It wasn’t by any means a classic but the New England Patriots got the victory against the Buffalo Bills 25-6 on Monday night.
After going 40 games without a defensive touchdown, Devin McCourty picked off journeyman Derek Anderson for an 85-yard interception return to put the game out of reach.
Big plays were hard to come by until the Buffalo native Rob Gronkowski caught a toe-tapping pass late in the third quarter to get the Patriots into the red zone, which led to a field goal. The following Patriots drive brought the first touchdown early in the fourth quarter after quarterback Tom Brady looked to Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan to get the team all the way down to the two-yard line.
The Bills knew all to well that they couldn’t beat the Patriots with talent and used uncharacteristic formations such as the wildcat and double reverses much to no avail. The Patriots got the ball moving drive after drive but stalled three times and settled for Stephen Gostowski field goals on four occasions.
Anderson finally took command with less than five minutes to go in the first half, completing his longest pass of the game to Andre Holmes giving up the unconventional plays for a traditional approach getting them across midfield. The Bills played it safe, however, running it LeSean McCoy on third down and long differing to Steven Hauschka to get three points to make the score 9-3.
Brady took command of the offense completing a 20-yard pass to Edelman along with completions to wide receiver Josh Gordon and Gronkowski to get in position for their fourth field goal of the night. Gostkowski missed his fourth field goal attempt to keep the score at 9-3 at the break.
The game consisted of the teams giving the ball back to each other until the Patriots broke it open with a touchdown from James White and the backbreaking interception at the end of the game. The Bills played their hearts out while the Patriots came in with half a playbook looking to do the bare minimum and come out healthy.
James White: White hammered home what everyone already knew—that he wasn’t a true every-down running back—but still maintains the status of being one of the best all-around weapons in the NFL in the passing game.
Cordarrelle Patterson: Despite being listed as a wide receiver, Patterson found himself plugged in at running back for the Patriots and led the team in rushing yards. Every team should have a Patterson in their toolbox.
Devin McCourty: McCourty ended a 40-game streak of no defensive touchdowns with his first interception of the season returned for a score.
Trey Flowers: Flowers is the team’s best defensive lineman and it isn’t even close. The Arkansas alum continuously caused a disturbance in the Bills’ backfield with six tackles.
Steven Gostkowski: Gostkowski was responsible for all of the Patriots’ points in the first half and went 80 percent on the night for field goals, as his only miss came on a 50-yard field goal to end the first half.