BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot
Three hundred thirty-four yards. How on Earth does a professional football team give up 334 yards to one player? It’s difficult, but the Bills pulled off the feat on Sunday. Was it a squirmy player like Julian Edelman? No. What about a jack of all trades like Shane Vereen? Not him either.
LeGarrette Blount, a 250-pound bruising running back, was the man who accounted for the yards. Blount had 24 carries for 189 yards and two touchdowns. He also accounted for 145 yards on two kick returns Sunday.
It’s inexcusable regardless of the elements. For as much praise as defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has received, he also needs to be held accountable for the rushing yards his defense gave up this season. Overall, Pettine did more good than bad, but the run defense needs to be looked at and upgraded in the offseason.
As for the kickoff returns, that falls on special teams coordinator Danny Crossman. When the Bills hired Crossman, I remember Lions fans jumping for joy. After one season, I see why. Marrone’s hiring of Crossman was by far his worst hire. Marrone and Crossman might be friends, but there is no reason for Crossman to return in 2014.
The game itself wasn’t great for the Bills, but they did themselves no favors. The Patriots fumbled the ball four times on Sunday and each time New England recovered the ball.
Offensively, mistakes did the Bills in.
Thad Lewis did a nice job against the Patriots, especially considering the elements. He completed 16-of-29 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown. His biggest gaffes were an early fumble and a bad quarterback sneak. The Bills did score a field goal after the fumble, so Lewis only had one really costly play.
Spiller and Jackson accounted for 165 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Bills.
Mistakes by Buffalo’s wide receivers and tight ends were most costly for the Bills offense on Sunday. Scott Chandler had a big drop in the first quarter that would have converted a first down and put the Bills in field goal range. T.J. Graham, the team’s leading receiver on Sunday, had a pass bounce off of his mid-section on a 4th and 2 play.
In the offseason, Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett need to work on Buffalo’s red zone offense. The team was held to far too many field goals this season.
The 2013 Bills season is in the books with another 6-10 record. The team had a strong draft and made some good moves in free agency and through its trade with the Indianapolis Colts for outside linebacker Jerry Hughes. If the team can repeat that process in 2014, the Bills have a chance to emerge as a playoff contender.
Tom Brady takes a series of knees and this game is over. Patriots win 34-20.
Jackson lets a 4th down pass bounce off of his hands. It’s a turnover on downs for the Bills.
Lewis throws the ball into the turf on 3rd down. It’s 4th and 2 for Buffalo.
Lewis scrambles for 5 yards on first down and a nice one hand catch by Jackson goes for a short gain. It’ll be 3rd and 2 for the Bills following the two-minute warning.
Thad Lewis and the Bills take over at the 20 yard line.
It’s 34-20 Patriots with 2:31 remaining.
The play stands and Blount’s run goes for a touchdown.
Fouts is speculating that Blount may have lost possession of the ball before crossing the goal line. It’s unlikely to get called, but it’d give the Bills the ball at the 20 if it were called.
Blount runs the ball 35 yards for the touchdown. He’s accounted for 334 yards today.
Blount carries a pile of players 10 yards for the first down.
New England recovers the onside kick attempt. The ball was kicked up the middle and recovered by Ebner.
Carpenter hits the 37 yard field goal and it’s 27-20 with 3:26 remaining.
Lewis gets sacked on third down.
Jackson loses a yard on second down.
Lewis throws into the end zone on the next play and there is no Bill in the vicinity. Luckily, it falls incomplete.
Thad Lewis fires a strike to Scott Chandler for the first down on the next play. The pass went for 19 yards.
A screen to Spiller goes for three yards. The blocking wasn’t there and Spiller gets hurt on the play.
Brandon Spikes is the latest injured Patriot. He’s able to walk off under his own power.
Spiller dodges a few defenders on first down and gains 16 yards on a short pass.
Lawson intercepts Tom Brady on 3rd down after the ball bounces off of Shane Vereen.
The Patriots get called for an illegal formation. It’ll be 3rd and 6 now.
A short rush leads to a 3rd and 1 for the Patriots.
Blount gains 7 yards on first down.
The pass wasn’t perfect, but Graham should have caught that ball.
T.J. Graham drops a pass that is thrown into his breadbasket.
Jackson gets stopped at the line for no gain. Jamie Collins throws him down well after the whistle, but no flag is thrown.
Spiller adds eight yards on 2nd down. It’ll be third and one for the Bills.
Spiller takes a short pass and runs backwards. He ends up with a gain of one yard.
Chandler picks up nine yards on first down and Spiller goes for 13 yards on the next play.
Easley takes a knee in the end zone for the touch back.
Gostkowski’s 35 yard field goal is perfect. The Patriots regain their two score lead, 27-17.
On 3rd and 2, Brady throws an errant pass. The Patriots will line up for the field goal.
Blount takes a second down rush for one yard.
Ridley gains seven yards on first down. It looks like Kyle Williams actually turned the wrong way or else Ridley would have been stuffed.
Ridley takes the first down carry 15 yards.
Blount has another insane kick return, this time 62 yards. Danny Crossman needs to be fired.
The extra point is good and the Bills trail 24-17.
Smith may not have moved back entirely after all, but Jackson takes the first and goal carry into the end zone.
Lee Smith jumped offsides, but looked as though he was back in time.
Spiller runs up the middle and gets stopped at the one yard line.
Spiller picks up two yards on first down.
Lewis finds Fred Jackson on a slant pattern for 37 yards on 3rd down.
Jackson picks up five yards on second down.
Lewis throws deep on first down and the pass flies a bit too high. A tip of the ball almost goes to Talib for the interception.
Jackson picks up the first down after a three yard rush.
Graham picks up nine yards on a first down reception.
Spiller picks up the first down after Thad Lewis finds C.J. for a short gain.
Spiller gains two yards on first down.
The Bills take over on their 20 following a touch back.
Edelman catches Brady’s pass in the end zone to convert the two point conversion. It’s now 24-10 New England.
Shane Vereen and Tom Brady connect on the next play for the touchdown. Today’s game isn’t exactly Dareus’ finest moment.
The Bills jump offsides on the play and it’ll be a first down for the Patriots.
At the end of the third quarter, the Patriots lead 16-10. The Patriots have a 4th and 1 situation deep in Buffalo territory following Blount’s 82 yard kickoff return.
Edelman gets the third down catch but lands a yard short of the first down marker.
Brady overthrows his receiver on 2nd down.
Ridley gets tripped up behind the line, but apparently does not get touched. Ridley gains a yard after getting up.
Somehow Blount takes the kickoff 82 yards.
The Bills trail 16-10 following Carpenter’s extra point.
Thad Lewis scrambles and tells T.J. Graham to break off his route. Graham gets open and Lewis throws the touchdown pass.
Spiller rushes for three yards on first down.
Thad Lewis gets sacked on third down, but illegal hands to the face is called on the Patriots. First down for the Bills.
Lewis tries to lead Jackson on a swing pass, but throws it too far ahead.
On first down, Spiller gains six yards.
T.J. Graham hauls in a 41 yard pass on second down.
Spiller gets stopped at the line of scrimmage for no gain on first down.
Siliga was injured on the Spiller run, but he was able to walk off on his own.
Spiller rips off a 12 yard gain on first down.
The Patriots trick the Bills with a jailbreak of sorts and look like they’re going to down the ball deep. However, the ball slips away into the end zone for the touch back.
Blount is stopped for a two yard gain on 3rd down. It’s 4th and 1 for the Patriots.
Blount adds another four yards on second down.
On first down, Blount picks up three yards rushing.
Edelman takes the punt back to the Patriots’ 39 yard line.
Lewis gets sacked on third down by Chandler Jones and Chris Jones. An awful series where the Bills needed to score some points.
A screen pass to Spiller on second down leads to a one yard gain.
Lewis gets hit as he throws the ball on first down. The ball falls incomplete.
Tom Brady punts on 3rd and 32 and Leonhard is actually waiting for the ball. Leonhard calls for the fair catch and Buffalo will take over on their own 22.
Ridley takes a second down carry two yards. It’ll be 3rd and 32.
On 1st and 30, Jerry Hughes tackles Vereen for a loss of four.
Brady throws an ugly pass into the ground on first down and Marcell Dareus looks like he was hit in an unfortunate area. The Patriots are called for holding again on the play.
I’m not sure what Jerry Hughes did or said to warrant the second personal foul, but if it were in regards to Hughes shove I wouldn’t blame him for complaining.
Brady calls a timeout on 1st and 20.
The Patriots get called for holding on the next play, their first penalty of the day.
Ridley is tackled after a short gain. An unsportsmanlike penalty on Alan Branch and Jerry Hughes gives the Patriots 30 yards on the play.
Amendola gains nine yards on second down for another first down.
A gain of three yards on the ground for the Patriots.
Develin gains four yards on 3rd down to move the chains.
Ridley gets stopped for 2 yards on second down. It’s third and one for the Patriots.
Edelman gains seven yards on a first down pass from Tom Brady.
Four fumbles by the Patriots and the Bills can’t get one of them. You need to take advantage of mistakes and the Bills just aren’t doing that.
Jackson drops a third down pass, but the Patriots had good coverage on the play. Moorman punts and Edelman muffs the ball. Once again, the Patriots recover.
Lewis scrambles and gains about one yard on second down. Third and six for the Bills.
Spiller gains three yards on a first down carry.
Scott Chandler gains 27 yards on second down. The Bills have the ball at midfield.
Buffalo takes over at their own 20 and Spiller gains three yards on first down.
Marcell Dareus will be back in the second half. It’ll be interesting to see if Buffalo’s defense is more successful at stopping the run with him in the game. At this point the Patriots are simply outplaying the Bills.
Offensively, the Bills have had some success but a drop by Scott Chandler put a halt to the Bills’ second drive. Later in the first half, the Bills were unable to convert a 4th and 1 on a quarterback sneak. This minor errors have cost the Bills in the first half, but they should consider themselves lucky to only be down by 13 points.
Gostkowski extends New England’s lead to 16-3 at the half.
Edelman was walking a bit gingerly after the play.
On 3rd and 14 Edelman takes a short pass four yards before getting hit hard by a few Bills defenders.
Brady throws incomplete on second down in the end zone to Hoomanawanui.
It was announced that Jairus Byrd will not return to the game. Big loss for the Bills.
Blount fumbles on first down, but Mulligan recovers the ball for the Patriots.
Vereen picks up another first down on a 15 yard pass.
Brady overthrows Amendola on first down. Brady’s biggest weakness is the deep ball.
Blount carries a few Bills for six yards to gain another first down for the Patriots.
Buffalo’s defense has struggled mightily in the first half. The Patriots have moved the ball with ease on the Bills.
Edelman picks up 14 yards after Danny Amendola gets away with a blatant block in the back. It’ll be 3rd and 3 for the Patriots. Charles is injured on the play.
Charles sacks Tom Brady on first down to set up a 2nd and 17.
Blount picks up six yards to move the chains.
Blount picks up 9 yards on a first down carry. He’s having his way with the Bills defense.
Vereen gains 22 yards on first down on a screen pass.
Edelman makes the fair catch at the Patriots 24 yard line.
Lewis with a poor pass to Robert Woods on third down. Buffalo will punt to Edelman.
Spiller gains six yards on second down and Kyle Arrington is injured on the play.
Lewis throws a deep pass on first down, but the pass flies out of bounds.
Jackson gains 16 yards on second down.
Fred Jackson takes the first down carry to the 9 yard line.
The Patriots’ punt gets downed at the Buffalo 7 yard line. That was a big stop for Buffalo’s defense, even if they were aided with a Brady fumble.
Brady fumbles the third down snap and Manny Lawson will get awarded the sack.
Buffalo calls a timeout before 3rd down.
Edelman gains 4 yards on second down. It’s 3rd and 6 for the Patriots.
Ridley gets stopped for no gain on first down.
I’m all for Buffalo going for it on 4th down but that play-call wasn’t the greatest.
Thad Lewis somehow loses a yard on a 4th and 1 quarterback sneak. Patriots ball near midfield.
On 3rd and 6, Lewis hands the ball off for a gain of five. It sets up a 4th and 1 for the Bills.
Spiller picks up 2 yards on 2nd down. Sets up a 3rd and 6 for the Bills.
Jackson adds two yards on 1st and 10.
Jackson picks up 12 yards on the ground on the next play.
On third and eight, Lewis finds Fred Jackson on a screen pass to pick up the first down.
Spiller spins away from an initial tackler, but still loses two yards on the play. Third and long for the Bills.
Spiller picks up three yards on first down.
The kickoff goes through the end zone for a touch back. Buffalo has moved the ball with relative ease thus far, but only have three points to show for their two series.
Patriots increase their lead to 13-3.
Mankins needs help getting off of the field. This would be a huge blow for the Patriots if it’s serious.
Blount taunts his way into the end zone following a 36 yard run. Awful defense by the Bills.
Mario Williams brings down Ridley after a five yard gain.
The Patriots pick up another first down after Ridley gains 9 yards. The Patriots’ running backs are gashing the Bills.
Blount picks up another first down for the Patriots and picks up another nine yards on the next play.
Edelman gains 12 yards on second down to move the chains. This is Edelman’s 100th reception of the year.
Blount gains nine yards on first down to end the first quarter. Blount’s bruising style is working well against the Bills.
Buffalo is forced to punt and Moorman punts the ball to New England’s six yard line.
Chandler lets a pass bounce right off of his hands on 3rd down. It would have led to an easy first down.
Spiller gains six yards on second down.
Lewis throws away a pass on first down after having a Patriots player in his face.
Lewis finds Robert Woods open for 27 yards on third down.
On second down, Jackson picks up one yard. This will lead to a 3rd and 5 for the Bills.
Jackson picks up 4 yards on first down.
The Patriots kickoff goes into the end zone for a touch back.
Gostkowski’s 35 yard field goal is good and the Patriots lead 6-3.
Brady finds Edelman on 3rd and 9 for a gain of seven yards. It’ll lead to a field goal attempt for the Patriots. Jairus Byrd was injured on the play and is getting tended to on the field.
On 2nd and 10 Brady throws an inaccurate pass to Edelman. Jerry Hughes applied pressure to Tom Brady on the play.
The Patriots get called for illegal motion at the snap, but Buffalo declines.
Ridley breaks off a 29 yard gain on 2nd down.
Brady throws it deep on first down but it’s overthrown. Dobson comes up limping after the game.
Edelman picks up the first down on 3rd and 2.
It’s 3rd and 2 after a short completion.
Ridley gains four yards on first down after movement is not called on the Patriots.
Pass interference is still called even though the ball was thrown out of bounds.
A late flag comes in on first down, but the ball was thrown out of bounds.
Vereen takes the kickoff out of the end zone to the 23 yard line.
Dan Carpenter hits a 51 yard field goal to tie the game at three.
Lewis drops the ball and loses six yards on the play.
Spiller loses two yards on second down as the Patriots were ready for Spiller to bounce the ball outside.
Jackson picks up three yards on a first down carry.
Marquise Goodwin brings in a 22 yard pass for a first down.
Fred Jackson gains three yards on his first carry of the day. Sets up a 3rd and 7.
Evan Rodriguez misses a first down pass from Thad Lewis.
Spiller breaks off a nice 24 yard run on 2nd and 9. The Bills have the ball on New England’s 45 yard line.
Spiller picks up one yard on first down.
The Bills will start at the 30 after a nice return from Marcus Easley.
Stephen Gostkowski hits a 43 yard field goal to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead.
Brady’s third down pass gets batted up in the air but falls harmlessly to the ground.
Brady has Amendola wide open on 2nd and 7, but Amendola drops the pass.
Blount with a short gain on first down. A few minutes ago the CBS announcers notified viewers that Marcell Dareus has been suspended for the first half.
On 3rd and 8, Vereen picks up 7 yards and fumbles. The Patriots recover and get a first down.
Blount runs the ball for 2 yards.
Brady tosses up a prayer on first down and Gilmore almost intercepts him.
Seeing the play again, that’s a very ticky-tack call on Gilmore.
Gilmore gets called for defensive holding on third down, which gives the Patriots a first down.
Brady goes long on third down and throws the pass out of bounds.
Manny Lawson stops Blount for a two yard gain. Third and three coming up for the Patriots.
On first down, Blount takes the ball five yards to Buffalo’s 45 yard line.
Brady uses play-action to hit Dobson for a six yard gain.
Blount picks up five yards on first down. The Patriots are intent on running the ball early.
Blount is proving to be difficult to bring down as he picks up the first down on his second carry.
Blount takes the first carry of the game nine yards.
Shane Vereen takes the kickoff to the 24 yard line after the Bills deferred the ball.
As we approach kickoff, expect sloppy conditions at Gillette Stadium. It’s been raining for a good portion of the day.
Miami finds themselves down 13 with 2:59 to play. The Dolphins’ uninspired play is surprising considering they were in the playoff hunt.
Pregame Reading: Eric Samulski previews the top storylines and matchups in Buffalo’s season finale.
In case you couldn’t view the picture, here are the Patriots’ inactives:
Jake Bequette, Chris Barker, Isaac Sopoaga, Alfonzo Dennard, Devin McCourty, Steve Beauharnais, Josh Boyce.
New England’s inactives were also tweeted out by the team’s official Twitter account:
Today’s inactives pic.twitter.com/EKdH8qNVD5
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 29, 2013