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Matchup Winners: Brady too much for Bills

When the Patriots ran:

Edge: Bills

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Early on this had the makings of a Patriots edge despite the fact that New England didn't run much. Dion Lewis had a nice 6-yard touchdown run and on the rare occasions the Patriots kept it on the ground there were some yards. But that changed as the game wore on and the Patriots didn't find much room and also proved to be unwilling to even try to run the clock out. LeGarrette Blount had just two carries for 5 yards and couldn't pick up a late first down. When it was all said and done the Patriots picked up just 56 yards on 15 carries, good for only 3.7 yards per attempt. Lewis led the way for the second straight week and finished with 40 yards on seven carries – solid production in limited opportunities. The inability to put the ball in the running back's hands prevented the Patriots from holding the edge but more importantly it put the outcome of the game needlessly in jeopardy.

When the Patriots passed:

Edge: Patriots

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As is normally the case the Patriots won the game behind an incredible effort from their quarterback. Tom Brady completed 38 of 59 passes for 466 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating of 105.6 was his second over 100 in as many weeks. His ability to pick apart a talented Bills defense was paramount to the team's success as he worked the ball downfield to Rob Gronkowski (seven catches, 113 yards, 1 TD) and Aaron Dobson (six catches, 87 yards). In between he used Julian Edelman (11 catches, 97 yards, 2 TDs) and Lewis (six catches, 98 yards) effectively as the Bills secondary had no answers and the young offensive line did a great job of keeping him clean. Brady was sacked just twice on 61 dropbacks against a fierce front four. About the lone negative came when Jerry Hughes strip sacked Brady late to give Buffalo life down the stretch. Otherwise it was another vintage Brady performance. 

When the Bills ran:

Edge: Bills

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For a pretty significant portion of the game the Patriots did a great job against LeSean McCoy and the Bills running game, and had New England not allowed the Bills a chance to tie at the end the edge probably would have gone to the visitors despite the totals. But the Bills did have the ball down just 8 with plenty of time on the clock, and the Bills also racked up 160 yards on the ground on 27 attempts, translating to a healthy 5.9 yards a pop. McCoy looked strong despite nursing a sore hamstring, shooting out of the gates early before being limited to 15 carries by the score. He finished with 89 yards. Tyrod Taylor tacked on 43 yards on five attempts, most of which were scrambles that shouldn't necessarily be pinned on the run defense, but he and rookie Karlos Williams easily found the end zone on designed runs from in close. Overall the performance was not as bad as the numbers indicate as the Patriots new-look beefy front that included Alan Branch and Sealver Siliga did a better job than in Week 1.

When the Bills passed:

Edge: Patriots

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Taylor had some moments where fans could see why the Bills are so excited about their new quarterback. He fired three touchdown passes and ran for another while buying time to make plays downfield. He completed 23 of 30 passes overall for 242 yards, but he also threw three costly interceptions, all of which were overthrows of open receivers. Sammy Watkins caused trouble all day and caught six passes for 60 yards and a touchdown, and he was open on at least two other occasions when Taylor missed him. Robert Woods had 60 yards as well but it took him just three receptions, one of which went for a touchdown. The Patriots front seven pushed this matchup in the visitors' favor as the group dominated large stretches of the day. Taylor was sacked eight times and was uncomfortable on many others. Chandler Jones had three sacks and Jamie Collins chipped in with 2.5. Both represented career highs. The pressure forced Taylor to move around, and that's when his mistakes generally came. The front did a great job of taking away escape lanes, and eventually that led to the turnovers.

Special Teams:

Edge: Patriots

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The Patriots dominated this matchup is so many ways it's hard to mention them all. The Bills somehow managed to commit five special teams penalties in the first half alone, and that was before kicker Dan Carpenter missed an extra point. Buffalo's lack of poise was evident in all phases but especially in the kicking game. When the Bills weren't getting flagged for overzealousness they were allowing Danny Amendola to average 13 yards on three punt returns, including an impressive 28-yarder to set up a short field late in the first quarter. Seven of Stephen Gostkowski's nine kickoffs resulted in touchbacks and Ryan Allen boomed a 54-yard punt on his only attempt. Even when Buffalo appeared to make a solid play on special teams, Randell Johnson's illegal block negated a 30-yard Marcus Thigpen punt return and pushed the ball back from the Patriots 46 to the Bills 28. The only minor blemish for the Patriots was a running into the kicker penalty on Rufus Johnson, but the 5-yard miscue did not result in a first down.

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