“Nobody said it was easy. Nobody said it would be so hard.” The Scientist- Coldplay
Tom Brady has won more games in Buffalo than any quarterback this century, but man it sure doesn’t feel like it. Buffalo is an arduous test and the stakes are raised based purely off the fact that we are so aware of the Patriots records against the Bills.
Sunday followed this familiar script, except it was unlike any Patriot game in the last 15-years. The only offensive touchdowns in the contest were scored on a sweep by Brandon Bolden and a QB sneak by Josh Allen. The only other play to wind up in the endzone was a blocked punt that was scooped up by Matthew Slater for his first career touchdown. 16-10. Who played Sunday: Fordham and Yale?
Tom Brady had his worst game in some time. 18 of 39 for 150 yards, 0 tds and a pick. The running game wasn’t particularly effective but the defense, and forgive me for repeating this every week, but this defense in special. 5 more sacks and 4 more interceptions, this unit is nasty. Dont’a Hightower, their defensive leader, missed the game with a shoulder injury. Didn’t matter, Kyle Van Noy stepped up with 8 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. Jamie Collins got his 3rd interception while Devin McCourty got his weekly pick.
This is the New England Patriots and I’m talking about picks and sacks as music as I have rushing and receiving touchdowns in previous years.
The offensive couldn’t find any sort of rhythm yesterday. The running game was mostly non-existent, but Brady had no time to throw the ball. For the first time this season the offensive line really looked like a problem. Jerry Hughes spent a lot of the day in the Patriots backfield while Kwan Alexander blew up essentially every screen pass. This is something to monitor going forward, but I will say that the Bills defense is as good as advertised.
Next up for New England are the Washington Redskins, who yesterday moved to 0-4 and thrust first round pick Dwayne Haskins into the starting lineup. Haskins went 9 for 17 for 107 yards while throwing 0 tds and 3 interceptions. Yikes. This will be a chance for the Patriots to find some offensive rhythm before welcoming in Daniel Jones and suddenly 2-2 New York Giants on Thursday Night Football.
That means back to back rookie quarterbacks. We all know Belichick’s record against first year signal callers. An undefeated September is something we haven’t seen in a few years and with three of them being inside the AFC East, the beat it appears, goes on.
Five years ago Sunday, the Pats got crushed 41-14 by the Chiefs on Monday Night Football and many predicted it was the start of the Brady-Belichick downfall. Since then, New England has an NFL-best 76-18 record and three Super Bowls.
New England Patriots have allowed the fewest DEFENSIVE points thru the first 4 games of the season in NFL History
1. New England Patriots - 2019 - 13
1. Cleveland Browns - 1946 - 13