Scout’s Review: Bills vs. Patriots
by Greg Gabriel, Buffalo Sports Page NFL Expert
Going into yesterday’s Bills – Patriots game it was just about a must-win situation for the Bills if they are going to make it to the Playoffs for the first time since 1999. The Bills need to win at least nine games to have a shot at a wild card spot, and even that might not be enough. With the loss to the Patriots, the Bills need to win at least three of their next four games.
The Bills game opening drive looked to be a thing of perfection before disaster stuck. The Bills drove 66 yards and used up over seven minutes of clock getting down to the New England six yard line. On 1st and goal, Tyrod Taylor threw into quadruple coverage at the goal line and the pass was intercepted. On a drive that could have set the tone of the game, the Bills faltered and never really were in it after that.
Good Defense Not Enough
The Bills defense played well in the opening half but New England made the proper halftime adjustments and controlled the game in the second half. One of the problems the Bills had was similar to what we have seen in recent weeks. They couldn’t stop the run. Despite the Bills long opening drive, the Patriots held on to the ball for over 34 minutes and rushed for 191 yards on just 35 carries. That’s a 5.5 average per carry. You can’t win in the National Football League giving up that kind of yardage on the ground.
The Patriots were able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and that was the story of the game. What this game showed us is how far the Bills are behind the Patriots. If the Bills are going to compete with the Patriots in the future, they have to strengthen both lines as well as stabilize the quarterback situation. Going into the off season, that will be a primary need for the Bills in both free agency and the Draft.
Taylor Time Over?
Tyrod Taylor has shown again that he can’t play with any consistency from week to week. Granted, the knee injury he sustained on the opening play of the game affected his performance some but still he only completed 9 of 18 throws for a mere 65 yards. As has been the case all year, he is slow to get the ball out of his hand and struggles to find open receivers downfield.
Taylor was replaced by Nate Peterman in the fourth quarter when his knee tightened up. Though Peterman didn’t fare well, he still showed that he can make decisions and get the ball out of his hand far quicker than Taylor. With added experience, Peterman is easily an upgrade over Taylor regardless of how he played in Los Angeles two games ago.
Nest week the Bills host the struggling Indianapolis Colts. At this time its uncertain if Taylor will be able to play but if his knee is going to prevent him from moving around than he shouldn’t play. Peterman will most likely give the Bills the best chance to win as we know he can play from the pocket batter than Taylor can.
With the loss to the Patriots, the Bills have to beat Indianapolis or they are done as far as being a playoff contender for 2017. The Bills defense has to play like they did last week in Kansas City not yesterday versus New England. That means stopping the run and getting consistent pressure on the Jacoby Brissett.
That won’t be an easy task as the Bills could be without rookie start Tre’Davious White and defensive end Shaq Lawson who were both injured yesterday. We won’t know until later in the week what their status is.