BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot
FINAL SCORE: Patriots 23, Bills 21.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Buffalo Bills played a tight game against the New England Patriots, but their failure to stop the Patriots on third downs down the stretch is what ultimately cost them the game. With five seconds remaining, Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 35-yard field goal to seal the game for the Patriots.
The Bills themselves have a lot to feel good about, but a loss is a loss. The Bills fall to 0-1 on the season. Next week the Bills play against the Carolina Panthers (0-1).
FINAL SCORE: New England defeats the Buffalo Bills 23-21.
Buffalo has one play left to make a miracle play against New England.
Stephen Gostkowski made a 35 yard field with 5 seconds remaining to take a 23-21 lead.
Amendola makes a difficult catch on 3rd and 9 to get the first down. Amendola and Tom Brady have been having a field day on third downs against Buffalo.
Down one, the Patriots are on Buffalo’s 41 yard line as we head to the two-minute warning. Both teams still have all three timeouts remaining.
Buffalo went three and out and punted the ball back to the Patriots. The Patriots are down one with less than four minutes to go.
Bills 21 – Patriots 20
Kyle Williams comes up with a huge sack on 3rd down and goal to stop the Patriots from scoring a touchdown. With 10:48 remaining in the 4th quarter, the Bills are hanging on by one point following a 33 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
The Bills are heading into the fourth quarter with a 21-17 lead. Buffalo has the ball on New England’s 46 yard line.
The Buffalo Bills stopped the Patriots at the goal line and recovered a Tom Brady fumble. Kiko Alonso recovered the fumble and returned the ball to the 14 yard line.
Bills 21 – Patriots 17
E.J. Manuel and the Bills marched down the field on the Patriots to start the second half and connected on a 18 yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson. This is Buffalo’s first lead of the game.
Injury News: Marquise Goodwin is out for the remainder of the game with a hand injury.
Editor’s Halftime Takeaways:
The Buffalo Bills have had an unacceptable amount of first-half mistakes. The Bills have a whopping seven penalties for 55 yards and have turned the ball over twice (both fumbles, both forced by Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington). That said, they have also made some big plays on defense — and at the end of the half on offense – to capitalize on mistakes by the Patriots and cut the deficit to only three points at halftime.
— Star of the Half: FS Da’Norris Searcy. This position appeared to be a weak spot coming into the game, with Searcy in place of Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd. Searcy, however, has played like someone who wants a starting spot. He had the biggest play of the half, returning a fumble 74 yards for a touchdown, and has been making plays all over the field, including four tackles and a sack.
— For a rookie QB, EJ Manuel’s first half has been impressive. While his first opportunity at a two-minute drill quickly failed in a three-and-out, he took advantage of a second opportunity with two big throws for a two-play touchdown drive. The rookie has shown good composure and poise today, bouncing ball when he has made mistakes.
— All in all, the defense has been very impressive today. Leodis McKelvin has risen to the occasion and played a very solid game as the team’s No. 1 cornerback. Opposite him, Justin Rogers has also been solid in his spot starting role, including his interception through Patriots tight end Zach Sudfeld’s hands near the end of the half to set up the late touchdown drive. Though the Bills have had a few costly neutral zone infraction penalties, they have done a good job bringing pressure, with defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and outside linebacker Manny Lawson among the standouts.
What the Bills must do in second half to win this game:
Cut down — significantly — on penalties and turnovers
Manuel must remain confident, make downfield throws, avoid interceptions
Continue to generate pressure against Brady to help secondary continue to make plays on back end
— Dan Hope
Patriots 17 – Bills 14
E.J. Manuel connected with Robert Woods for a 18 yard touchdown reception. It took Buffalo two plays to get into the endzone after Justin Rogers’ interception of Tom Brady. There are 34 seconds remaining in the first half.
Justin Rogers intercepted a pass off the hands of Zach Sudfield. The Bills have 57 seconds remaining in the first half and take over on New England’s 37 yard line.
With 1:55 to go in the first half the Patriots increased their lead to 17-7. Julian Edelman caught his second touchdown reception of the day.
Marquise Goodwin fumbles the ball to give New England excellent field position with 3:45 remaining in the second quarter.
Patriots 10 – Bills 7
With the Patriots driving, Stevan Ridley slipped and fumbled the ball. Da’Norris Searcy picked the ball up and ran the ball 74 yards for the touchdown.
At the end of the first quarter, it’s 10-0 Patriots.
Buffalo’s defense was gashed for a 20 yard gain by Ridley to end the first quarter.
E.J. Manuel has looked good at quarterback but penalties are really hurting the Bills thus far. A nice punt by Shawn Powell puts the Patriots on the 25 yard line.
Patriots 10 – Bills 0
Stephen Gostkowski hit a 48 yard field goal to extend New England’s lead. The Patriots had excellent field position following a facemask penalty on their punt return.
Patriots 7 – Bills 0
Julian Edelman caught a Tom Brady pass for the touchdown. The Patriots were given excellent field position following C.J. Spiller’s fumble.
C.J. Spiller fumbled his second carry of the game to give the Patriots the ball on the 16 yard line.
The Bills announced their starting lineup as follows on their official Twitter account:
QB EJ Manuel
RB C.J. Spiller
FB Frank Summers
WR Stevie Johnson
WR T.J. Graham
TE Scott Chandler
LT Cordy Glenn
LG Colin Brown
C Eric Wood
RG Kraig Urbik
RT Erik Pears
DE Alex Carrington
DT Kyle Williams
DT Marcell Dareus
DE Mario Williams
OLB Manny Lawson
MLB Kiko Alonso
LCB Leodis McKelvin
SS Aaron Williams
FS Da’Norris Searcy (in for Jairus Byrd)
RCB Justin Rogers (in for Stephon Gilmore)
K Dan Carpenter
P Shawn Powell
LS Garrison Sanborn
KR Marquise Goodwin
PR Leodis McKelvin
Today’s New England Patriots inactives are as follows:
WR Aaron Dobson
SS Duron Harmon
TE Rob Gronkowski
OL Will Svitek
RB Brandon Bolden
S Nate Ebner
RB/KR Leon Washington
The most significant inactive for the Patriots is Gronkowski, who caught 55 passes for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. The Patriots are without their top five players in receiving yardage from last season.
The Buffalo Bills website has posted Buffalo’s inactives:
K Dustin Hopkins
CB Stephon Gilmore
S Jairus Byrd
OL Doug Legursky
DT Jay Ross
TE Chris Gragg
DL Corbin Bryant