Sunday, December 20, 2009
Halftime analysis: Patriots 14, Bills 3
By Mike Reiss
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Receiver Randy Moss has responded in a big way and an attacking defense that has utilized a sub package with no linemen -- which generated more pressure -- has helped the Patriots open a 14-3 lead over the Bills at halftime.
It starts with Moss.
Quarterback Tom Brady went to him on a long bomb on the team’s sixth offensive play (incomplete). He dialed Moss up again on a bomb on the second drive, and a defensive pass interference penalty set the Patriots up for their first touchdown, a terrific Moss grab with a toe-tap at the back of the end zone.
Some wondered how Moss would respond after his worst performance with the Patriots.
He has been a big part of the plan (4 catches, 54 yards, TD).
On defense, a unit that has been hurt by its inability to pressure the quarterback has been sparked by a package that includes six defensive backs, two pure inside linebackers and three defensive end/outside linebacker types.
That package was on the field to stop the Bills’ opening drive, and later produced a sack and interception. It has been a big part of the team's success through two quarters, generating consistent pressure. The defensive backs are flying around the field as well out of that package.
The defense struggled early in its 3-4 alignment against the run, not fitting well with too many gaps unaccounted for, but the Bills haven’t been able to exploit that. Overall, the Bills have hurt themselves with penalties.
The Patriots get the ball to start the second half.