Bill Belichick warns his team about ‘sloppy’ play against the Bills
|11.08.12 at 4:30 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick didn’t need the reminder.
He knows what has happened the last three times his team has taken on the Bills. In each game, there’s been dramatic momentum swings with different results.
In 2011, the Patriots built a 21-0 lead in the first quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium and appeared well on their way to a 3-0 start to the season. Then their defense fell apart, Tom Brady threw interceptions and the Bills stormed back to win the game 34-31 on a field goal at the final gun.
Fast forward three months and the season finale at Gillette. It was the Bills who jumped out on the 12-3 Patriots 21-0 on New Year’s Day 2012. The Patriots woke up just in time and scored 49 straight points in a 49-21 demolition of Stevie Johnson and the Bills.
This year, on Sept. 30 in Western New York, the Patriots were down 21-7 in the third quarter. They then proceeded to score 38 straight points and devastated the Bills, 52-28. So, what gives?
“I think that’s one of the explosive parts of Buffalo’s game is that they’re able to go on runs and we’ve seen it before, where they’ll go 14, 17, 21 points and they go on a run,” Belichick said. “Of course that comes with big plays on offense, big plays in the kicking game, turnovers on defense. You just can’t relax against this team because they’re so explosive. They can take the ball away from you, they can score in the kicking game and they’re certainly capable of scoring from pretty much anywhere on the field offensively, whether its with [C.J.] Spiller, [Stevie] Johnson, [Donald] Jones, [Scott] Chandler, Fred Jackson, pick a guy.”
Then there are other parts of the game, too, as Belichick reminded everyone.
“They’re all dangerous and of course [Leodis] McKelvin in the kicking game,” he added. “They’ve blocked a lot of kicks, field goals in particular with [Alex] Carrington and [Marcel] Dareus and McKelvin coming off the edge on that. You send your team out there, you think you’re going to score and they block it and then they’re scoring. Kyle Williams is another big play guy.”
Then Belichick reminded us that it was Jairus Byrd who picked off two passes against the Cardinals, helping the Bills come from behind and beat Arizona in overtime.
“They have enough guys that if you’re sloppy around them, Byrd, like Arizona was, [took] a couple away, turned that game that it looked like Arizona was going to win into a Buffalo victory,” Belichick said. “It just doesn’t take much. They have very explosive offensive and special teams units. They take the ball away on defense and create big plays on that side of the ball too. Like you said, if you’re not alert and you’re sloppy with them, they’ll make you pay. I think we’ve certainly been the victim of that, as have a lot of other teams. We have to do everything we can to not let that happen.”
On Sept. 30, it was the Patriots who took advantage of six Bills turnovers to score 38 straight points in the 52-28 blowout.
“We didn’t score on any of the turnovers but we turned the ball over and then offensively we capitalized on the field position,” Belichick said. “Turning the ball over is half the battle and then capitalizing on it is the other half of the battle. That hasn’t been a great strength of ours all year but it was in that particular game. We have to do a better job of that when we do get the turnovers. We’ve been fortunate to get a pretty good number of them in the first half the season. We have to convert them into more points than we have. That’s another thing that we can definitely improve on here.”
Weather doesn’t figure to be a factor in contributing to turnovers on Sunday as clear skies and temperatures in the 60s are expected. The nor’easter that forced the Patriots indoors on Wednesday and Thursday should be a thing of the past.
“It doesn’t look like that’s going to be the forecast for Sunday, although who knows,” Belichick said. “We’ve dealt with plenty of wind and a decent amount of rain this season. We’ll try to get some timing and playing conditions will be a little more game-like that we expect it to be. I’m not a meteorologist so I’m not sure how that’s going to turn out but it looks like it’s going to go through.”