ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady detailed the key strategy aspect of the team's 52-28 win over the Bills on Sunday: Buffalo played its nickel defense against New England's bigger multiple tight-end package.
"I think they were really challenging us to run the ball. They had some little guys on the field with our big personnel groupings, so at that point you have to try to take advantage of it," Brady said. "You can't just keep throwing into a heavy pass defense, so we ran it."
Yes they did, ringing up 247 yards on the ground.
As Brady noted, it's all about matchups.
When the Patriots had receivers Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker along with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Daniel Fells on the field, that would often lead the Buffalo defense to match with base personnel (four down linemen, three linebackers, four defensive backs).
But the Bills stayed in the nickel (five defensive backs), and when considering that one of their linebackers was converted safety Bryan Scott (6-1, 220), one could have almost made the case it was a dime (six defensive backs).
So the Patriots went ground and pound with great success. Brady was pleased with how the team responded to adversity.
"We were down 21-7 on the road [in the third quarter], our backs were against the wall, and I thought we showed a lot of heart," he said. "That's what this team is made of. We're going to battle until the end, I know that."