Call me an apologist, but I find it hard to be harsh on the Buffalo Bills for their 41-25 loss to the New England Patriots.
Last week against Miami? Yes, that was a bad, underachieving loss.
This week? The Bills were playing with two hands tied behind their back with Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy and Marquise Goodwin all out with injuries. And Robert Woods, who we know is not a No. 2 receiver, was playing on guts with a sore foot.
Who thinks this cast could hang with Tom Brady & Co. one out of 10 times? Or one out of 20 times? It was not happening.
Fans may get on Tyrod Taylor for putting up pedestrian numbers, but what is a quarterback to do when he doesn’t have one receiver who can win vs. coverage on the outside? I thought Anthony Lynn’s game plan was pretty creative.
Bills fans should not be mad at Taylor Sunday.
However, there’s still reasons to be upset.
The Bills did too many things to beat themselves.
Too many penalties. They had 12, including seven penalties on defense that gave a little boost to some Patriots drives.
And the Bills were beaten on special teams, a fairly common occurrence when they play the Patriots.
You could make a good case the game turned – or at least turned into a rout – on two special teams plays at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second.
Dan Carpenter’s miss from 49 yards late in the half was big, not only for the loss of three points but because it set up the Pats with good field position so they could get an end-of-half field goal. It was a six-point play. Instead of down eight at the half, the Bills were down 14.
Then the Bills let Danny Amendola return the second-half kickoff 74 yards to set up the TD that made it 31-10. Walt Powell missed a tackle at the 20.
The Pats are an excellent team. The Bills simply do not have the horses to play with them right now.