The Patriots extended their winning streak to 18 games yesterday with a gutsy 31-17 win in Buffalo against the division rival. In The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo handles the game review, while Bob Ryanasserts that the team is tough to handle.
Adam Kilgore of the Globe writes Corey Dillon, despite another solid performance, is feeling stung by his one mistake. "Dillon rushed for 79 yards on 19 carries and the touchdown. He also caught three passes for 23 yards. But the day was somewhat bittersweet for the running back," writes Kilgore. "After the 31-17 New England victory over Buffalo, Dillon stewed about his one mistake, a fumble that could have been pointed to as the turning point had the Patriots lost."
Kilgore also notes the fourth quarter divergence of Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe that ultimately separated the two teams. "Yesterday, Brady excelled when it mattered most for his team, while Bledsoe wilted under pressure. And Brady's team won," writes Kilgore.
In The Boston Herald, Michael Felgerdissects the mistakes that could have cost the Patriots, and points out how the team found a way to win. Felger also has a full notebook, which includes injuries, the play of Neal, and Patriots miscues.
Kevin Mannix of the Herald looks at the relatively disastrous play of the Patriots special teams, who gave up some big plays and failed to make any of their own. "There were some positives, but it's hard to remember them right now," writes Mannix. "They were buried under an avalanche of mistakes and misplays by every aspect of the kicking game."
Michael Gee of the Herald lauds the performance of Brady in the face of a relentless Bills blitz attack. Gee also writes on the Patriots ability to handle unusual circumstances, of which there were many yesterday. "The Pats can do weird because, believe it or not, they practice it. Irrational moments are part of their game plan," writes Gee. "Belichick may not believe in the occult, but just in case he's wrong, the coach wants his players to know a few spells."
George Kimball of the Herald points out that the both teams were penalty-prone yesterday, and that fact, combined with three challenged plays and an injured referee, meant the game was anything but smooth. Kimball also breaks down the play that sealed the Bills fate: a fourth-down on which Tedy Bruschi forced a Bledsoe fumble that was picked up and returned for a touchdown by defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
Bill Hoppe of the Herald recounts Dillon's self-disgust after his first fumble since 2002. Hoppe also features the receiving corps, a unit that showed its depth yesterday after Troy Brown and Bethel Johnson joined Deion Branch on the sideline.
In The Providence Journal, Tom Currangives his game review, and highlights the depth of the offense. "With some teams, there would be talk of what they'd do without their No. 1 or No. 2 wide receiver. The Pats seem to have multiple 1's," writes Curran.
In his Patriots notebook, Curran mentions the poor play of the special teams, the slew of injuries that occurred in yesterday's physical game, and the NFL's stance that the Patriots have won only 15 in a row because they do not count playoff games.
Jim Donaldson of the Journal writes even on a bad day the Pats find ways to win. "If ever there was a game the Patriots could have -- arguably should have -- lost, it was yesterday against the Bills," writes Donaldson.
Donaldson also features the defensive unit, which was able to make some big plays against Bledsoe's offense.
Greenberg also highlights the consistently solid play of Brady, whose poise in the face of Buffalo's attack is a big reason the Patriots are 3-0. " It's also a credit to Brady, who is unsurpassed at turning a would-be sack into a harmless incompletion or into a clutch completion that leaves opponents shaking their heads," Greenberg writes.