Week 7 Game Recap: New England Patriots 28, Buffalo Bills 6
What you need to know
RB Corey Dillon scored twice early in the game, but still gave way to rookie RB Laurence Maroney on several series. Dillon held the advantage in this game in touches, 14 to Maroney’s nine. Dillon ran with power on both his touchdown runs and broke several tackles, but it’s obvious that he lacks the speed and explosiveness that the younger running back has.
QB Tom Brady was sharp and efficient executing the short passing game and also popping a couple of longer throws too. However, he missed on two other touchdown opportunities early in the game with overthrows.
WR Reche Caldwell was the flavor of the week from the New England receiving corps leading the team with nine passing targets. However, rookie Chad Jackson and Doug Gabriel made the big plays downfield and got into the end zone for touchdowns. TE Ben Watson saw an extra dose of targets this week due to absence of Dan Graham.
QB J.P. Losman threw the ball with good velocity and accuracy, but three turnovers killed his chances of posting solid fantasy numbers and any shot the Bills had of pulling off an upset. He held the ball too carelessly in the pocket when getting sacked and while running in the open field when he was avoiding a referee. Both plays resulted in a lost fumble.
RB Willis McGahee ran with power and speed. Buffalo was committed to getting him the ball, but the score and game situation limited his touches in the second half. If head coach Dick Jauron had his way he would like to win with McGahee getting 30+ touches per game.
WR Lee Evans is still Losman’s favorite target, but the pair couldn’t connect. Evans led all Bills’ receivers with eight targets. One of his two receptions was nullified by penalty and Evans wasn’t able to pull in a deep ball into the end zone.
What you ought to know
|QB Tom Brady, Pass: 18 - 27 - 195 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0|
Brady marched the Patriots down the field on their opening possession. He executed the short passing game with his normal precision. However, he overthrew two balls missing potential touchdown passes and missed a third on the goal line during the next possession. He recovered halfway through the third quarter hitting WR Chad Jackson on a deep ball for a 35 yard touchdown. Jackson got behind the defense and was alone on the play. At the start of the fourth quarter Brady gave a great fake to RB Kevin Faulk in the right flat. It set up a deep ball to WR Doug Gabriel down the right sideline. Shortly after that play Brady hit Gabriel in the center of the end zone for another touchdown pass. It was a very questionable choice as Brady was scrambling to his right and throwing back to his left. He threaded the pass between three defenders as Gabriel did a great job of working back to the ball.
Dillon started the first New England possession. He sat one series during the drive being replaced by RB Laurence Maroney. After returning to the huddle he pin-balled his way into the end zone for a touchdown from nine yards out. He scored his second touchdown around left end breaking a tackle on their next possession. Dillon looked powerful and did a good job of keeping his balance on both plays, but he noticeably lacked the explosive speed consistently shown by Maroney. Instead of trying to grind out the clock with the running game the Patriots opted to keep a balanced offense throwing the ball just as much as they ran it. This limited Dillon’s expected touches in the second half.
Maroney saw a series during the first New England possession catching one short pass, but starting RB Corey Dillon quickly returned to the lineup after a quick breather. Maroney returned the ensuing kickoff up the right sideline and back to the middle for a 74 yard play. After Dillon scored the two touchdowns early in the game the Patriots continued to play the hot hand.
|RB Kevin Faulk, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)|
Faulk entered on third and long plays from the beginning of the game. His first touch was an 11 yard reception on third and 15 during the second quarter. He also entered the game when the Patriots went into their two minute offense just before halftime.
Caldwell was featured on the first New England possession seeing five of nine passes from QB Tom Brady. Two quick short passes set up a double move, but he was unable to connect with Brady on a longer throw. Later in the drive he was open on a deep slant into the end zone. He got a hand on the pass, but it was slightly overthrown. Caldwell pulled in two other short passes at the line of scrimmage before being targeted deep on a third down play. He made a nice adjustment coming back to the ball and nearly made a leaping catch, but the ball came loose as he went to the ground.
Gabriel was only targeted once through the first three quarters, but saw more action late in the game. He pulled in a pass on a go route down the right seam after QB Tom Brady gave a fake to his running back in the flat. Shortly after that Gabriel was crossing the back of the end zone when Brady lobbed a pass his direction back across his body. Gabriel made a nice adjustment coming back to the ball for the score in the middle of the end zone.
Brown caught both of his targets in the game. His first was an eight yard reception inside the ten yard line on third and seven. His other reception was in the fourth quarter for twelve yards and another first down. Brown also returned a single punt.
|WR Chad Jackson, Rush: 1 - 14 - 0, Rec: 1 - 35 - 1 (2 targets)|
Jackson’s first touch was an end around that went for 14 yards on the opening New England possession. He wasn’t targeted in the passing game until midway through the fourth quarter. QB Tom Brady found him deep behind the Buffalo secondary alone for a 35 yard touchdown pass. On their next possession he was targeted on a short cross underneath, but dropped the ball that hit him in the chest.
The Patriots ran a set play on a tight end screen for Watson on their first series. Watson caught the pass and used his blocking well to get up field for a 14 yard gain. He was targeted crossing the back of the end zone on the same drive. He didn’t catch the pass, but he ran the route too deep and would have been out of bounds regardless. He was targeted on the goal line again on their second possession, but QB Tom Brady was hurried in the pocket and threw a poor pass. Watson was Brady’s favorite target in the second half with four targets.
Thomas didn’t see the field until very late in the game. His lone target was in the fourth quarter. The Patriots opted to use more five wide receivers sets instead off two tight end looks Sunday.
Graham didn’t play due to his ankle injury.
There was nothing extraordinary to report from the New England kicking game today.
The New England front seven allowed solid yardage to RB Willis McGahee on first down several times, but toughened up on second and third downs. When the game turned into a three score affair Buffalo had to rely on the pass letting the Patriots off the hook. Without the three turnovers it would have been reasonable to expect Buffalo to successfully run the ball on the Patriots.
CB Asante Samuel cut off a deep out intended for WR Lee Evans in the middle of the second quarter ending a Buffalo scoring threat. DT Richard Seymour and LB Mike Vrabel recorded first half sacks that also killed drives. The secondary did a good job of shutting down WR Lee Evans on deep routes, but allowed Josh Reed and Peerless Price to catch multiple balls on shorter underneath routes.
|QB J.P. Losman, Pass: 16 - 25 - 193 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0|
Losman threw the ball well at the start of the game. The Bills had a three and out on their second possession, but moved the ball well otherwise. He killed a drive at the beginning of the second quarter when he was pressured from his right and fumbled. Losman was holding the ball too low making it an easy target for the defender to knock it away. He responded well and kept the Bills moving driving down the field on their next possession, but made a terrible choice on a deep out intended for WR Lee Evans. CB Asante Samuel was easily able to step in front of the pass for the interception. He continued to show off a strong arm and accuracy through the third quarter. At the beginning of the fourth quarter he hit WR Lee Evans on a deep ball down the left sideline in stride, but Evans had the ball go through his arms as he couldn’t make the play. But the bottom line is production and wins and there are rumblings of a possible QB change in Buffalo.
McGahee got six touches on the first eight Buffalo plays. After two pre-snap penalties that should have killed their opening drive McGahee took a shovel pass from QB J.P. Losman and exploded off the right side for a 56 yard gain. He continues to show the combination of power and speed that he flashed in his pre-injury days at the University of Miami. McGahee’s touches were limited in the second half after the Bills fell behind by three scores.
Thomas spelled starting RB Willis McGahee late in the second quarter and had a single carry.
|WR Josh Reed, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 4 - 32 - 0 (4 targets)|
Reed’s first touch came on a direct snap to him on the backfield on the first Buffalo possession. The trick play went for only a yard. Reed caught all four of his targets taking a few big hits, but still holding on.
Price mostly worked underneath, short slants, and out routes. However, he made a nice catch on a long slant late in the game for 25 yards.
Evans pulled in a third down 13 yard reception on the Bills’ opening drive for a first down, but the play was nullified by a pre-snap penalty. He wasn’t targeted again until just before halftime. QB J.P. Losman tried to hit Evans on a deep out, but he was well covered by CB Asante Samuel making it an easy interception for New England. Evans and Losman couldn’t hit stride together. On a day where Losman was throwing the ball accurately and on time, Evans as a target accounted for six of Losman’s first eight incomplete passes (through 23 attempts). Evans was open deep down the left sideline and had a touchdown in his arms, but couldn’t hold on to finish the play.
Parrish was on the active list for the game but was not a factor as he was limited by his hamstring injury.
Royal caught a short six yard out to convert a third down at the start of the second quarter. He took a shot to the helmet and appeared woozy on the sidelines after the play. However, he returned and was a reliable target for QB J.P. Losman. Royal caught a deep seam route down the center of the field. Losman put the ball up high and Royal did a great job of reaching back behind his motion to pull in the pass. Royal did a nice of job of concentrating on the ball even though he was exposing his ribs to the safety for a potential big hit.
There was nothing extraordinary to report from the Buffalo kicking game today.
The Bills’ front seven allowed RB Corey Dillon to power up the middle and around the right side for two early touchdowns. However, they were able to generate three consecutive three and out series during the second quarter giving the Bills’ offense a chance to get back in the game.
The Bills’ pass rush was able to put several big hits on QB Tom Brady at the start of the game. They came quick off the corner and recorded three sacks in the first half. New England adjusted through the game and ran the ball somewhat more successfully to keep Buffalo’s pass rush at bay. The secondary allowed receivers to get behind them for big plays twice