Patriots Vs. Bills First Half Thoughts
As the New England Patriots head into halftime with a 24-13 lead over the Buffalo Bills, here are some thoughts from the first two quarters of play.
Slow Start- It was a rough start for New England on both sides of the ball as the Bills jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead. The defense seemed to be out of sorts on the first drive as Buffalo had their way. On offense the team went three-and-out and had to use a timeout due to sound issues.
Quick Change-By the second Bills offensive drive everything had change and momentum went completely to the Pats. New England outscored Buffalo 24-6 from 4:02 in the first quarter throughout the rest of the half.
Defense Comes Alive- After Struggling on the first series of the game, the Patriots defense stepped up and shut the Bills offense down. By loading the box with seven and eight guys New England took away the run and forced Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor to beat them with his arm. Taylor, for most of the first half, struggled to effectively pass the ball and the Pats snuffed out a lot of screens and quick slants early. Two deep pass attempts led to New England interceptions, as well. If New England continues to force Taylor to beat them with his arm they should grab an easy win.
Brady & Company Come Back- Following the tough first offensive drive, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led his offense down the field for three straight touchdown drives. Brady finished the first half going 18-27 for 194 yards and two scores as he teamed up with his two top targets, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, for touchdown passes. Brady has once again spread the ball around completing at least one pass to seven different receivers. Edelman and Gronkowski each have 39 receiving yards and a touchdown a piece with Edelman snagging six passes and Gronk pulling down three receptions. Dion Lewis has chipped in both in the running and passing games with three rushes for 14 yards and a score and four receptions for 74 yards. He did have one fumble, which is uncharacteristic of New England running backs, though his playing status has seemingly gone unchanged since then.
Lack of Discipline- The game got a bit sloppy midway through the second quarter for both clubs. New England had a few drops and issues on offense that kept them from scoring even more in the first half, while the Bills seemed to lose their composure when the Pats came back. From what we've seen so far from the Bills, they look like a prototypical Rex Ryan team; a lot of talent with a lack of discipline.
Look for New England to come out strong to start the second half. A couple good drives to start the third could make Buffalo come completely unglued.