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Monday Observations: Brady and Patriots Do Their Talking on The Scoreboard

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
September 21, 2015 at 6:00 am ET

Monday Observations: Brady and Patriots Do Their Talking on The Scoreboard(PHOTO: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 6 minutes

Same old Rex, same Brady vs Buffalo, same result

Once again the P.T. Barnum of the NFL, Rex Ryan has sold a bill of goods to the masses with a lot of empty talk and came up short where it matters…on the scoreboard.

In a game that was entirely too close at the end due to the New England coaches going on cruise control in the fourth quarter, the Patriots jumped out to a big lead and then held on for a 40-32 win.

Ryan in his introductory press conference in Buffalo talked about “building a bully” in the AFC East. Well… his team emulated their coach, talking entirely too much trash for a group that was 3-23 coming in against Tom Brady. They dug themselves in a hole time and again with dumb penalties that kept drives alive. And the Bills bullying of Tom Brady?

Brady threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns against that vaunted Bills defense and the Guinness record for noise? Nope. Flummoxing Andrew Luck and the Colts offense was one thing last week. Getting to Brady when he and Belichick had ten days to prepare is an entirely different animal.

The bully Bills committed 14 penalties in the game and even committed two personal fouls on one play. They were an undisciplined, dumb football team on Sunday.

Ryan fell to 1-8 in his last nine games against Belichick and Brady. Let that sink in a second. 1-8. Ryan loves to sell the fans, the media and his team a bill of goods. Everyone points to a playoff game from five years ago, where the Jets upset New England at home, but how long is his reputation going to hang on that one? 1-8. There’s a billboard for Buffalo instead of the ridiculous and foolishness that was visible on the highway this week.

Even former Bills QB Jim Kelly fell prey to the hucksterism of Ryan this week. Before the game, Kelly was on television stating he was glad that Brady’s suspension was lifted so that “WHEN” the Bills won on Sunday, not if, there would be no excuses….what now?

ESPN set up shop in Buffalo this morning, no doubt ready to pronounce the Patriots dominance of the division at an end with a loss today, but Belichick and Brady put a damper on all the Monday, “The King is Dead” storylines.

Ryan never won a division title in his six seasons as the Jets head coach, while Bill Belichick has won all six. Even after his upset of New England in the playoffs, Ryan and the Jets were still doing victory laps instead of preparing for the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game and weren’t in the game for the entire first half. That’s not good coaching.

The media will continue its love affair with the sound bite friendly Ryan and the fans will continue to get fired up but this coach isn’t the guy who will take this team to the promised land. He’s a great defensive coach but a very mediocre head coach and he hasn’t learned much from his Jets failings.

Brady’s Dominance of the Bills continues: In his last two games against the Bills in Orchard Park, Brady has thrown a combined 65 of 96 (67.7 %) for 827 yards (8.6 ypa), 7 TDs and 0 INTs for a QB rating of 118.7. That isn’t much of a home-field advantage.

The amazing thing is the Patriots left too many points on the field, they should have scored easily into the mid-50s in this game and may have even topped 60 points. Brady missed some open receivers and there were way too many drops by the receiving corps.

While this game was still in doubt, the Patriots dominated Buffalo on both sides of the ball and were up 37-13 before deciding to ditch what worked so well and going soft on defense and attempting too many deep passes where they didn’t need to.

The defense was confusing Tyrod Taylor and sacked him eight times, knocked him down about ten more and was hurrying him on about a dozen. After a good looking initial drive by Buffalo, the defense adjusted and the Bills weren’t moving the ball much on the ground or thru the air until late in the game in pretty near garbage time.

Other Observations from Sunday:

Slowing Gronk? Edelman Not So Much: Ryan spoke this week about being able to slow Rob Gronkowski down. The Jets did a fair job of it last season, but the linebackers of the Jets were a much better unit than this Bills’ group.

If there’s a weakness on this defense, it is the linebackers and it was evident in the passing game. Gronkowski dominated the Bills again, seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. He was also interfered with on another deep pattern as Jerry Hughes tomahawked his arm well before the ball arrived which may have been a big gainer.

But for all the talking the Bills did about limiting him, they didn’t. Gronkowski was a huge factor in the game once again. Edelman had another stellar game, with 11 catches for 97 yards including a beauty of a touchdown in the third quarter where he dove for the pylon just ahead of Aaron Williams. Just another day in the park for Edelman. He and Gronkowski remain Brady’s most reliable receivers.

Aaron Dobson had a big game for the Patriots on Sunday, catching 7 passes for 87 yards, providing that all-important third to fourth option in the passing game. Dobson definitely took a major step forward in the 2015 season and has a game he can build off of. That was his biggest game in nearly two years.

Dion Lewis Has Another Big Game: What a story Lewis is becoming in 2015 during the first two weeks of the season. After a big game in the opener versus the Steelers, Lewis topped it off with an even bigger one against Buffalo.

He carried the ball seven times for 40 yards including a six yard touchdown but added an even more impressive six catches for 98 yards in the passing game. He’s difficult to corral and gets a lot of yards after the catch and contact. The Patriots game plan was to throw, and throw some more and really only rushed 12 times for 60 yards, discounting three Brady kneel downs. And Lewis’ contributions were stellar.

While a churlish Ryan still doesn’t know his name, he should because he’s becoming a big factor in this offense. His second fumble in as many weeks was the only black mark on another outstanding effort.

Front Seven Brings Pressure: Without the benefit of a lot of blitzing, the Patriots front seven did a superb job of pressuring the Bills offensive line. They switched up some of their looks and did a great job of disrupting the Bills passing game.

They sacked Tyrod Taylor eight times for 53 yards lost and hurried him about a dozen times and had ten QB hits. Chandler Jones had three sacks and was making Cordy Glenn’s day an awful one. Jamie Collins also had three sacks coming up the A-gap.

It was supposed to be the Bills front seven pressuring the immobile Brady today, but instead the New England front seven did a great job of pressuring the QB.

Interior Offensive Linemen “Doing Their Job”: With rookie center David Andrews, and guards Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason playing in just their second NFL game along with veteran Josh Kline, the interior was facing a fearsome Bills front four.  Buffalo was getting back its best lineman, DT Marcell Dareus from a one-game suspension and was supposed to overwhelm this young group at the point of attack.

But they held up their end of the bargain quite well. Tom Brady was only sacked twice while attempting 59 passes on the day. Of course Brady helped his own cause by getting rid of the ball quickly but one can’t say enough about the job the interior of the line did on Sunday.

Patriots Coaches Shine…for three quarters: Sunday was another feather in the cap for Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia. The team was excellently prepared and had a great game plan that was working to perfection. They led the Bills on the road 37-13 at the end of three quarters. But then they dropped the ball.

Stopping what was working so well on defense, the team went to a passive approach with deep drops that the Bills ate alive and allowed them to crawl back into a game they had no business being in.

On offense, rather than stick what had been working so well, they went for homeruns on fourth downs with deep passes that was beginning to feel like Belichick and McDaniels trying to stick it to Ryan rather just going with what worked. After a superb three quarters, the coaches dropped the ball badly down the stretch. Which is a rarity for them.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at SpecialOperations.com, 1945.com as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


Tags: 2015 NFL Season Bill Belichick Chandler Jones Jabaal Sheard Jamie Collins Josh McDaniels Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler Marcell Dareus Matt Patricia New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Patriots Training Camp Photos Rex Ryan Rob Gronkowski Rob Ninkovich Tom Brady Tyrod Taylor

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