Tyrod Taylor's 281 passing yards Sunday were his second-most this year and the sixth most of his career.
He left too many plays on the field.
It was not a good enough overall performance for the Buffalo Bills' quarterback in the 37-16 loss to the New England Patriots.
Taylor took six sacks. The first four were his fault, either by running into pressure or holding the ball too long.
The Bills came up touchdown-less on each of their first three drives, and Taylor missed key opportunities or failed to avoid bad plays on each.
Taylor made good plays. Two deep passes to Deonte Thompson were pretty. He kept the first drive alive with his feet. He connected with Kelvin Benjamin, and a couple of those completions to the big wideout were anticipation throws. The disputed touchdown-turned-incompletion to Benjamin could not have been more pin-point.
Taylor has been hindered by the Bills' sub-par receiving corps the past two seasons. But the bar is high for a Bills QB going against Tom Brady. Taylor did not clear it.
Here are this week's position-by-position Bills grades, based on video review (on a scale of 1 to 5):
Quarterback (2.0): Key miscues for Taylor before the Pats took the lead for good in the third quarter: Misfired to Charles Clay at the goal line with Zay Jones open; missed LeSean McCoy in a tight window in the left flat near the goal line; didn't make a play on fourth and goal from the 2; missed deep down the sideline for Clay, who had a step on Patrick Chung; didn't throw it away on a 15-yard sack. The Pats blitzed 11 times. The Bills hit them for 39 and 35-yard gains but not enough overall. Taylor was 4 of 8 vs. the blitz for 89 yards with three sacks.
Running back (4.0): McCoy produced 147 yards from scrimmage on 23 touches. His 39-yard catch and run was a whoop-whoop-whoop highlight-reel play in which he left Elandon Roberts, Marquis Flowers and Devin McCourty grasping for air. The blown-up screen pass for Patrick DiMarco was a call Rick Dennison surely would like to have back.
Receivers (2.5): Over the previous six games, the Bills were just 3 of 19 on passes 20-or-more yards past the line of scrimmage. With the Pats playing a lot of man coverage and a single safety high, Taylor hit 2 of 5 deep throws for 79 yards. The Bills needed to hit at least two more deep balls outside the numbers to keep pace with the Pats' offense.
Offensive line (2.5): Despite the six sacks, tackles Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills held up well in pass protection. They each gave up a hurry. New England's edge rushing isn't good. The Pats played head-up on center Eric Wood a lot, and he had some tough reach blocks in the run game. Pats young defensive tackle Malcolm Brown is a stud. He had six tackles and a sack.
Defensive line (2.5): It's hard to sack Tom Brady but the Bills needed more pressure on him. Jerry Hughes had a sack but didn't get enough pocket push against left tackle Nate Solder. The Bills needed more push up the middle. Kyle Williams beat Solder on a twist for a sack. Williams also beat David Andrews for a run stuff. But DeAndre Coleman played 21 of 71 snaps but didn't squeeze the middle enough, including on one of the 12-yard gash runs. Ditto for Cedric Thornton (29 snaps). Adolphus Washington had mixed results. He had a third-down run stuff and was stout on the fourth-down play when Dion Lewis stretched the ball out for a first down. But Washington got out of position on a 16-yard gash run.
Linebackers (3.0): Hall-of-Fame general manager Bill Polian contends Rob Gronkowski should be the NFL most valuable player this season. Whether that's true or not, Gronkowski showed again versus the Bills why he is by far the greatest tight end in football.
Gronkowski's impact in the running game was huge. The Bills were forced to play nickel defense a lot when the Pats were in two-tight-end personnel groupings. New England rushed 17 times for 96 yards with "big personnel" against Buffalo's nickel. The Pats were seven for 22 yards with "bigs" vs. regular defense before garbage time. When the Pats ran behind Gronkowski directly at the point of attack, they gained 59 yards on nine carries (6.6 a carry). (Big personnel refers to two tight ends or two backs and two receivers.) Gronk "only" caught five passes for 67 yards and one TD.
The Pats ran four screens for 29 yards and one TD. The score came when Ramon Humber and Leonard Johnson were forced to switch sides due to pre-snap motion by Danny Amendola. Humber was late getting over to the defensive right side and was easily blocked up, aiding Dion Lewis' 12-yard score.
Defensive backs (4.0): The Bills' pre-snap coverage disguise, which Bill Belichick lauded during the week, bit Brady on Jordan Poyer's pick six. The Bills showed Cover 2 before Poyer broke down on the short slant pass for Kenny Britt. You can't blame Micah Hyde on the TD pass to Rob Gronkowski. No safety on the planet could have prevented it, and the Bills had to be in man coverage with the Pats in a five-wides set. Tre'Davious White was targeted only once for an incompletion, but it likely was his coverage bust on the deep pass that caused Hyde to get a pass-interference call. Hyde and Poyer bit hard on a play-action fake on the play. Overall, the Bills' secondary was good in preventing Brady from making big plays. Brady was 0 for 3 on passes 20-plus yards downfield.
Special teams (2.5): Stephen Hauschka missed from 50 yards on what was a dubious decision to kick. The ball was not flying to the "lighthouse" end of the field. Hauschka had trouble reaching from 50-plus yards in that direction in warmups.
Bills stars of the game: 1. LeSean McCoy. 2. Jordan Poyer. 3. Kelvin Benjamin.