ORCHARD PARK, N.Y — The Patriots showed their human side on Sunday in Buffalo, and it wasn’t very glamorous. After bursting out of the gates with a three-touchdown lead, the Patriots sealed their fate with turnovers, penalties and plenty of other mistakes.
They fell to 2-1 with a 34-31 loss to the Bills, and they’ve got to travel across the country to pick themselves up again. It’s not an easy task.
Here is this week’s Patriots report card.
Jeff Howe: D
Tom Brady‘s four interceptions led to 24 points for the Bills. Two of them were due to deflections, but if you take away the other two — one to a covered Chad Ochocinco and another badly underthrown ball to Rob Gronkowski toward the end zone — the Patriots would have won without much turbulence.
Jeff Howe: D
No defense for this performance. The Patriots have the tools to create more pressure with their front-seven talent, but they rarely blitz. It might be time to get a little more aggressive.
Jeff Howe: B
No mistakes, no big plays.
Jeff Howe: C
How much heat can the coaching staff take for the interceptions, a big drop and untimely penalties? Not much, if any. However, it’s still eye-opening when Bills running back Fred Jackson says they can empty the backfield and know exactly what the Patriots’ defense will do. That’s the type of stuff you don’t hear too often from a Patriots opponent, and it’s another indication that the Patriots need to mix it up a little more on defense.
Jeff Howe: B+
The Bills are good, but they’ve got a long way to go before making a legitimate playoff push. But hey, if they’re tough enough to withstand a 21-point deficit, then good for them.
Jeff Howe: Wes Welker
His record-setting performance will be forever remembered in the Patriots’ history books, but his effort on the two fourth-down conversions in the final quarter was the most impressive part of his game, leaping and withstanding a hit on the first reception and then fighting through tackles to score a touchdown on the second conversion.
Jeff Howe: Kyle Arrington
There weren’t many bright performances, but Arrington had two interceptions and played a pretty good game, mostly lining up in the slot.