Posts Tagged ‘Gillette Stadium’

What to Watch For: Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

Sunday, December 28th, 2014
Ron Brooks will be in the spotlight Sunday as he fills in for injured Bills starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore. (Photo: Kyle Terada)

Ron Brooks will be in the spotlight Sunday as he fills in for injured Bills starting cornerback Stephon Gilmore. (Photo: Kyle Terada)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Much to the chagrin of Buffalo Bills fans and the delight of New England Patriots fans, Sunday’s regular-season finale between the two teams is essentially meaningless. The Bills, at 8-7, have been eliminated from the playoffs for a 15th consecutive year; the Patriots, at 12-3, have already clinched the AFC’s No. 1 postseason seed.

Still, there will be pride on the line in Sunday’s game, especially for the Buffalo Bills, who haven’t beat the New England Patriots in Gillette Stadium since 2000 and have lost 26 of their 28 games against the Patriots since. Additionally, a victory Sunday could secure the Bills’ first winning record since 2004, another year they went 9-7.

With that in mind, there’s still reason for Bills fans to watch Sunday’s season finale, and there’s still reason for the Bills to play as hard as they can to secure a win—but it’s also undeniable that everyone involved with the Bills should have one eye toward the offseason at this point. As much as the Bills will play for a W on Sunday, it will also be a final chance for both players and coaches to prove their worth to the Bills and/or to the league as a whole heading into 2015.

Here’s some of the dynamics that will be worth keeping an eye on Sunday.


Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots: Week 17 Live Game Thread

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

LeGarrette Blount gashed the Bills for 334 total yards Sunday. (Photo: Winslow Townson — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot

Final Thoughts:

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.


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