Sunday, September 30, 2012
Bills-Patriots halftime notes
By James Walker
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills lead the New England Patriots 14-7 at halftime.
Here are some notes at intermission:
- What's gotten into Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski? The usually reliable kicker has lost his way in recent weeks and missed two field goals in the first half -- one wide left and the other wide right. Gostkowski also missed a potential game-winning kick against the Arizona Cardinals two weeks ago. New England may want to work out some kickers next week, if anything just to shake Gostkowski out of his funk.
- The Bills are rotating running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Jackson started the game and Spiller took over on the second series. Both players have rotated. Spiller clearly looks slowed by his shoulder injury. He isn't running through nearly as many tackles as before and he missed a block in the first quarter where it was clear he was protecting his shoulder. Spiller also had a big fumble on the goal line. That play could haunt the Bills.
- We are seeing a mixed bag so far from Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He started hot on the first drive but had two interceptions in the first half. The first pick was tipped and not on Fitzpatrick. But the second interception was an underthrown ball to an open T.J. Graham. Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty was behind but caught up to the wounded duck. Fitzpatrick also bounced back and had two really good touchdown throws to tight end Scott Chandler.
- The Patriots are really sloppy. Bills safety Jairus Byrd forced two big fumbles in the first half. One was by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and the other was by receiver Wes Welker.
- Bills rookie LT Cordy Glenn and Patriots rookie defensive end Chandler Jones are having a good back-and-forth battle. Both players are among the top rookies in the AFC East. Jones is having the better half. He has four tackles and a sack.