DON’T GET ME STARTED waited in anticipation with all the thousands of Bills fans to the new look Bills. We got the Good – the Bad.
We didn’t get much ugly except in the opening period when Buffalo allowed the Patriots to race to a 10-0 lead on its way to a 23-21 win over Buffalo. Expected? Maybe – since there was a new coaching staff; 22 players who weren’t on the squad last year and a rookie quarterback starting in the most important position in the game.
Yet, the Bills scared the living daylights out of the visiting New England Patriots in the opener of the NFL season. Fans will say they could have walked away with a win before the platy calling with four and a half minutes left in the game caused Buffalo to go 3 and out with a 21-20 lead. The Patriots got the ball back and raced down the field so that Gostkowski could boot the winning field goal with one handful of seconds left in the game.
Let’s go with the good. Certainly EJ Manuel justified being a #1 pick. He completed 18 of 27 but for 150 yards. Yet he matched Tom Brady with two TD passes and didn’t suffer an interception. The 80-yard drive he engineered to open the second half was masterful. He also showed that his legs can get some first downs.
Buffalo fans certainly will be pleased with a defense that played hard and gave notice that opponents will have to contend with a better defense. Naturally, the secondary will need to be a little better than it was in this one.
The bad lies in the continued habit of taking penalties, many of them dumb. 10 penalties were called on the Bills, several of them in critical situations that wiped out first downs, momentum and field position. That’s been a problem in all pre-season games and Doug Marrone must get his message planted in the coconuts of his squad. Those penalties, I believe, greatly contributed to the Bills loss.
The other “bad” was Stevie Johnson who failed to hold on to a pass that would have given the Bills a first down on a 3rd down play with just over 4 minutes left in the game with the Bills ahead. Buffalo punted – Brady took over – the drive – the field goal and the 23-21 victory for the Pats.
Tom Brady was sloppy at times and he put the ball up 52 times, completing 29 of them for 288 yards, two touchdowns and had one pass intercepted. Brady embarrassed himself when he fumbled the ball at the Bills 1 yard line, turning it over to the Bills. He was helped by backup Shane Vereen who punched through the Bills line for over 100 yards while Buffalo’s Jackson and Spiller had a couple of good rushed but not as consistently as the Patriots running game
So the same old story continued for yet another game as New England continued its mastery over its AFC East rival. This time, though, the Pats had a much tougher time and, though disappointed, fans certainly can forget those days of Gailey, Jauron, Mularkey, Williams. Things are looking just a little bit better at One Bills Drive on Don’t Get Me Started.
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