Buffalo Bills Lose To New England Patriots 23-21: Initial Reactions
I didn’t sleep bad at all last night. If you had read my post yesterday you already know that this season is one I expect there to be ups and downs. Yesterday, for the most part was an up. While most Patriots fans are clamoring that they played their worst and still won, I’d like to tell them to settle in, because it’s going to be a long season. I don’t see that team making a deep run mainly because they’re just not that good. Brady is an all time great but outside of that you’ve got little to nothing to go on. But this isn’t about the Pats, it’s about the Bills.
EJ Manuel. My buddy turned to me right after EJ floated a ball over the top of the Pats defense and into Stevie Johnson‘s arms and asked me how it felt to have a real quarterback. It’s only one game, but he’s right. Ryan Fitzpatrick never made me feel good about the game. He was always one hurried screen pass or forced slant away from letting the other team back into a game (if we were even winning to begin with.) EJ, while not perfect, seemed to be comfortable back there during the entire game. If he can play like that week in and week out, we’ve got something to build on.
The Defense. I admit that I was skeptical and even though they couldn’t get it done at the end of the game, the defense looked better than advertised. They pressured Brady, forced turnovers and made it fun to watch a team that didn’t give up 15 yard runs every play. Even better, they’re without their two best secondary players who will hopefully join the team at some point this season.
Coaching (minus the 4th quarter.) Our players looked prepared. They looked like they cared and for most of the game they looked like winners. This is a young team for the most part and I thought they came ready to play for 60 minutes.
Coaching (penalties & 4th quarter.) If I’m going to say they were ready to play, I also have to say that they were a bit too ready at times. The penalties really hurt them all game. Double digit penalties are not going to win you a lot of games and this was no different. In the 4th quarter, with the lead, Doug Marrone stayed with the hurry up instead of running clock. Rookie mistake, brah. You must do all you can to leave Tom Brady as little time as possible and Marrone did the exact opposite. With 4 minutes remaining he went run, hurry up, pass, hurry up, run (Patriots timeout I believe,) punt. Took all of 30 seconds or so off the clock. All of this took place on our side of the field with the lead. Just can’t do that in the NFL.
Turnovers. Can’t put the ball on the ground at all. Especially on the opening drive of the season. Even worse, turning the ball over in your half is just the worst.
Losing 23-21 to a team many think will make it to the Super Bowl isn’t a bad start to the season. Patriots fans pointed fingers at how poor their team played at times but never gave credit to the Bills for influencing that. (This isn’t a big surprise. Patriots fans always think their team just screwed up and that it had nothing to do with the other team.) The Bills made the Patriots uncomfortable and if they can continue that trend, they’ll win a bunch of games.