Patriots 20, Bills 13: THR's 2-Point Conversion

In New England on a Monday night, the Bills needed to be razor sharp to win but cannot get out of their own way.  Instead the Patriots win back to back close shaves with their depleted offense despite close shaves being hard to come by in Movember.  It probably helps that the game was in Gillette Stadium.  The Herd Report breaks down the game.

CHUCK

  1. It is very frustrating to lose to the Patriots, though commendably not just Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Kudos to Rex Ryan for a great gameplan on Brady and Gronk, but disappointing the offense and special teams couldn't take advantage of the good defensive play.
  2. Going forward: I'll take an optimistic look despite this outcome. This what I imagined a Rex Ryan Bills' defense would look like. The next two upcoming games are big and I am excited for our defense to take advantage of mediocre quarterbacks and for the offensive to clean up its act. Time to make a run! Let's Go Buffalo.

DOUG

  1. September 14th 2009.  That date is the last time Buffalo appeared on Monday night football.  That is also the night Leodis McKelvin fumbled a kick return to allow New England the final possession they need to complete their comeback and win the game.  Six years later on Monday night football, McKelvin fumbles a punt return at a critical juncture.  Fortunately the mistake only cost the Bills three points and not seven, but it is astounding how the past just keeps haunting us...
  2. To quote the announcer at the end of the game: "What a screwed up night."  Or at least a night of screwed up officiating.  There was the bizarre errant whistle that I'm sure Patriots fans believe denied them a touchdown even though Gilmore clearly stops when the whistle sounds, making it impossible to know that Amendola would have gotten yards after the catch let alone the caught the ball.  Irregardless, once the whistle sounded, the play should have been dead by rule.  However the referees gave the Patriots all the yards from the catch as though the whistle sounded after the catch despite replays clearly showing it did not.  Then the Patriots scored their second touchdown on an illegal hurry-up snap.  As the Boston Globe, of all places, pointed out, because New England TE Scott Chandler came onto the field before the play (called a simulated substitution), the Bills must be given time to complete their own substitution by rule. The snap should have resulted in a penalty on New England but instead the Patriots scored a touchdown (perhaps because the Bills had only ten men in positon).  Finally, the clock continued running after Sammy Watkins got out of bounds with 2 seconds remaining.  Would the Bills have scored on the next play? Probably not, but we should have at least gotten the chance to throw the Hail Mary.  Yes, the referee had just come up from college football where the clock continues to run in that situation, but someone has to catch that. The ESPN commentators didn't understand and neither did I.

KEVIN

  1. It was an exciting first half half of the game.  Or at least a dramatic first half of the game.  We held the Patriots to 3-3 for most of the half only to forfeit a potential 10-point swing with under minute left.  The field goal hitting the post cost us three points and lost the Bills the opportunity for a kickoff that would have pinned the Patriots deeper in thier own territory, thus likely preventing the touchdown drive the Patriots made before the half.  If you want to win you can't lose focus as a team for even one minute when you are facing New England.
  2. The Bills did a good job of coming out for the second half and keeping to their gameplan. The heat on Tom Brady was hot for most of this game. With about six minutes left in the 4th the out of pocket throw from Tryod to Sammy was great.  Followed by another long bomb to Hogan, which seemed to be Tyrod's go-to move this game.  Plenty of interesting calls by the referee's in this game too.  We ran a Twitter poll which includes what fans on Twitter thought of the NFL referees during the game.

EVAN

  1. How can you not get Watkins and Clay involved early and often?  We know that Bill Belichick takes away your biggest weapons, but he stacked the box with McCoy all day to stop him.  I didn't see one slant route.  Tyrod wasn't looking Sammy's way often and when he did, he was throwing underthrown lobs on a gusty night in Foxborough.  It was certainly frustrating to watch.  How soon until Watkins is relegated to "blocking duty" like Robert Woods?
  2. At the end of the day analytically, this game didn't mean as much as the next two.  Being the pessimist that I am, I'm going to assume that Taylor is out with a collarbone injury that may sideline him through mid-December.  If so, it puts a real damper on the Bills' 2015 playoff chances.  Don't be fooled.  Next week is our season and if Tyrod isn't good to go, we might as well start evaluating draft selections for May.