FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots’ banged-up and broken offense needed the defense to pick up some slack Monday night.
It did, allowing just 319 total yards to the Buffalo Bills, including 225 through the air and 3.1 yards per carry, in a 20-13 win at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots had to use creativity both offensively and defensively with too many injuries to wide receivers and cornerbacks. Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson‘s ailments forced the Patriots into using just two wide receivers in the fourth quarter. They went into the game with just three healthy cornerbacks and didn’t trust the No. 3 man, Rashaan Melvin, so they used three and sometimes four safeties to make up for the loss of Justin Coleman.
Check out the Patriots who stood out in against the Bills.
The Patriots’ No. 2 cornerback continues to play like a No. 1. He spent most of the game on Robert Woods, who only had success with three catches for 35 yards against zone coverage.
Ryan has been the Patriots’ most consistent cornerback this season, and his performance Monday night was no exception, allowing just two catches for 13 yards with a pass breakup.
White had his breakout game as the Patriots’ newest version of Kevin Faulk/Danny Woodhead/Shane Vereen/Dion Lewis. He caught two passes for 32 yards with a score, and had two carries for 14 yards and another touchdown.
White isn’t as shifty as Lewis, but he proved he can be effective in the role.
McCourty spent most of the game playing deep at free safety, though he did spend some time covering Bills tight end Charles Clay. McCourty was targeted twice and broke up two passes. He showed impressive range in breaking up a pass intended for Bills running back LeSean McCoy down the sideline in the end zone.
Amendola left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, but he accumulated 117 yards on nine catches and 12 targets in an increased workload with Julian Edelman out.
Amendola appeared to suffer the injury on a punt return, which begs the question why he was out there in the first place when he’s so important on offense.
Butler drew No. 1 wide receiver Sammy Watkins and gave up three catches for 39 yards on six targets. Butler allowed two catches for 22 yards in zone coverage, but he was nearly flawless in man as he stayed stride for stride with Watkins.
Butler was flagged for a 31-yard defensive pass interference penalty early in the fourth quarter.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images