Best and worst: Patriots 40, Bills 32
WORST way to quiet Bills fans
There were very high expectations for Bills fans and their voices coming into this game, so much so that the Guinness World Record people were on hand to measure the loudness in Ralph Wilson Stadium. Well, it undoubtedly got pretty loud when the Bills took their opening drive 80 yards for a touchdown and 7-0 lead over the Pats. Fifty-six of those yards came on the ground between LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor before Karlos Williams ran it in from two yards out.
BEST example of the noise level
Rarely do the Patriots ever waste timeouts, but they did so on their third play of the game faced with a third-and-8. Tom Brady completed two one-yard passes to Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman before he started giving out signals and barking orders at the line on third down. But nobody could hear him. Brady had to call a timeout, and the next play was an incomplete pass.
BEST deja vu
When Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for the team's second touchdown of the game, my good friend Phil Perry was quick to point out that it was the same route Edelman ran in the Super Bowl last year, albeit on the opposite side of the field. Same result. Edelman wound out and blasted a Gronk spike into the ground. I give it an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Malcolm Butler had the best interception of the day -- and at the beginning of the second quarter, to boot. It was a pass intended for Charles Clay but deflected off his hands and headed for the ground. Butler, about 10 yards behind the intended target, dove at the ball and caught it before it hit the ground. It was actually pretty amazing.
BEST Sunday tradition
Ah, another fall Sunday in the books. It actually felt like fall in New England. It was sunny but there was a nice breeze outside. Long sleeve weather for sure. Maybe a sweatshirt? Maybe you cracked open a pumpkin beer. Then you took a seat on the couch and watched Tom Brady throw a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski. Because it's fall in New England, and that's what happens here. It's as automatic as the leaves changing color.
WORST deja vu
Dion Lewis had another strong game for the Patriots, and is getting the bulk of the snaps despite the fact LeGarrette Blount is back with the team. Lewis even found the end zone late in the first quarter to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead. But -- and there's always a but -- he once again put the ball on the ground in the second quarter, and this time the opposing team recovered it. The Pats were right around midfield when Brady hit Lewis for a six-yard pass. But the running back coughed it up, and it was recovered and returned 29 yards. But the Bills' Aaron Williams' unnecessary roughness penalty pushed it back. More on him right now . . .
Much had been made about the Bills' "12th man" in the stands. But the Patriots had a 12th man of their own in Buffalo: Aaron Williams. He's the same guy who said earlier this week that it's personal against the Patriots and he hates New England. Oh-kay. So what did Williams do? A Personal foul on Buffalo's punt helped the Pats get in great field position, where they'd score a touchdown three plays later. Then on the extra-point attempt, Williams was flagged for taunting, which allowed Stephen Gostkowski a chip shot kickoff into the back of the end zone. Williams was then seen flipping out on the sidelines as teammates and coaches tried to calm him down. This guy needs to get a grip.
WORST way to keep the refs out of it
Lots of penalties in this game, and not just on Aaron Williams. The Bills shot themselves in the foot a number of times and at halftime had 8 penalties for 74 yards. The Patriots had 6 penalties, but for 79 yards thanks to a 39-yard pass interference call on Bradley Fletcher. (Is it too late to make Bradley Fletcher change his number from 24? From Darrelle Revis to this guy . . . )
BEST reminder that Scott Chandler isn't Rob Gronkowski
Through two games it's clear Scott Chandler is going to be a big part of the Patriots' end-zone plans. Whether he lines up next to Gronk or across from him, he's a huge target. On the Patriots first drive of the third quarter, they had a second-and-goal from the 3-yard line. Brady targeted Chandler on 2nd down and 3rd down. On third down, Chandler made the catch in the end zone but the defender Aaron Williams knocked the ball from his hands. Scotty - you gotta hold onto that one. You're much bigger and stronger, and that guy was up in your face earlier in the game. Make him pay for it. Bottom line: Gronk holds onto that ball and spikes it into next year.
BEST Air Jordan impression
Julian Edelman catches the ball at about the 17-yard line, turns the corner, races for the pylon and DUNKS it home for six points. Just an absolute beastly effort by Edelman to make it to the end zone and beat the defender, Aaron Williams, who was chasing him down. Edelman really had to stretch out fully on that one, and slammed the ground hard. It was his second touchdown of the game.
WORST sight to see
Our friend Aaron Williams from earlier in the game was injured badly on Edelman's touchdown. He appeared to have injured his back on the play and laid on the ground for quite some time as trainers and doctors tended to him. They were very careful with him and put him in a stretcher before he was taken off the field in an ambulance. Scary scene and we can only hope for the best.
When you're team is up by, like, 30 points and all of a sudden starts getting cute with the football and lets the other team back in the game. What was going on on that fourth-and-1 by the Pats midway through the fourth quarter? If you're gonna go for it, a dink and dunk, a QB sneak, a run up the gut -- something -- instead of going for the jugular on fourth down deep down the middle. Didn't like that play call and the Pats paid for it. Buffalo took over on its 41 and eventually scored a touchdown to make it 37-25 Patriots. And it got closer.
BEST how-did-he-catch-that moment
Danny Amendola! What a freakin' catch by the Pats wideout to prolong the Patriots' last drive of the game. If Amendola doesn't catch it, the clock stops and who knows what happens. But he somehow went completely vertical and hauled it in. Not a bad time to make your first catch of the game. Maybe throw it his way more often?
BEST way to shut everybody up
It was a very up-and-down game in Buffalo. The fans had reasons to be very loud. And then reasons to be very quiet. The fourth quarter was when they got loud again, and scoring three straight touchdowns will allow that. But the Pats did what they needed to do to pull out the win. They dropped 40 points, Brady threw for a whopping 466 yards, Edelman caught 11 balls and two touchdowns, Gronkowski caught seven for 113 yards and a touchdown. The defense had three interceptions. See ya in New England, Rex.