REPORT CARD: Patriots Not Ready for Upstart Bills

Derek Havens
September 27, 2011 at 04:40pm ET

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The Patriots went in to week 3 with a 2 - 0 record and were off to an incredible start. On Sunday afternoon, the upstart Buffalo Bills put up a fight, and left the Patriots faithful scratching their head. Here is my report card for week 3 -

Offense Grade: B

The Patriots offensive performance was interesting. For starters, Tom Brady was not the leading MVP candidate he had shown in the first two weeks. He tied a career high throwing four interceptions and the running game could not get established. Yes, the offense scored 31 points, but when the team needed to make plays offensively, they were not able to do so.

Stevan Ridley was one of the few bright spots in Sunday's loss to Buffalo. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

I was looking for someone to step up when Brady was struggling. Wes Welker made some incredible plays, Rob Gronkowski continues to show he is a probowl talent and Stevan Ridley had a team high 44 rushing yards on 7 carries. While the team showed once again that they can score with any team in the NFL, their inefficiency and inconsistency were backbreakers on Sunday.

Defense Grade: F

The worst grade I have handed out so far in this 2011 season, and for good reason. While the defense did pick off Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick twice, there was not much else to be thrilled about during the game. For one, penalties killed this defense. Including a late game drive by Buffalo in which New England's defense gave up 46 penalty yards when the game was on the line.

The pass rush remains to be non-existent and the secondary play has been deplorable. Someone on this defense needs to be a playmaker. I also expect more from defensive captain's Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Devin McCourty. I believe there is room for improvement, but the unit needs to step up immediately.

Special Teams Grade: A

Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 23- yard field goal and had solid kickoff's throughout the day. Punter Zoltan Mesko had a 46.7-yard average and seemed to be okay after suffering a slight knee injury in week 2. While I am disappointed with the Patriots return ability so far this year, their coverage continues to be spectacular.

Overall Game Grade: D

Overall, the game was ugly. New England lost after leading by 21, as well as the offense and defense not performing to their standards. I know the majority of Patriots Nation have strong feelings towards this game, which is understandable, but do not blow it out of proportion.

Hopefully the Patriots learn from this game and fix many of their problems as the season progresses. The Pats will have another tough task this week as they travel to Oakland to face the Raiders in week 4. My pre-game thoughts will be posted later in the week.

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