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Morse’s Morsels – Leftovers from the Monday Night Patriots win over Buffalo

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
December 8, 2021 at 2:51 pm ET

Morse’s Morsels – Leftovers from the Monday Night Patriots win over Buffalo(PHOTO: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 5 minutes

This is a collection of quotes, notes, and other writers’ observations from the game.

Mike Reiss came up with this stat – the three passes were the fewest in a game in Patriots history.  The previous low was the infamous “Snow Plow” game in 1982.

Damien Harris TD run was the longest since Curtis Martin’s 70 yarder in 1997.

Branden Bolden had a good snippet in his post-game press conference.  He said practicing against the Patriots’ defense every day in practice is “iron sharpening iron”.   Rhamondre Stevenson stated he had never been in weather like this.  Coach Belichick in his post-game locker room address to the players exclaimed “This is why we practice in [all types] weather”.

Harris’ hamstring injury does not appear to be serious.  He showed up at the post-game press conference of David Andrews.  He yelled out Roll Tide, as a little dig to Andrews as Alabama won the SEC championship over Andrews alma mater Georgia.   The fact he showed up in front of the media is a good sign.  Stevenson and Bolden spoke to the media.

I have a bone to pick with the NFL schedule makers.  Why are the Patriots scheduled to play a second team that is coming off their bye week?  Never mind the fact that they are getting no advantage (outside of rest) because their next opponent is having the same bye week.  Add to that they are now playing their 4th night game.  The Patriots, by virtue of their finish last season are supposed to have a favorable schedule by playing teams in other divisions that are in the lower half of those divisions.

The Defense held Buffalo to 10 points.  All those points were the result of gifts, Harry’s muffed punt, and an absolutely horrendous call by the official on Myles Bryant pushing Josh Allen out of bounds.  Allen was a runner, had not touched out of bounds, and was reaching for a 1st down.  Even the official expert on TV called it a bad call.  That’s an average of 10.4 pts a game over the 7 game win streak.  They are the least scored upon defense in the league.

Loved these quotes from Tom Curran and Michael Holley from their Post-Game Live program last night.  Curran – “It’s emasculating, humiliating, and embarrassing when you can’t win the physical matchup”.  “You can’t stop us, your #1 rival in the division.”  “If we are going to do this in primetime, at your place that’s something you [Bills] are going to have to suck on the rest of the season”.

Holley – “Nothing is more frustrating than being run on and run on, knowing it is coming”.

Was it stubborn of Bill Belichick to run the ball or was it necessary?  I would have liked to see a few more passes, especially on 1st down.  When N’Keal Harry was in the game it was a poker tell, the Patriots were running the ball.  I also think there is some animosity between Belichick and McDermott.  I don’t think Belichick cared for McDermott’s comments after the wins last year.

McDermott made an ass out of himself after this game.  “Don’t give Belichick too much credit”.  He then proceeds to embarrass himself with quotes about field position, Patriots starting at their 23 average, and Buffalo starting at the 40 average.  He also talked about being 1 for 4 in the Red Zone while the Patriots were 0-1.

This gem is courtesy of Greg Bedard – Nobody wants to talk about the blunder McDermott made to start the second half.  A new rule allows the coach that deferred until the second half, to choose to receive the ball or play for field position (the wind in the 4th quarter).  Think McDermott even knows the rule?

With the wind conditions as bad as they were (Gusting winds reached 55 MPH), I thought the coin toss would determine the winner.  The Bills won the toss and deferred.

Bill Belichick said the game in 2008 was worse as far as the wind goes.  Matt Cassel was the QB for that game and he attempted 8 passes.

Bedard claims this was one of Bill Belichick’s greatest coaching performances, a masterpiece.  How can Belichick not get the coach of the year for the job he has done so far this year?

The matchup between JC Jackson and Stephon Diggs was one of the hotter topics leading up to the game.  The wind conditions played a big factor but it looks like Jackson came out on top this time.  Diggs had 1 catch for 26 yards in 3 matchups against Jackson.  One of those incompletions was a pass breakup by Jackson.

Seth Wickersham, ESPN writer and author of the book about Bill Belichick and the Patriots Dynasty, It’s Better To Be Feared had this tweet.  “People think throwing three times reveals what Bill Belichick thinks about Mac Jones when maybe it reveals more about what he thinks about Josh Allen and his Buffalo offensive coaches.”

Myles Bryant made a very instinctive play in his pass breakup of the potential go-ahead pass.  Steve Belichick called a “Zero” blitz.  That is when the Free Safety (Devin McCourty) is part of the blitz and there is no one in the deep middle of the field.  The purpose of the blitz is to hurry up the decision-making by QB Josh Allen and not allow him the time to scan the field and pick out the open man.  The remaining DBs are all in Man-to-Man, one-on-one coverage.  Bryant was assigned to Cole Beasley in the slot and actually had Bryant beat if Allen had looked for him.  Trailing Beasley across the middle, Bryant was looking back into the backfield and saw Allen pass to the outside receiver Gabriel Davis who was beating Jalen Mills running a similar but deeper route than Beasley.  Bryant broke off his coverage like Ty Law used to do and reached up and knocked down the pass.  Game Over!   Bryant is highly thought of by the Patriots.  The Un-Drafted Free Agent (UDFA) from Washington was passed over because of his height (5’9”).  He is filling in for Jonathan Jones, playing the slot corner.   Some think he will be the heir to Devin McCourty at Free Safety.

The Patriots gained 144 yards of their 222 after the first contact.  Harris and Stevenson combined to make 11 defenders miss tackles, of which Stevenson had 9 (on his 24 carries).

The Patriots Offensive line played very well.  They used their jumbo package with Michael Owenu as a Tackle Eligible (Tight End) on 61% of the plays.  That meant Owenu had to report to the official every play and be declared to the Defense that he was an eligible receiver.  That took a lot of discipline.

The Bills fans are delusional claiming “They only had one big run”.  Yeah, your defense played 10 men in the box and they over-pursued to the running back going left.  Harris cut back and because all the defenders, except the Free Safety, were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, once Harris got to the second level, he was gone.  Even Safety Micah Hyde over-pursued the play, leaving nothing but green between Harris and the end zone.

This game could have easily been a loss for the Patriots if the Bills didn’t continue to screw up.  The Bills were driving and aided by a Donta Hightower horse collar personal foul penalty, the Bills have 1st and goal at the NE 6 yard line.  With 9:04 left on the clock, the Bills were in a prime position to take the lead.  A run play by Zach Moss for no gain on 1st down, followed by a huge -9 yard sack by Judon pushed them back to the 15.   An incomplete pass to Dawson Knox led to the FG attempt.  Tyler Bass missed a 33 yard FG attempt into the wind with 7:28 left in the 4th Quarter.  He didn’t aim toward the left goal post.  Instead kicked it slightly right and the wind caught it and blew it wide right.  Getting the ball back after a quick three and out, with 5:47 left in the game Josh Allen moved the Bills smartly down the field. He got them down to the 13-yard line with 3rd and 9.  Dawson Knox gets a false start penalty moving the ball back to the18 and 3rd and 14.  The next play was a pass breakup by Adrian Phillips on an attempt to TE Dawson Knox.  Phillips was injured on the play.  That’s the two-minute warning.  On the 4th down play, Myles Bryant makes the pass breakup on a wide-open Gabriel Davis who had beaten Jalen Mills.  Bryant made the play and the Bills did not.  So temper all the talk about a dominating run game and realize we could be talking about a completely different narrative if the Patriots had lost, and they were very fortunate not to lose.

Patriots Week 13 Report Card, Physical Patriots Beat Bills 14-10

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.

Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season

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    2 years ago

    The biggest mistake of the game was Belichick putting Harry in to field a punt. Which he muffed, setting up an easy score for Buffalo. The Bills field goal was another gift via a terrible call by the ref. The Bills were out coached and out played. Simple as that. The Bills coach is a baby and I hope Belichick runs up the score on them at home.

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