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Secondary is left defenseless Pats' receiving corps has its way with Bills

The Buffalo Bills' secondary has lived through this nightmare before, but it wasn't as bad as the horror they experienced Sunday night.

The Bills' defensive backfield was overmatched by the New England Patriots' explosive receiving corps.

No matter which receiver Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wanted to throw to he always found an open target as Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte' Stallworth, among others, beat the Bills short, deep and everywhere in between during a 56-10 laugher at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Moss, who caught two touchdowns in the Patriots' 35-7 win over the Bills earlier this season, inflicted the most damage again Sunday night with four scoring catches -- in the first half. He finished the night with 10 catches for 128 yards.

Moss didn't discriminate, either, beating all four of the Bills' starting defensive backs -- free safety George Wilson, cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Terrence McGee and strong safety Donte Whitner -- for each of his touchdowns.

Yes, the Bills got "Mossed" again.

"It's like Moss took turns going after all of us," Whitner said. "He's a great receiver, but they have a lot of great receivers over there. You can't stop them all, but we couldn't stop anyone tonight."

Welker (seven catches for 78 yards) and Stallworth (five for 56) also singed Buffalo's secondary, often turning short catches into large gains. Oh yeah, tight end Benjamin Watson got open in the back of the end zone for a 3-yard TD on fourth-and-1 that pushed the Patriots' lead to 35-7.

"The Patriots had a heck of a day," Greer said. "They made plays and there were a lot of times when we didn't make the play. We didn't have the correct coverage back there. A lot of times there were some breakdowns in coverages. Playing a team like New England, they capitalized off those mistakes."

The Bills' secondary had been a key to the team's now-defunct four-game winning streak and its tight coverage shut down some pretty good receivers.

The Bills hadn't faced an offense as complete as the Patriots', who can spread out a defense vertically and horizontally. Any flaw on defense, New England is sure to find it and exploit it.

"They definitely know the weakness of every defense that they are going to face," Wilson said. "When you have a team that plays with the fundamentals and principles of the game and stick to them, it's hard to beat them. They just kept coming at us."

Buffalo plays a lot of Cover 2 with its safeties back deep. But that coverage sometimes leaves the middle of the field open. Brady simply had his receivers run shallow routes over the middle or threw quickly near the sidelines.

No matter how good a secondary is, it needs help from the pass rush. Rarely did the Bills' multiple schemes and blitzes bother Brady, who had plenty of time to go through his reads and wait for his receivers to run past whoever was covering them.

"I said from the beginning of the week that we needed to put pressure on Tom Brady and get him off his game," Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay said. "We weren't able to do that tonight. We put our cover guys in some bad positions to cover for a while, and obviously that's tough when you've got receiving weapons like they have on the outside."

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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