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Monday Patriots Notebook 9/21: Belichick Takes a Small Dig at Buffalo’s Rex Ryan

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7 years ago at 6:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

Monday Patriots Notebook 9/21: Belichick Takes a Small Dig at Buffalo’s Rex RyanKevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports

After the Bills marched down the field on their opening drive and scored, Bill Belichick showed why he’s one of the best coaches in the game and why Rex Ryan still has a lot to learn if he wants to get to his level.

Belichick and the coaches remained calm as they reacted to what the Bills had done to start the game and made some changes to try and adjust after Buffalo made things look easy and from there they amassed a 24-point lead that allowed them to take control of the game.

According to Belichick, a lot of their success came from the fact that Ryan’s apparent insistence with sticking with the same plan was part of the reason why New England had so much success and Belichick even sounded surprised that Buffalo stayed with it for as long as they did.

“Well, we obviously didn’t play very well defensively on the first drive,” said Belichick. “They made a couple plays, they made a play on the scramble, that was a big one to get it started, hit the boot pass for a touchdown. So it was a variety of things that came up on that drive that just wasn’t one play repeating over and over again but that’s, look you gotta, you know, be ready to play at the opening kickoff in this league.”

“Defensively, they didn’t really blitz the whole first half. They ran a couple of zone pressures where one guy blitzed and the other guy dropped. They didn’t really play pressure at all in the second half, and then we saw a little more pressure defense. We kind of anticipated that at half time. We didn’t think they would keep doing the same thing for as long as they did, but they pretty much did the whole first half.”

That was a rare revelation by Belichick and a bit of a dig at Ryan, who obviously didn’t immediately notice that the Patriots picked up on what their game plan was and didn’t adjust.  Instead, his inability to recognize that allowed the Patriots to take the Bills’ crowd out of the game while they built a 24-13 lead before being able to weather Buffalo’s late run and improving to 2-0 on the season.

It was a good performance, but was it perfect? According to Belichick, it was far from it and he knows they still have some work to do as they get ready for a visit from the Jaguars next weekn at Gillette Stadium.

“I think there’s a lot of things we can do better, everybody can do better,” said Belichick. “I didn’t think it was all that spectacular by anybody. But it was good enough, but we’ve got a lot of room to improve.”


The Patriots have already had issues on their offensive line, and Sunday saw one of their more important pieces forced out of the game.

Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer left the game with an apparent finger injury in the second quarter that saw him join trainers in the locker room.

The veteran did return to the field in the second half, but Marcus Cannon filled in for his absence.

Brady praised the offensive line after the game and felt they rose to the challenge in a tough environment.

“They played great,” said Brady of his offensive line.  “They’ve been coming together since the spring and it was a big challenge today, certainly with the crowd noise and the quality of players that they faced, so I thought they played great, I mean they stepped up to the challenge. It was a great win.”


New England’s defense had quite the performance, racking up eight sacks against Buffalo and marking one of their best showings in over 10-years.

Sunday saw five players register sacks, with Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins each recording multiple sacks on the afternoon.

Chandler Jones: 3/26yds
Jamie Collins: 2.5/12.1yds
Dont’a Hightower: 0.5/3.1yds
Rob Ninkovich: 1/6yds
Alan Branch: 1/5yds

That was the highest total since September 14th, 2003 during a 31-10 road win over the Eagles.  In that game they got to Donovan McNabb eight times, matching Sunday’s total.

In that game, here is a look back at who made the plays that afternoon:

Tedy Bruschi: 1/9yds
Ted Washington: 1/5yds
Willie McGinest: 2/12yds
Mike Vrabel: 1/2yds
Roosevelt Colvin: 1/1yd
Matt Chatham: 1/9yds


Somewhere Stevan Ridley has to be shaking his head if he happened to catch Dion Lewis’ second quarter fumble against the Bills on Sunday.

Ridley was previously benched after coughing up the football on a couple of occasions during his tenure in New England, which earned him a bit of an unfair reputation.  But it looks like Belichick’s stance has softened a bit, and Lewis has quietly put together a couple of good weeks.

On Sunday Lewis finished with six catches for 98 yards in the air while also rushing for 40 yards along with a touchdown.  Not bad for a guy who earlier in the week Rex Ryan admitted he didn’t even know his name.

Through two weeks Lewis has 10 catches for 149 yards and has also rushed 22 times for 109 yards and a touchdown.


Following Berman’s ruling in the “DeflateGate” case, he’s become quite a well appreciated name in New England but it was interesting to see an article come out with comments from the man who helped allow Tom Brady to start the 2015 season.

Berman recently spoke to’s about his experience, with the judge admitting he hadn’t heard about DeflateGate until it landed in his lap.

As Berman worked on his decision in the case, one of his clerks came over to him.

“Judge, we’ve got the Brady case,” the clerk said.

“I had no idea what he was talking about,” Berman told The Sun. “I was really busy.”

That case ended up being one that definitely took up a lot of his time and he’s seen some of the gestures in New England about how appreciative people were, including one Dunkin Donuts franchise that offered him free coffee for life.  Berman says he just might take them up on it:

He saw the offer for free coffee for life from the Dunkin Donuts franchise in Lewiston, Maine. Mike and Diane Connor, who own the franchise, told Fox Sports that they are completely serious about the gesture. “If I’m up in Maine, we usually don’t take gifts, but a cup of coffee, I would certainly stop by there and have a donut and a cup of coffee,” Berman said. “She has volunteered to go up there because she [works] closer and may pick up a cup of coffee before I get there.”


Ryan felt that he needed King Kong to cover Rob Gronkowski and unfortunately on Sunday he had a difficult time shutting him down.

Gronkowski finished Sunday with 7 catches for 113 yards along with a touchdown, joining former Patriots TE Ben Coates as the only tight end to record at least 200 yards and four touchdowns over the first two weeks of the season.

After the game Gronkowski credited Buffalo for making things tough, but he’s glad they were able to come away with the win.

“They’ve got a very good defense — they go out there and play hard,” Gronkowski said via WEEI after the game. “They were switching it up: zone, man. We were just executing on offense. We had to go out there and make plays no matter what it was out there. We just have to worry about ourselves on offense and do what we had to do. Most important, we got the win. That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”


Danny Amendola had another terrific outing after playing well in the return game, while also making a critical 29-yard grab late in the game that helped the Patriots kick another field goal to keep the Bills far enough behind to allow them to stay in command of the game.

That catch was pretty incredible, and it was a big reminder of how valuable he continues to be in this offense even though he’s not a primary target.

“It was a good catch,” said Belichick.  “There was a couple plays where, you know, they had good coverage, but good throw, good catch and great concentration. That was a big play. ”

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