Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 41-25 loss against the New England Patriots Sunday worked out:
1. LeGarrette Blount is not Jay Ajayi, and the Bills need to keep it that way. Check-plus. The Bills held Blount to 43 yards on 18 carries, an average of 2.4 yards per rush. The return of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to the lineup was a clear factor.
But on a day when Tom Brady shredded the Bills through the air for 315 yards and four touchdowns, the Patriots didn't need a whole lot of help from their ground game.
The fact the Bills made Brady one-dimensional should have allowed them to do a better job against him ... but he is the greatest quarterback in the game.
2. Tom Brady will do Tom Brady things, but he'll be facing as strong a pass rush as the Bills have fielded since the one they unleashed on him during last year's Monday night game at Foxborough, Mass. Check. The Bills sacked Brady four times for minus-22 yards. They also hit him nine times.
It didn't matter.
Brady continued his amazing run since returning from his #Deflategate suspension four games ago. He never seemed bothered by the pressure, and capitalized on many defensive miscues by the Bills. In short, he was the guy he has been throughout his remarkable career and the Patriots' ownership of the Bills during the Brady Era.
Still, it was an unacceptable showing by Buffalo's defense. Beating Brady is difficult enough when you do everything right. It becomes impossible when you make silly blunders, such as not everyone being on the same page in coverage.
You simply shouldn't be having issues with miscommunication this far into the season.
3. Tyrod Taylor might be running out of receivers, but he'll probably have more time to find the ones he will have. Check. Taylor was sacked only once, for minus-seven yards, and was hit six times. He ran five times for 48 yards and a touchdown, but he did not spend most of his day under duress.
The Patriots didn't start unleashing blitzes with much regularity until they opened up a big lead in the third quarter.
Taylor just wasn't all that accurate, completing 19 of 38 passes for 183 yards and finishing with a passer rating of 63.8. He wasn't helped by dropped passes or the fact his depleted receiving corps couldn't win their outside matchups, but he also has to be accountable for some of the missed throws.
4. Don't get Gronked. Not even close. Rob Gronkowski caught a game-high five passes for 109 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown. He averaged 21.8 yards per catch.
The Bills had no coverage answers for him or pretty much any of the Patriots' other pass-catchers. This was an awful showing by Buffalo's secondary, which also gave up a 53-yard touchdown catch by former Bill Chris Hogan, in every possible way.
5. Maintain composure. Nope. Unlike when the teams met in Foxborough, Mass., on Oct. 2, there weren't any skirmishes during pre-game warm-ups.
But the Bills did not maintain their poise. They had 12 accepted penalties for minus-84 yards. Two of them were for 12 men on the field on defense.
The many communication breakdowns on defense reflected a team that was partly unprepared and partly panicking over what to do to handle Brady and the rest of New England's offensive dominance.