Of course, it was Robert A. Heinlein who wrote: “If a grasshopper tries to fight a lawnmower, one may admire his courage but not his judgement.”
Heinlein, a science fiction writer who died in 1988, knows nothing of the current state of the Buffalo Bills or their fans’ proclivity for lobbing rubber penises onto the field during NFL games.
But it probably wouldn’t have taken him long to ID the Bills offense as the grasshopper on Monday night.
Even though the Bills defense allowed them to hang around into the third quarter on the scoreboard, there was no way to conjure a scenario in which the Derek Anderson-led offense was going to bumble its way into the end zone a couple of times against the Patriots.
WHAT WE SAID BEFORE THE GAME
They are the worst offense in the NFL right now and their offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll showed his appreciation for that reality right out of the gates, running out of Wildcat formations and attempting a flea flicker on the Bills first drive of the game.
It oozed desperation but, you know what? Who cares? Daboll had a grasp on reality that told him his team scoring a total of 31 points in its previous four games wasn’t some cruel coincidence. The Bills really don’t have much they can do on offense. Certainly not with Anderson running things.
How much does that diminish the performance of the Patriots defense in their 25-6 win? Not a bit.
Defensively, the Patriots did exactly what it was supposed to do. Choke the Bills offense out. They did. Buffalo went 4-for-14 on third down and managed 46 yards on the ground on 19 carries. And 17 of those yards came on the Bills’ first drive.
Five drives ended with punts, one ended with a strip-sack by Kyle Van Noy and the other ended with a pick-six interception return by Devin McCourty.
OTHER HARD TRUTHS
There’s no threat of the Patriots mistaking what they did to the Bills as being a precursor to how things will go with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers this Sunday. But it was a satisfying performance for a group that allowed 1,197 yards and 92 points over the previous 10 quarters.
The best defensive player on Monday night was Trey Flowers who had six tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup. Behind him, it was Van Noy who had two sacks and made eight tackles.
The Patriots weren’t challenged the way they were when Kansas City came to Foxboro, but – washed as Anderson may be – he was a better thrower than Mitch Trubisky was last week.
None of the above (and that includes Patrick Mahomes) present anything close to what the Patriots will see on Sunday night. Rodgers can run if he wants (and he’ll do it better than Trubisky did). He can throw it as hard and accurately as Mahomes does. And he’s got far better guys to throw to than Anderson did on Monday night.
Buffalo is a bad offensive team. The 25-6 final may look better (somehow) than the 37-5 loss last week to the Colts, but it was still an exercise in futility for them on offense.
This was a good weigh station for the Patriots, a defensive checkup, a chance for them to get some stuff right without the threat of immediate scores when they got it wrong.
They needed to subdue an offense and leave it in pieces. The Patriots were the lawnmower. The Biils were the grasshopper.
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