The only thing that saves this from being a failing grade is Wes Welker, who set a franchise record with 217 receiving yards on a career-high 16 catches. The bad news: Tom Brady is intercepted four times, Chad Ochocinco drops a key fourth-quarter pass, Deion Branch is invisible.
Hard to complain about 4.2 yards per carry (26 trots for 108 yards). Rookie Stevan Ridley leads the way with seven carries for 44 yards, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis never gets going (nine carries, 16 yards). The Pats needed more from this group after having success with the running game in recent meetings.
First-quarter mark was tremendous after Kyle Arrington registered two interceptions and the Patriots kept the league's top scoring offense off the board. But in the end, the Bills piled up 369 passing yards and struck twice through the air. Two starters in the secondary were missing (Ras-I Dowling, Patrick Chung).
The Bills came in as the league's top rushing offense at 193 yards per game, so the Patriots did well to limit Buffalo to 79 yards on 20 carries. Fred Jackson did get his, chipping in 74 yards on 12 carries and producing a key fourth-quarter touchdown.
Nothing spectacular on returns, but with a lot of shuffling due to injuries, there weren't any critical errors here. Zoltan Mesko showed no ill effects from last week's knee injury and practice squad call-up Ross Ventrone performed admirably on four units.
Hard to blame Bill Belichick and his staff for four interceptions; That's nearly impossible to overcome (and New England nearly did). The Pats did a nice job of masking holes left by injuries, but adjustments are needed to shore up an alarmingly porous defense.
2015 New England Patriots Schedule
No schedule available.
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