Patriots Struggle In Every Phase In First Foxboro Shutout Since 1993


FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots laid an egg on their home turf Sunday afternoon, failing to put a single point on the scoreboard in a 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

It was the Patriots’ first shutout loss since 2006 and their first at home since Nov. 28, 1993 — nine years before Gillette Stadium opened.

Coach Bill Belichick’s postgame news conference included a blunt assessment of his team’s performance.

“I didn’t think anything was good enough,” Belichick said. “Nothing was good enough at any position, in any phase of the game. It just wasn’t good enough.”

Belichick was right. The Bills outclassed the previously undefeated Patriots in every phase of the game, moving the ball at will on offense and continuously stymieing New England’s Jacoby Brissett-led offense.

A quick sampling of the Patriots’ mental and physical miscues:

— The team went 1-for-12 on third down.

— Brissett completed just one pass to a wide receiver (Julian Edelman) and one to tight end Rob Gronkowski. The rest of his 15 completions went either to a running back or to tight end Martellus Bennett, whose five-catch, 109-yard performance was one of the few Patriots bright spots.

— An offensive pass interference call on Chris Hogan on the game’s first play wiped away a 90-yard catch-and-run by Edelman. Hogan, an ex-Bill, also was called for holding on that same play.

— The Patriots’ offense committed nine penalties in all, including those that were declined. Five of those infractions came on first down, and three more came on third down.

— Running back LeGarrette Blount finished with just 54 yards on 13 carries after going over 100 yards in each of the previous two games.

— The Bills rocked Brissett all game, sacking him three times and hitting him at least a half-dozen more. The rookie quarterback also fumbled in the red zone after failing to properly secure the ball.

— The obvious one: The Patriots didn’t score any points after averaging 27 per game over their first three contests.

— The Patriots’ D simply could not get off the field. The Bills went 7-for-12 on third down and ran eight or more plays on seven of their nine drives. New England forced only one three-and-out.

— The Patriots’ tackling was abysmal for much of the game.

— Robert Woods, the Bills’ No. 1 receiver in Sammy Watkins’ absence, caught seven of the 10 balls thrown his way for 89 yards, doing much of his work against Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan. Ryan led all Pats defenders with 17 tackles.

— The Patriots dared Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor to beat them with his arm, and he did, completing 27 of 39 passes for 246 yards and one touchdown with zero interceptions. Buffalo did not turn over the ball in the game.

Special teams
— Rookie Cyrus Jones, who was born one day after the Patriots’ last shutout loss in Foxboro, made the ill-advised decision to return each of the first two kickoffs rather than kneel in the end zone. As a result, New England’s first two drives began at its own 9- and 14-yard lines, respectively.

— The Patriots fumbled two punts, one by Jones and one by Danny Amendola. They recovered both.

— Stephen Gostkowski had his second missed field goal of the season, pulling a 48-yard attempt wide right in the third quarter.

It’s not all doom and gloom at One Patriot Place, though. The team still sits at 3-1 one quarter of the way into the season, and it will be have star quarterback Tom Brady — who sat out the first four games while serving his Deflategate suspension — back this week.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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