Rex Ryan has been talking a good game from the moment he set foot in Buffalo last January. On Sunday afternoon at the Ralph, someone finally talked back.
The Patriots don't do much talking. They have the natural swagger that comes from winning four Super Bowls and dominating the AFC East for a generation.
The defending champions reminded the Bills in the season's first division clash, dominating for much of the game in a 40-32 victory.
Oh, the Pats also have Tom Brady, the best quarterback ever to play. Brady, recently liberated from his four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate, was at his surgical best against an outmatched Buffalo defense, completing 38 of 59 passes for 466 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The 466 yards were the most ever allowed by the Bills in a game. He's now 24-3 as a starter against Buffalo and 10-1 in his last 11 starts at the Ralph. Many Bills fans and players had said they wanted Brady to play, so they could go against New England's best. They might have been re-evaluating by 4 p.m.
The Pats saved their swagger for the field. They played with their typical unrelenting arrogance, refusing to run the ball and the clock with a big lead in the fourth quarter. It allowed the Bills to creep within five points with four minutes left.
But Brady kept throwing and marched New England to a field goal that lifted the lead to eight. So the Bills had one last chance to tie, but Tyrod Taylor's pass was deflected and picked off, sealing the victory for the Pats.
Ryan said Wednesday that he didn't think keeping a low profile helped a team on the field. But his team suffered from too much edge against its historic tormentor. The Bills played a reckless, undisciplined game and were whistled for 13 penalties for 118 yards. They led the NFL in penalty yards in Week 1.
They were outclassed in every phase of the game. Once again, the defense faced a big challenge and came up small. Tyrod Taylor and the offense were thoroughly pedestrian. The offensive line had a rough afternoon. The special teams had six penalties in the first quarter, five of which were accepted.
Not surprisingly, the greatest mismatch was at quarterback. Brady, who is now 24-3 against the Bills, carved up the opposition with a young offensive line and a marginal running game -- same as he did in last year's playoffs.
All the talk in the world doesn't matter if you're soundly outclassed at the game's most important position. Taylor was often befuddled and fidgety in the pocket. He was 23-30 for 242 yards, three TDs and three interceptions. But he had trouble finding open receivers when the Bills were falling behind early.
The crowd was alive early when the Bills marched to a 7-0 lead on the opening possession. But they failed to break the Guinness Book record for decibels and became significantly less raucous when the Pats took control of the game.
"It's a great feeling when you shut everyone up by the fourth quarter and half of the stadium is cleared out," Brady said earlier in the week.
Some fans did clear out when the Bills rallied in the fourth quarter. The crowd got very loud again, trying to will their team to an improbable comeback win. A few even found their way back into the stadium for the finish.
But the Pats had too much Brady, and the Bills too little time. So they're 1-1 after two weeks. Now it's on to Miami, where they need to bounce back or start year 0-2 in the AFC East.