The answer to the frequently-asked question, “Why did the Patriots ever get involved with Antonio Brown to begin with?” was delivered in the first half when Tom Brady went 5 for 16 for 38 yards to his wideout collection of Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett.
By the end of the game, he was 9 for 23 for 86 yards — a 32.2 QB rating.
The position — as Brady pointed out earlier this week — is just not deep enough.
"Our offense has a lot of work to do . . . We're gonna need to get some healthy bodies out there," Tom Brady told WEEI last Monday. "We're gonna need some experienced players. “Football is just too hard to put a bunch of new players in there and think we're going to be spectacular."
Brady was 1 for 6 in the first half for 5 yards throwing to Dorsett. He was 1 for 4 to Gordon and the 13-yard completion was a wide receiver screen. Brady completed three second-quarter passes to Edelman for 20 yards. Brady also had a sloppy intentional grounding call against him with a flip to Edelman that was too far to be considered anything but a throwaway from the pocket.
Most significant was Brady’s first interception of the season on third-and-goal from the 2 when he couldn’t find anyone and threw a head-scratching pick to Micah Hyde that took points off the board for New England.
The last 10 Patriots possessions against the Jets included seven punts, an interception, a field goal and a touchdown. Their first eight possessions against Buffalo included six punts, an interception and a touchdown.
Their biggest play of the day to a wideout was a much-needed 31-yard completion to Josh Gordon who ran a cross with tight end Matt LaCosse and picked up a first down that led to a field goal.
Brady was 18 for 39 for 150 and a pick. He’ll get some help back next week when tight end Benjamin Watson returns and N’Keal Harry could still potentially help when he returns from IR but — against better defenses and strong secondaries — the Patriots are going to have a hard go of it.
KICKING AND SCREAMING
Nobody can be blamed if they decide to cover their eyes when Stephen Gostkowski trots onto the field. He missed his fourth PAT of the season on Sunday, this one coming following the Patriots first touchdown. Going into Week 4, the only other kicker who’d missed more than two PATs was Adam Vinatieri, who was 5 for 8.
Gostkowski made his other PAT following the blocked punt touchdown in the first quarter. He also added a 23-yarder in the third. He’s struggling.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Kyle Van Noy had an outstanding game with eight tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles. His pressure of Matt Barkley on the Bills’ final drive led to the pick by Jamie Collins to seal it.
DOWN & OUT
It’s absolutely mind-numbing to me how so many people can watch the NFL for so long, fancy themselves EDUCATED OBSERVERS — and still not know the rules.
Helmet-to-helmet contact between a runner and a defensive player is not illegal.
A defenseless player is one who cannot protect himself. For example, a receiver who is landing or still in the air after receiving a pass or a quarterback at the conclusion of a throw. He has protection from being hit in the head or neck.
A player whose forward progress is stopped and is wrapped up also has protections from being hit. This rule came in thanks to the hit by Danny Trevathan.
Leading with the crown of your helmet to initiate contact — whether you’re a defender or ballcarrier — is illegal.
Which brings us to Jonathan Jones’ hit on Josh Allen. Allen was a runner. Allen was not defenseless. Allen was still gaining yardage and struggling for the line to gain. Allen lowered his head. Jones did not initiate with the crown of his helmet and — while there was a helmet-to-helmet contact — it was not with the crown.
Had Jones not hit Allen, he gets the first down. The hit prevented that until a flag flew. I can see why it did. The visual of Allen violently recoiling from the hit — even though he outweighs Jones by 55 pounds and Jones had no other option but to coil up and deliver a shoulder — was arresting. But the idea it was a dirty hit or even one that was inarguably a penalty is absurd.
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS
The Patriots had five sacks and four picks. They also held the Bills to 2 for 13 third-down conversions. Totals in all three categories now? Opposing offenses are 7 for 52 on third down (13.5 percent), the Patriots have 18 sacks (allowing four) and 10 picks
BILLS GONNA BILL
Credit to the Bills for giving the Patriots all they can handle but they’ll need to get a little more composure going forward and worry about what matters as the McDermott-Allen partnership moves forward. Buffalo pissed through its challenges and timeouts with the quickness.
Meanwhile, McDermott was seen in pregame chasing Patriots staffers, including Brian Belichick, out of an area along the sidelines. That drew Belichick’s ire and he returned fire. McDermott could also use a brush-up on the rules if he thinks A) the rub route Gordon and LaCosse ran was a “clear and obvious” foul worthy of challenging and (B) that Jones’ hit deserved an ejection which he alleged.
GETTING IT DONE EARLY
Brady’s best throw of the day was an early one. The wheel route throw to James White for 26 yards that set up the Patriots’ lone offensive touchdown.
On 12 possessions, the Patriots had nine punts and seven three-and-outs.
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