By: Steve Balestrieri
The New England Patriots using a big ground game to go along with a 340 yard passing effort from Tom Brady to pound the Buffalo Bills 52-28 Sunday in Buffalo.
Here’s a look at the Up and Down category for the Patriots.
Sebastian Vollmer (w/OL getting a thumbsup as a whole)– Vollmer? Vollmer you say? Remember that big free-agent signing made by Buffalo in the off-season? Mario Williams was brought in bring pressure on Tom Brady and end a decade of frustration for the Bills. The Patriots OL heard naysayers all summer long about their inability to keep Brady upright.
How many times was Williams named on Sunday? 0 stands for zero. SeaBass dominated the high price pass rusher and he helped an offensive line that punched the much bally-hooed Bills DL in the mouth to the tune of nearly 600 yards of offense including 247 on the ground.
Devin McCourty- McCourty was unfairly (as least in my seats) criticized for poor play in the loss to the Ravens. How did he respond? By blanketing Stevie Johnson for most of the day and getting two interceptions, the second being one for the highlight reels by undercutting the route and leaping to make the pick. Nice way of responding.
Brandon Spikes- Before the game, the writers for PatsFans pick an offensive and defensive player of the game who we feel will make the most impact. Needing to stop the Bills 178 yard per game ground game, Spikes was my choice and he delivered in spades. And did he deliver….his two bone-jarring hits causing fumbles was a huge turn of events and the Patriots front seven held Buffalo to 64 yards rushing.
Honorable Mention- Brandon Bolden, Stevan Ridley,Vince Wilfork, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady. Anyone of those six could easily make the above list.
Stephen Gostkowski- The normally very reliably Gostkowski missed two very makeable FGs in the first half when the game was still very much in doubt. Not a good sign for the veteran kicker.
Steve Gregory- Horrible coverage down the middle for the vast majority of the game, allowing Buffalo easy catches with the TEs and RBs. Late in adjusting, terrible angles in covering, none so evident on the 6 yard slant to Donald Jones that resulted in a 68 yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter.
Pat Chung- See above. Awful game.