What it means: The Buffalo Bills showed fight late. Down 37-13, they cut the Patriots lead to 37-32 on Tyrod Taylor's 24-yard touchdown strike to Sammy Watkins with 4 minutes to go. But then, in true defending champions fashion, the Patriots responded with a seven-play, 72-yard field goal drive to make it an eight-point game. On his first play the ensuing drive, Taylor's high pass bounced off Watkins' hands and was picked off by Logan Ryan. Ball game.
Player of the Game: Brady. He was almost perfect. The team’s four-time Super Bowl champion put on an absolute clinic in picking apart Buffalo’s secondary all game long, finishing 38 of 59 for 466 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Rex Ryan might’ve befuddled Brady at times in the past. This day, Brady absolutely took it to his old nemesis. The 466 yards are the most ever against Buffalo passing. Not what Ryan had in mind.
Play of the Game: Danny Amendola had the catch of the weekend and maybe the catch of his life on New England's late drive to go up eight. Working against nickel cornerback Nickell Robey, Amendola stretched horizontal for a diving 29-yarder deep. Down to the Buffalo 17, the Patriots melted some more clock and hit the chip-shot field goal.
Stat of the Game: Two sacks for the Bills’ defense and eight for New England. Wasn’t Buffalo supposed to have the dangerous pass rush? Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes and Kyle Williams were supposed to anchor a pass rush that’d make quarterbacks shudder in fear before the snap. Millions of dollars were invested in the front seven for a game like this. Instead, Brady burnt Buffalo on quick drops and quick decisions all game. Hughes did have the sack-fumble that got Buffalo back into the game, but Taylor was the one taking cover in this game. Not Brady.
Flags everywhere: During the week, players discussed how playing with an edge, with a fire would benefit them. Ryan had them ready to run through a wall before the season opener against Indianapolis and they responded with a highlight reel of big hits. This Sunday, Buffalo too often crossed the line with 14 penalties for 140 yards. Many negated big plays, too. And many occurred on special teams where last week's "A" effort warranted an "F" against the Patriots.
Williams down: Adding insult to injury, safety Aaron Williams was taken away on an ambulance after Julian Edelman’s 22-yard touchdown reception gave the Patriots a 34-13 lead. Williams was immobilized as the team announced it as a neck injury. The Bills gathered as a team on the sideline for a prayer. This would be a colossal loss for the Bills — Williams has been the emotional leader of the defense. Bacarri Rambo replaced him. We'll pass along updates here on the blog as we get 'em.
Taylor inconsistent: Last week, he was efficient and, at times, electric. Against New England, Taylor did help the Bills fight back with touchdowns to Robert Woods and Watkins with another one rushing himself. But the three interceptions and eight sacks proved too insurmountable. Other times, Taylor didn't see open receivers downfield. Jittery in the pocket, he failed just as so many quarterbacks before him have against Tom Brady. Taylor finished 23 of 30 for 242 yards, three scores and the three picks with 43 yards rushing.
Coming up: The AFC East tests continue as Buffalo will now travel to Miami for its first road game of the season.