod Mayo
Jerod Mayo has had more than a few invisible games for the Patriots this season. He's been relatively forgotten in a lot of games. But with Jamie Collins dealing with an illness for the third straight week, the linebackers are in need of some extra help, and the reliable Mayo looks like his old self on the defense's first drive, getting into the backfield to tackle LeSean McCoy for a four-yard loss. Go get 'em Jerod!
WORST offensive line start
Yeesh. Penalties on top of penalties for this offensive line to begin things. Certainly not making it any easier for Tom Brady, who is trying to drive down the field without Julian Edelman at his disposal. First it was center David Andrews called for a false start that backed the Patriots up five yards. Later, it was Marcus Cannon who was called for two penalties in a row. The first was a false start to turn a 3rd-and-2 into a 3rd-and-7, and the second was illegal formation as he wasn't lined up on the line of scrimmage. The Bills commit a penalty on the same play, so it doesn't cost the Patriots any yards. But still, clean it up fellas.
WORST place to be
On the ground. As in Tom Brady has spent way too much time on the ground. The Bills only got to Brady for one sack in the first half, but that doesn't tell even close to the whole story. Brady was hit a good four or five times, one of which was borderline low but not quite at the knee. He was even hit after a throwing an interception (it was wiped out) when he wasn't
Another game, another injury to a member of the offense. This time it's Aaron Dobson, who needs help walking off the field with an ankle injury. No, Dobson isn't nearly as important as Dion Lewis or Julian Edelman, but at this point he has become more important because the options are dwindling. UPDATE: Dobson is out for the game.
BEST Dion Lewis impression
Jimmy White with the best play of his young career right here. Brady hits White with a little pass in the flat, and White gives a big stiff arm to Bills safety Corey Graham just before the 15-yard line and then takes it in for the touchdown. That puts the Patriots up 10-3 just before halftime, and of course they're going to get the ball to begin the third quarter.
WORST Rex Ryan
Classssssic Rex Ryan on the sidelines after that Patriots touchdown. Huffs and puffs up the sidelines and rips off his headset. Always has to make a scene. Hey Rex, your player missed a tackle. It happens. It's football, man. No wonder you guys lead the league in penalties - there's just not a lot of discipline coming from the top. Cooler heads prevail, Rex. That probably explains a lot.
What. Was. That? An inadvertent whistle? An inadvertent whistle?! Oh, you mean like the one ordered by ROGER GOODELL?! We're onto you, NFL. We know you need to start blowing whistles in the middle of a damn game in order to stop the Patriots. But seriously, weird, weird play there. Tom Brady ran towards sidelines and fired to Danny Amendola, but the sideline judge blew a whistle (could have panicked as Rex Ryan got in front of him during the play). Pats fans are ticked off because they think Amendola was going to score a touchdown on the play. I actually don't. The defender clearly slowed up upon hearing the whistle, making it appear that Amendola was a lot more open than he would have been. Yes, he would have made the catch. But touchdown? I don't know. Besides, the refs awarded Amendola the catch and then tacked on a 15-yard penalty on top of that due to Ryan getting in the way. I think that's fair. Still, the Pats couldn't capitalize.
WORST look for Pats
Watching the opponent find the end zone and tie things up. That's exactly what the Bills did in the third quarter as New England couldn't build their lead. LeSean McCoy ripped off a 27-yard run and dove into the pylon for the score. The Bills have life.
BEST example of Bills being Bills
Tom Brady hits Danny Amendola for a big 41-yard grab on 3rd-and-7 that brings the ball to the six-yard line. The Bills want to make substitutions, but the Patriots didn't make any. So by rule, the Pats don't have to wait for the Bills to make them. So while the Bills are trying to get their final guys on the field, the Patriots go ahead and snap the ball and score on a James White rush, his second TD of the game. Flag on the play. It's offsides on the Bills . . . because one dude was legit 15 yards behind the play. Laughable moment, and of course it comes at the expense of the Bills.
WORST sight to see Part II
Danny Amendola, the guy expected to take most of Julian Edelman's targets, left the game with a knee injury. Amendola was seen running on the sidelines, so it doesn't appear to be a super serious injury - but knee injuries are always risky. We'll hope for the best here, because the Pats can't afford to lose Amendola, too. They really can't.
WORST special teams
It wasn't a Hail Mary, but it basically worked like one. Ryan Allen's punt from the Pats 36-yard line landed in the hands of Leodis McKelvin at the Bills 36-yard line. But McKelvin coughed up the ball on the return and it landed in the hands of Patriots' Jonathan Freeny. He ran for about five yards before HE fumbled it. But the ball skipped out of bounds. So, who's ball is it? New England's ball. Because Freeny had control of it before he fumbled, the ball remains in New England's possession at the spot of the fumble. Unfortunately the Pats couldn't turn it into seven points, but they did get a field goal out of it, making it 20-10. Weird game, folks.