Patriots Pick Six: Defense, Special Teams Struggle In Loss To Bills


FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots are not going 16-0. Oh, and Tom Brady isn’t a system quarterback.

There goes two popular narratives in the New England area.

And if Patriots fans are looking for a silver lining after New England’s 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, it’s that the non-system quarterback will return to action next week against the Cleveland Browns.

This was the Patriots’ first home shutout loss since 1993, when a different rookie quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, was starting.

The Patriots’ defense gave up 378 yards, and their offense responded with just 277 of their own.

Here’s who stood out positively and negatively in the Patriots’ Week 4 loss.

Up: Bennett led the Patriots with 109 receiving yards on five catches and six targets, and he was in a comfortable place as the best player on a terrible offense. Bennett moves incredibly well and smooth for a 275-pound player.

Up and down: It was an acceptable performance from a rookie quarterback, other than his lost fumble on a scramble in the first half. He lost the Patriots at least three points on the play. Otherwise, he completed 17 of 27 passes for 205 yards and had four carries for 23 yards.

Down: Hightower missed two games with a knee injury, and it showed in his return Sunday. He showed less suddenness and burst against the Bills and let up seven receptions for 40 yards, including one touchdown.

Up and down: Ryan allowed seven receptions on 11 targets for 58 yards, which isn’t terrible at 5.3 yards per attempt, but it’s also not ideal to allow that many completions.

On the flip side, Ryan had 17 combined tackles, which is the most I personally can remember from a cornerback. He was heavily involved in the running game when the Patriots’ defensive line and linebackers couldn’t stop the Bills’ rushing attack.

Down: Gostkowski missed another field-goal attempt — this one a 48-yarder. He also missed a field-goal try in Week 2.

Down: Jones unwisely brought the Bills’ first two kickoffs out of the end zone, giving the Patriots field position at their own 9- and 14-yard lines. He also muffed a punt late in the fourth quarter.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Oct 2, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) runs the ball against the New England Patriots in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

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