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MORSE: 15 Observations Week 16 – Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
December 27, 2021 at 9:47 am ET

MORSE: 15 Observations Week 16 – Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots(PHOTO: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
Posted: Dec 27, 2021 09:47
🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

In my preview of this game I asked the question “are they legit contenders or are they pretenders?” they are pretenders.  The Patriots couldn’t make a stop and played from behind throughout the game.  The play calling by Josh McDaniels was awful.  Why wasn’t Hunter Henry targeted until the third quarter?  They had Kendrick Bourne back but didn’t utilize him nearly enough.

I also asked, “How will the Patriots respond in the Week 16 matchup with the Buffalo Bills?”  They didn’t, coming out flat with a 3 and out to start and then gave up an opening drive for a TD! “Will they come out and dominate the offensive and defensive lines like they did in the awful weather in Buffalo?”  No, they were manhandled.  “Will they be able to run when the opponent knows they want to run?”  The running game wasn’t the problem, playing from behind was the problem.  “Will the cold weather affect the Patriots’ young quarterback?”  I have to say that the rookie QB has a problem playing in the cold weather.  That will come with experience playing in cold weather.

  1. That’s one of the worst performances I have seen from a Patriots Defense. To give up 11 catches for 125 yards to Isaiah McKenzie, the 4th Wide Receiver on the Bills was atrocious.  The Patriots didn’t have containment or any pressure on Josh Allen.  Allen was not sacked once on 41 dropbacks.
  2. Myles Bryant, the hero of the win in Buffalo was torched all day by McKenzie. Some of those plays were Allen extending plays or having all day to pass.  Why didn’t the Patriots make a switch? Instead, they had Joejuan Williams and Shaun Wade inactive.
  3. Matt Judon was invisible except for the hit on Allen that was correctly ruled an incomplete pass. He was double and triple-teamed and held on the last Knox TD.  If the opposition is doubling him, then other players need to step up and they didn’t.  Is he hurt?  I also noticed they removed him from the field especially inside the 19-yard line.
  4. Don’t’a Hightower is looking old and washed up. He doesn’t have the reactions he use to have before he took the year off for COVID.
  5. The blown reversal of the Personal Foul / late hit out of bounds on Mac Jones was just plain awful. Then to give Trent Brown an Unsportsmanlike conduct / Taunting call made the call even worse.  That’s a 30-yard penalty when the Patriots were driving.   Some other calls or non-calls affected the game.
  6. Trent Brown’s undisciplined Taunting penalty ruined that drive. David Andrews Unsportsmanlike Conduct / Taunting standing up for his QB was also a brutal call.  Andrews didn’t do anything that should have been a penalty.  Christian Barmore’s offside on 4th and 7, helped keep a drive alive.  Barmore jumped on Mitch Morse’s head bob.  Morse was looking through his legs and simulated a hike of the ball when he snapped up.  That penalty could easily be on Morse.
  7. Mac Jones had a very rookie-like game. Yes, the Bills have the number one secondary, but some of his throws were way off-line.  He was 14 of 32 for 145 yards, no TDs, and 2 INTs.  Several of his throws were weak.  This was one of the big knocks on Jones in the draft, that he didn’t have the arm strength.  The wind was a factor and Jones isn’t strong enough to cut the throws through the wind.  It was also a cold-weather game and he never had to play in cold weather before this year.  Luckily, one of his next two games is in Florida.  They were 1 for 10 on 3rd down, but they were 5 for 6 on 4th down.
  8. You have to give Damien Harris cudos for the game he played. He ran for 103 yards on 18 carries (5.72 avg).  He just didn’t run enough because the Patriots were chasing the score.
  9. The Bills didn’t punt once. That is the 1st time this has happened to a Bill Belichick team.
  10. Jakobi Meyers makes the tough catches and he paid the price for it every time. He had 6 catches on 8 targets for 59 yards.
  11. N’Keal Harry has to go. I have given up on him and the Patriots should too!  He is stealing a roster spot.  I would rather have seen Wilkerson there and see what he could do.  The big drop was followed up with a lazy effort on a tipped ball that resulted in a big interception.  They were throwing to him because the Bills DB Wallace was hurt on his drop.  He should have toasted his replacement.  I don’t care if he can block, that’s not enough when he is constantly making negative plays.
  12. I didn’t think the Patriots came out with the intensity they needed. I heard after the game that the players spent the night before the game at home with their families for Christmas.   That’s soft and they weren’t tough enough at the start of the game.  Amazingly, the Patriots have a 3-5 record at home this year, the second time in the Belichick era with the Patriots.  The only other time was in 2000.
  13. Josh Allen played a great game. He was 30 of 47, 314 yards, 3 TDs, and no INTs.  They were 6 of 7 in the Red Zone (the only miss was a dropped pass by Sanders).   It was Allen’s running ability that shaped this offense.  He had 12 rushes for 65 yards and several scrambles that he extended plays.  He also got off a couple of shuttle passes as he appeared to be running.  This was the perfect game for Allen.  If he continues to play like this the Bills will be tough to beat.  He got lucky on the Patriots’ missed opportunity on the dropped Interception by JC Jackson.  He also threw across his body while rolling right, to the middle of the field and got away with it.
  14. Watching the game on TV, I thought the crowd noise was minimal. The fans were not into the game and that was a factor in the team’s play.  The Patriots never induced any procedure penalties because of crowd noise.  I also felt the Patriots should have used a no-huddle offense.  Wear down the Bills’ defense.  I also wanted the team to snap the ball well before the 40-second clock was near the end.  This would have reduced some of the Bills’ last-second blitzing /adjustments.  They did that once.  At the end of the game, it appeared they were not in any hurry to get plays off.
  15. In Post-game comments by Greg Bedard, he stated that Hunter Henry was blanketed by the Bills with a concerted effort to take him out of the game. They did a good job as Henry was targeted 6 times with only 1 reception.

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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