Orchard Park, NY - The streak of the Patriots defense not allowing a touchdown came to an end on Sunday, however the Patriots managed to come up with a 16-10 win in Buffalo. It was a sloppy game, but New England improved to a 4-0 record. Here is what we can take away from the game:
1. Devin McCourty - McCourty had yet another interception in today’s game. That marks four straight games that McCourty has come up with an interception.
2. J.C. Jackson - Today was arguably Jackson’s best game as a Patriot. He had two interceptions and a blocked punt. One interception came in the third quarter when Jackson did a tremendous job staying inbounds down the left sideline. On a day when the offense struggled to produce, it were plays like the ones Jackson made that kept the Patriots ahead.
3. Jake Bailey - Last week’s special teams’ player of the week stepped up once again. As the Patriots offense struggled, Bailey’s punts played a significant role in terms of field position. After a poor offensive series by the Patriots in the fourth quarter when the Patriots were stuck deep in Bills territory, the rookie had a 61-yard punt that gave the defense some room to work with. Bailey punted the ball nine times and averaged over 48 yards per punt.
4. Kyle Van Noy - The linebacker was consistently disruptive on Sunday. He had six tackles and two sacks, one coming at a crucial point in the fourth quarter.
1. Stephen Gostkowski - It may be time for the Patriots to address the kicker position. Gostkowski has struggled this season, and today was no different as he missed an extra point after the Patriots first touchdown of the game.
2. Sony Michel - The second-year RB has struggled early on this season. Sunday was another example of that. His struggles showed the most in red zone situations. Last year, Michel was the go-to back in the red area, but this season, Michel has not been able to get it going. Some Michel’s lack of production could be related to struggles of the offensive line, but overall, the running back has looked off this season.
3. Tom Brady - The quarterback threw his first interception of the season, and it changed the tone of the game. It wasn’t just the interception that made Brady’s stock fall, he didn’t look right all day. He was 18 of 39 for 150 yards. He struggled to connect with receivers throughout the day and looked uncomfortable under pressure. Brady was also called for an intentional grounding penalty in the first half.
4. Offense - It wasn’t just Brady and Michel, as a unit the Patriots offense struggled on Sunday in Buffalo. The struggles running the ball continued, and it seemed like Brady and the receivers were having some communication issues. The Patriots were 5 of 17 on third down and averaged a gain of less than four yards per play. Nothing came easy for the Patriots offense in Buffalo.