Patriots defense does the heavy lifting as they beat Bills



Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots

You don’t get to 10-0 by being one-dimensional, and the New England Patriots are far from that.

The Patriots’ offense gets a lot of attention, which happens when you have the MVP favorite at quarterback. The defense, however, played really well on Monday night in a workmanlike 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Cornerback Malcolm Butler mostly took Bills receiver Sammy Watkins out of the game, tight endCharles Clay had a quiet night and for the most part the Pats kept running back LeSean McCoy in front of them. Late in the game, when the Patriots had a seven-point lead, they ran into the line three straight times and punted, trusting the defense wouldn’t give up the lead at the end. And New England’s defense came through, never letting the Bills cross midfield before time ran out.

The final result was just one touchdown for the Bills and a fairly mundane victory for New England.

The Patriots have shown a bit of vulnerability in the past couple games that they very rarely did in the first eight. They needed to convert a fourth-and-10 and hit a long field goal to beat the New York Giants, and on Monday night the Bills got the ball back inside the two-minute warning with a chance to at least tie. Injuries have played a part in the Patriots seeming a little less than indestructible.

he offensive line is banged up. Julian Edelman is out for a while. On Monday night, receiver Aaron Dobson was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury. Danny Amendola played well, but came out of the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. They’re missing a lot.

The Patriots had scored points in 38 straight quarters, but that NFL record streak came to an end with a scoreless fourth quarter. Tom Brady wasn’t sacked a lot but he was hit often, as Rex Ryan’s Bills threw a lot of different blitzes at him.

Without many healthy receivers to worry about, the Bills took Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski out of the game, holding him to two catches for 37 yards. Brady had a fairly quiet night too, with 277 yards and a touchdown on 39 attempts. We’re used to seeing the Patriots go up and down the field, so Monday night was unusual.

It won’t get easier next week for the Patriots. They visit the Denver Broncos, who have the NFL’s best defense. But the Patriots have a cushion at 10-0. The most pressing question the rest of the way is if they can complete a 16-0 season again. The defense made sure that dream stayed alive for another week.


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