And you thought the season opening loss to the New York Jets was deflating? A complete collapse by the defense, a self destruction by the offense and two new injuries to the unit that had been the best part of the team in the first quarter of the season all added up in yet another miserable day at the hands of the hated New England Patriots.
So much for closing the gap on the Patriots, huh? In the last five games against the kings of the division, the Bills have given up point totals of 52, 49, 31, 38 and 38. That is a grand total of 208 points or an average of 41 a game.
For me, this matchup was all about the Bills defense. If they are indeed going to close that gap or maybe I should say gulf between themselves and the Pats, Buffalo needs to have a strong defense that can at the very least keep Tom Brady in check or beat him from time to time.
In fact, when the Bills took a 21-7 lead with 11:08 left in the third quarter, I wrote in my notes that a strong defense closes this game out and this is what could make the 2012 Bills different than so many other Bills teams.
The defense was then torched by Brady and company who scored touchdowns on their next six possessions. Here’s the rundown:
How bad was the defense in that stretch? Only two times in those six possessions did the Bills ever get the Pats to a third down. New England converted both, a TD pass to Danny Woodhead on one drive and a third and nine conversion on a pass play to Wes Welker on another.
The Bills defense gave up 580 total yards, the second worst day in franchise history. Amazing when you think about all the times Brady and company put a hurting on this organization.
Shockingly, the Bills run defense looked like the 2011 edition as they were shredded by Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden. Both topped 100 yards, the first time the Pats had two backs top the century mark in the same game since 1982. Buffalo gave up nine rushes of at least ten yards.
Mario Williams, the big ticket free agent pickup was invisible and don’t tell me about how he gets double teamed. I’m guessing defensive ends like Jared Allen and J.J. Watt and even a linebacker/pass rusher like Clay Mathews face double teams but they find a way to get to quarterbacks.
The Bills linebackers were completely useless and second year cornerback Justin Rogers was schooled by Wes Welker.
The offense had its issues as well, as six turnovers would attest. The Bills running game was a non factor on a day when both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller returned to the lineup. Buffalo came into the game averaging 178 yards a game but were limited to 98 by New England. They had averaged 5.6 yards per carry but it was 3.6 in this game.
Fitzpatrick, who was picked off three times by the Jets in week one, had four passes caught by Patriots players meaning he’s tossed 10 interceptions in the last three meetings with New England.
If this wasn’t enough bad news for you, the offensive line which had been superb up until this game, lost two starters in Cordy Glenn and Kraig Urbik for “a while” to ankle injuries according to Chan Gailey.
If the Bills are ever going to make the playoffs again, they have to start beating their division rivals and yet in both AFC East games this season, Gailey’s team has failed miserably. In case you were wondering, they have given up 100 points while losing to the Jets and Pats and dropping their record in division games to 4-22 since 2008.
Yes, its only one game but this was the Bills chance to step it up and show they had closed the gap with the “beasts of the east” and make a statement as they opened the toughest part of their schedule.
It was looking good at 21-7 early in the third quarter but then a fun day at the Ralph turned into another depressing disaster as the Pats went on a 35-0 romp over 15 ½ minutes of actual game time.
What’s that old saying? The more things change, the more they stay the same.