The recent dominance of the Patriots took a slight dent as they crawled their way to victory Sunday. NFL Fans UK writers were spot on in highlighting the close nature of the game we were set to witness. Whilst Brady and Co could not get any momentum going on offense after the first quarter, the defense stepped up in preventing the Bills from making a game-winning touchdown.
Now, even as a Patriot reporter, I have to begin by giving a huge amount of credit to the Bills defense. When you have a defensive front including Jerry Hughes, Star Lotulelei and Jordan Phillips, you expect to be able to make the opposing Quarterback uncomfortable. This all captained and lead by the former 2018 first-round draft pick Trumaine Edmunds makes you understand why they have been able to hold teams to few points this season. The disruption especially in the second half as a result of these key cogs coupled with the unrelenting crows noise allowed the Bills to always stay with the Patriots.
The saying that your Quarterback is only as good as the guys in front of him was evident today; even if it concerns the great Tom Brady. There was a severe lack of protection, especially from the tackle position. The running game could not aid this either as there was no element of establishing the run bar a few creases found by Sony Michel. It was evident that because of this, the Bills could blitz and charge Brady knowing what was coming. Whilst Edelman was able to go today, he did not look comfortable dealing with his chest/rib injury. The lack of a safety blanket coupled with the unrelenting pressure on Brady was under led to an unfamiliar feeling of angst amongst Patriot fans.
Despite the struggling offense, the Patriot defense suffocated the Bills likewise which was aided by the mistake-prone Josh Allen. For any Bills fans believing that this man is the answer need a serious wake-up call. It is time to move on, in my opinion. You know exactly what you are getting from him. The Pats knew the way he stares down his receivers was going to play into their hands; that is why they were rewarded with multiple sacks and four interceptions. Despite the absence of Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins anchored the best defense in the NFL. The back end was in sync from the get-go with J.C Jackson, a lot of experts pick to make a giant leap this season, shadowing his receiver with technical brilliance. There is no doubt that Coach Belichick this year can lean heavily on his defense, the first time since 2004, to lead this team deep into January.
Whilst the Patriots could never pull away from the Bills, the effect of the Patriot defense gave the feel that the Bills would not be able to take the lead either. It was a style of win that the ‘Championship calibre’ teams obtain; the phrase ‘finding a way to win’ comes to mind which must give Patriot nation much confidence as they return to Foxborough undefeated and set to take on the lowly Redskins next Sunday.
(Feature Photo – Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)