E.J Manuel gunned two incredible touchdown passes to Robert Woods and Stevie Johnson.
The Buffalo Bills’ defense forced turnovers, resulting in 14 points.
Tom Brady fumbled the ball on a first and goal, his first one since 2011.
The outcome: Patriots 23, Bills 21. How did the Bills lose?
Penalties. The Bills racked up 10 penalties for 75 yards- a nice array of them. 12 men on the field, offsides, face mask, and holding. Two long Manuel passes to Johnson and Fred Jackson were called back, nixing potential scoring drives that the Bills needed. Take away both of those penalties and the Bills might be sitting at the top of the AFC East. Now, the Bills scrape the bottom, Miami, New York, and New England all winning their season openers.
Said Manuel about the penalties in his Postgame Press Conference:
“That was frustrating. When you have a big first down or a big play and then you get it called back, you definitely want to continue to fight those battles. But you kind of shoot yourself in the foot when you do that. As an offense we have to clean those things up.”
The Bills also struggled on third down conversions, something that plagued the team last year. They were 4-13 on third downs and only completed 15 first downs throughout the game. While the Bills defense played well on some plays, they missed a couple tackles on Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, who blew past defenders with extra yardage.
The absence of Bills’ cornerback Stephon Gilmore showed, the Buffalo defense unable to contain wide receiver Danny Amendola who racked up 100 plus yards. Running back Shane Vereen also burned the Bills with 159 total game yards. The Patriots held C.J. Spiller to only 41 yards.
A few three and outs for The Bills’ offense in the fourth quarter kept the game wide open for Tom Brady to work his rallying magic. He did. We lost.
The Bright Side. C’mon, Bills fans who are probably loading up on the fatty snacks today to cope with this heartbreaker. There are some reasons to bust out your apples and jump on your exercise bikes in Carolina Panthers preparation, our next opponent.
Fred Jackson proved he still has the juice on rushing and receiving, charging up the field for 108 yards. E.J. Manuel has two touchdowns under his belt and zero interceptions- one more touchdown than New York Jets’ rookie Geno Smith.
Leodis McKelvin and Marcel Dareus made some decent plays on defense.
Stevie Johnson did not disappoint, scoring a touchdown in the Bills’ season opener. This is the third time Johnson has snagged a touchdown in a season opener, making him the third Bills player to accomplish this feat.
Tom Brady was sacked.
For the next six days, keep focusing on the positive Bills fans. I will start you off.
There’s always next week.