NFL Wire News

Bills-Patriots: What we learned


Foxboro, Mass. — The Buffalo Bills defeated the New England Patriots 17-9 on Sunday afternoon in a game that did not have playoff implications for either AFC East rival.

The Patriots lifted Tom Brady at halftime after trailing 17-6. New England, which already clinched home field advantage in the AFC Playoffs last week, rested several notable players including tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Buffalo, meanwhile, had no shot at qualifying for the playoffs after a disappointing loss to the Raiders last week. The Bills’ defense forced four sacks and held New England to 260 total yards in the season-ending win.

What the Bills said:

“I think the thing that sums it up is how good we truly can be. We still have a lot of growing to do and that’s the positive.” – DE Mario Williams

What the Patriots said:

“We’re confident. We have a lot of confidence on offense. We’ve been able to score points against a lot of good teams, a lot of good defenses. Nothing that we’ve done this past season is going to help in two weeks from now.” – QB Tom Brady

What we learned about the Bills:

1.Buffalo had a decent season but still missed the playoffs for the 15th straight season. A loss at Oakland the previous week knocked Buffalo out of playoff contention, but they were able to beat a depleted New England club to finish at 9-7 and finish with their first winning season since 2004.

2.That they can sack as well as anyone in the NFL. They came into Sunday’s game leading the NFL in sacks and added four in the finale, three on backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was running for his life.

–QB Kyle Orton had a solid day in Sunday’s season-ending victory over the depleted New England Patriots. In clearing the 3,000-yard passing mark for the third time in his career, Orton was 16 of 26 for 176 yards and a touchdown. “I think any time you step on the field it’s important,” Orton said. “We played hard for each other and it’s great whenever you get a winning season and win the last game against your rival. It was a good accomplishment for us today.”

–WR Sammy Watkins caught three passes for 57 yards in the finale but came up 18 yards short of becoming the 10th rookie with 1,000 receiving yards.

–WR Robert Woods needed five catches to break the Bills record for receptions in a receiver’s first two seasons. He had four in the game, leaving him tied for the team mark with Jerry Butler, who had 105 in 1979-80.

What we learned about the Patriots:

1.The regular season finale really meant nothing to New England and they played that way. With an NFL roster consisting of just 53 players, somebody had to play in the finale. While several key players were inactive, Tom Brady played a half. As a result, the defeat was predictable.

2.The bye week will help a bruised team recover. The offensive line, which saw left tackle Nate Solder go down with a knee injury on Sunday, is banged up and the Pats can use the time off to get their bodies healthy for their first playoff game.

–QB Tom Brady went 8 of 16 for 80 yards before he was lifted at halftime. Brady finished the season 373 of 584 for 4,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions; Sunday marked the only game this season he didn’t have a touchdown pass.

–Rookie Jimmy Garoppolo, under siege after replacing Brady, was 10 of 17 for 90 yards and showed some nifty escape moves despite being sacked three times. “I thought Jimmy competed well,” said coach Bill Belichick. “He was under some pressure some things were good, other things could have been better.”

–TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Julian Edelman were both among the inactives for the Patriots. Edelman missed his second straight game with a concussion, finishing with a team-high 92 catches for 972 yards and four touchdowns. Gronkowski finished the regular season with 82 catches for 1,124 yards and 12 TDs.

–OT Nate Solder came up hobbling on an injured left knee late in the first half Sunday. He didn’t return. The Patriots started the game without injured offensive lineman Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer.

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