FOXBOROUGH — Everything you need to know from the Patriots’ loss to the Bills in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:
Patriots pushed around on their own field: Many of us never thought we'd see the day, but the New England Football Club of Bill Belichick was pushed around all over Gillette Stadium by the Bills in all three phases in building a 31-9 lead early in the third quarter. It was over at that point. Sean McDermott knew this was going to happen, and was happy to put it on the Patriots. The Bills went for it three times on fourth down in the first half when they had only done it seven times the entire season leading in. The Bills smelled blood in the water, and pounced. The Bills had to take much glee that they were able to secure New England's first losing season since 2000 on national television and at Gillette Stadium.
"We didn't have much direction," Belichick said. "Just the combination of things. Protection, dropped balls, lack of good execution. We just didn't execute the passing game well, and they played well defensively with their pressure. They covered well. They did a better job than we did."
Belichick starts Cam Newton, who gets pulled in 3rd: Belichick made a lot of news swatting away questions about whether or not the team would start Jarrett Stidham for the final two games since the Patriots were eliminated. Belichick stayed stubborn, gave Newton a whole week of first-team reps ... for nothing. His final line before getting pulled:
We should point out that Newton did have the lone offensive highlight — a scramble where he broke two tackles to produce New England's only touchdown in several quarters.
Defense gets abused: The Patriots were able to play somewhat close on the first drive and a half, but after that, the Bills put on the afterburners and basically did whatever they wanted to with as New England forced just one punt in the first three quarters:
Don't leave out special teams: Belichick's baby, his special teams, has a chance to get Buffalo off the field on their second possession on a 4th and 5 punt. But the Patriots didn't cover either gunner, the Bills snapped the ball to the upback who threw 13 yards for a first down. The drive ended with Buffalo's first touchdown.
🚨 FAKE PUNT 🚨
The Bills went into their bag of tricks for this one.
— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) December 29, 2020