Halftime analysis: Patriots 21, Bills 10
|09.25.11 at 2:32 pm ET|
The Patriots and Bills are done with two quarters in Buffalo, and New England holds a 21-10 lead on host Buffalo. Here are a few quick notes:
•As was the case over the first two games, the Patriots’ offense has been pretty crisp. New England scored on its first two opportunities, with Tom Brady connecting with wide receiver Wes Welker on a 14-yard scoring strike on the first drive and Rob Gronkowski on a one-yarder on the second. Brady also found Gronkowski with a 26-yarder in the second quarter to give New England a 21-0 lead midway through the second. Overall, Brady is 16-for-22 for 222 yards and three touchdowns.
•However, he ended the half with an interception — his second of the season — when Buffalo defensive back Bryan Scott made a great interception on a tipped ball deep in Bills’ territory. (Buffalo turned that into a field goal just before the end of the half to make it 21-10.)
•Defensively, the Patriots were able to put the brakes on the Bills’ offense with a pair of picks from cornerback Kyle Arrington. The Hofstra product collected the first on the Bills’ second play from scrimmage on a tipped ball, and his second came when Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (who ended the first half 20-for-28 for 224 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions) tried to force the ball into double coverage. Buffalo was able to cut the deficit to 21-7 with just under two minutes left when Fitzpatrick hit Stevie Johnson over Devin McCourty on a 15-yard pass play.
•Overall, as was the case last week with the Chargers, Buffalo has been able to get big chunks of yards (primarily in the passing game), and the Patriots haven’t been able to get much pressure on Fitzpatrick. But the Patriots have made the plays (namely, the turnovers) and have played well enough on third down to keep the Bills at bay for much of the first two quarters.
•The Patriots have gotten a very good performance out of their special teamers. Zoltan Mesko, who was a question mark coming into the game because of a knee injury, punted twice and looked very solid. (He got off a 57-yarder in the second quarter.) New England has also done an excellent job at containing Buffalo’s kick and punt returns, with Matthew Slater and Ross Ventrone picking up special teams tackles.
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