The last time the Patriots lost to the Bills … well, you know how long ago it was. Eight years and a month separated the two Bills wins, and both came in catastrophic fashion. The first saw 600-pounder Sam Adams rumbling and tumbling to the end zone, and the most recent saw Tom Brady throw an inexplicable four interceptions.
How'd it all happen? Let's try to figure that out and get into some noteworthy events from Sunday's shocking game.
–You can forgive Brady for thinking he could just casually hit Rob Gronkowski up the seam in the fourth quarter. He had done it all day long, and Gronkowski was in all-out beast mode, so really, he might have made that pass with his eyes closed, just to up the degree of difficulty.
–I've lobbied for years that there needs to be a statistic that absolves quarterbacks of getting tagged as responsible for all interceptions. If you hit your receiver in his hands and he can't haul it in, why should your stats take the hit? That thought certainly applied to Ryan Fitzpatrick's first pick, and it may have applied to Brady's pick right before half. Actually, give Brady a half of a pick, because it wasn't a great throw, but Danny Woodhead deserves a half-pick, too. This could be fun. Which receiver would lead the league in interceptions?
—Chad Ochocinco is not very good at football anymore. It's safe to say that, right? He had Leodis McKelvin (previously only famous for his bonehead play in Week 1 of 2009) completely beat, but Ochocinco ran an awful route. McKelvin easily stepped in front for the pick. And the drop on the surefire touchdown? That happens to everyone at some point, but for Ochocinco, that's a mistake he can't afford to make. Not right now.
–And the pick that went off a defensive lineman's helmet? That's just football, and it speaks more to how lucky Brady was last year during his interception-less streak than it does about how unlucky he was on Sunday.
–Has anyone told Marv Albert that Bryan Scott intercepted that pass yet? It took ol' Marv about 10 seconds before he said, "And apparently, Scott came away with it." Apparently?! Why are the announcers even there if we can see the game better from our couches?
–Side note: That interception was phenomenal. To scoop that ball just before it hit the turf and be able to stay inbounds was incredible athleticism.
–More on Marv: Why did it take three quarters for a producer to get into Albert's ear and tell him that Julian Edelman's name is pronounced "ED-ull-man," not "AYD-ul-man"? I'll forgive you for referring to Jerod Mayo as "Gerard" Mayo, because everyone does that, but AYD-ul-man? Come on, Marv.
–Do the Patriots not play Madden? You let that guy score the touchdown 10 times out of 10 to give yourself a chance to tie the game late in the game. Knocking him down just short of the goal line effectively loses the game for you with a lot of time left on the clock. That's Madden 101.
–Why was that timeout in the fourth quarter so confusing? Why were we all so oblivious to the fact that the clock was going to run as soon as the ref spotted the ball on the 1-yard line? It wasn't just fools like me, either. The announcing crew of Albert and Rich Gannon were both perplexed, as were reporters who wondered what was going on by way of Twitter. They even had to send a pool reporter down to get an explanation from the ref after the game. It was a pretty simple situation that nobody — myself included — seemed to be able to understand in the moment.
–On the plus side, it did lead to Belichick saying, "I took it" and "We took it" about 11 times in his postgame news conference. That was funny.
–If you're looking for a positive, at least Stevan Ridley looked good in his limited playing time. He picked up 44 yards on seven carries, and just as importantly, he was solid in pass protection. If he can play like that, it becomes less and less likely you ever see Kevin Faulk activated off the PUP list. Did I just turn a positive into a negative? Sorry.
–Remember Deion Branch? You may not have noticed him on Sunday, when he had no catches. It's bizarre how he can have seven catches in Week 1, eight in Week 2 and zero in Week 3. Though with the way Wes Welker was torching the defense, it makes a little more sense.
–Speaking of Welker, there's just nothing you have to say about him. Sixteen catches, 217 yards and two touchdowns would represent a decent season for some slot receivers, but that's what Welker was able to accomplish in 60 minutes. Maybe they oughta let him play some defense.
–Welker and Gronkowski accounted for 23 of Brady's 30 completions. That's 77 percent. They also combined for 326 of Brady's 387 passing yards. That's 84 percent. You'd think at some point, Buffalo would have just doubled both of them and dared Ochocinco, Branch or Woodhead to beat them.
–If the touchdown to Scott Chandler wasn't the most embarrassing moment for a Bill Belichick-coached defense, then I don't know what is. When you lose a track of a 6-foot-7 tight end, you have some issues. The play was reminiscent of the preseason game against Detroit, when the defense looked absolutely dumbfounded in the red zone. It's hard to even tell who was responsible for this one. Rob Ninkovich tried to bump Chandler off the line (he pretty much whiffed) and then rushed the quarterback, Mayo followed a receiver on a crossing route and Brandon Spikes was left standing in no-man's land. It was truly as ugly as ugly gets.
–Speaking of the defense, many of us who believed the D's numbers were only bad because of garbage-time stats were proven very, very wrong. The defense just needed to be mediocre on Sunday to win the game, but instead it was just dreadful. The Pats now rank 32nd in the league in passing yards allowed, which is, in layman's terms, pretty bad. The good news? They're first in passing themselves, which means you should expect a few more of these heart-attack games as the season goes along. Fun!
–If people are going to say Peyton Manning deserves an MVP Award for his absence on the Colts this year, then you better give Patrick Chung some Defensive Player of the Year recognition. In his absence, Sergio Brown, James Ihedigbo and Josh Barrett looked like chickens running around with their heads cut off. In just two years, Chung has gone from rookie getting his feet wet to second-year guy who's pretty good to invaluable member of the defense. I don't think the Patriots win many games this year with Chung out of action.
–Has the term "uncatchable" become completely obsolete at this point? There's no doubt that Brown interfered with David Nelson on the ball that Barrett intercepted, but the only place Nelson had a chance at catching that ball might have been The Matrix. It was 5 yards behind him and 5 yards to his right — uncatchable. That penalty was without question the biggest call of the game, and it shouldn't have been made.
–What was with the repeated shots of Bills fans giving the thumbs-down in the crowd? Thumbs-down? Really? I haven't given a legitimate thumbs-down since I was probably 5 years old. I feel like as humans, we just evolved beyond the thumbs-down at some point. Let's try to use our words next time, Bills fans. OK?
–Speaking of Bills fans, how about the guy in the front row showing off his Jim Kelly jersey to the camera? It's always a great sign for a franchise when your fans sport the jersey of a guy who retired 15 years ago.
–After the Bills won, NESN's Jeff Howe tweeted that the New England media was taunted by the press box announcer, who screamed, "How do you like that, New England?" This prompted many fans to say the Bills need to "act like they've been there before." Problem is, most of them have never been there before, or it was so long ago that they literally can't remember. Let 'em celebrate.
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