Report card: Bills lose 23-3 to the Patriots
By: Nick Wojton
ORCHARD PARK – The Buffalo Bills are squarely “in the hunt” following a 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at New Era Field.
The Bills are 6-6 and in the middle of the pack in the conference while their AFC East rival further cemented their claim on the division, going to 10-2 overall on the year. Buffalo held the Pats early, but in the second half, things got out of hand.
With that, here’s how the Bills graded out in Week 13:
Once again, when the section header finishes with the letter ‘s’ it’s not good. Although, a different reason for once. Tyrod Taylor left with a knee injury but was bad. Only 9-for-18, for 65 yards and an interception. He also lost 25 yards on three sacks due to poor scrambles. Nate Peterman replaced him and wasn’t too good either, going 6-for-15 for 50 yards. But heck, Joe Webb even tossed a pass. It went incomplete, but it’s been awhile and it was nearly completed.
Running backs: B+
Strong game on the ground for the Bills. LeSean McCoy averaged 6.2 yards-per-carry (15-93) while backup Travaris Cadet once again was good, averaging 5.5 yards-per-carry. Would like to see a little more production from McCoy in the passing game (2-9) but Cadet was decent there (3-19).
Tight ends/ wide receivers: D+
While Taylor had his struggles and continues to hold onto the ball too long, there are reasons for that. Not many targets down field get open. Is it possible for Taylor to throw them open? Yes. But some more separation would be nice. Zay Jones’ whopping 22 yards (2 catches) led the Bills. That’s bad.
Offensive line: B
Allowing nine QB hits isn’t great, and the Patriots had nine in total, but McCoy had a good amount of holes to run through on the ground against a weak New England defensive line, at least compared to years prior.
Defensive line: C
Early in the game, it was a good showing. Late in the game, it was a bad showing. Kyle Williams had a big sack on third down while Shaq Lawson helped stall a first half drive with another. Bad against the run once again though. A total of 191 rushing yards allowed and two rushing touchdowns.
The run game was allowed a bunch of room on the second level as well and the pass rush wasn’t noticeable from the linebackers. Matt Milano had a big tackle early on Dion Lewis which saved a possible score. But Rob Gronkowski had a crazy-good second half with nine grabs and 147 yards.
Some of that Gronk-duty lands on the secondary. Against a guy so talented, the secondary also needs to help. They didn’t Tre’Davious White took the cheap shot from Gronk but also a beating in the game. He saves the secondary from getting a worse grade with his interception. Jordan Poyer took a stiff arm for the ages from Lewis on one running play, too.