Patriots Vs. Bills First Half Thoughts
As the New England Patriots head into the half of their Week 16 game against the Buffalo Bills, tied 13-13, here are some first half thoughts:
Another TD Reversal- Just as New England survived a crucial touchdown reversal at the end of their win over Pittsburgh last Sunday, the Pats were the benefactor of another crazy reversal at the end of the half. Kelvin Benjamin appeared to make a ridiculous, circus catch over Stephon Gilmore with just two seconds remaining before half. The play was reveresed, after a lengthy review, however, as it was decided that Benjamin failed to get both feet down in bounds after gaining full possession of the ball. Buffalo was then forced to kick a field goal to knott the game up at 13 apiece.
TB Trouble- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady struggled through the first two quarters of play, going just 12-19 for 119 yards. Brady missed on a handful of opportunities, in the first half, most notably throwing a pick-6 on a route that was undercut by Bills safety Jordan Poyer. The interception extended Brayd's uncharacteristic streak of games with a pick to five, which is his longest such streak since the 2002 season. The 40-year-old did connect for a touchdown with Rob Gronkowski, on an incredible catch by the tight end, but overall Brady's first half of play was underwhelming.
DBs Getting Dominated- While the Patriot defense has stood tall in the red zone and only allowed two field goals, over the first two quarters, New England's top corners, Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore, were dominated by Buffalo's Deonte Thompson and Kelvin Benjamin. Butler, who spent the first half on Thompson, allowed the otherwise innocuous wide out to catch two passes for 79 yards. Gilmore was also bullied in the first half, as big-bodied receiver Benjamin had his way with the former Bill. Gilmore allowed Benjamin four catches for 35 yards on six passes, which should have been five for 39 and a score if the final play of the half was upheld.
Gronkowski is Good- Through the first half, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was able to stay out of harms way and make some solid plays. Gronkowski caught three passes for 33 yards and a touchdown, in the first half. The All-Pro tight end made an amazing, one-handed, back-shoulder catch to reel in the touchdown, in the second quarter.