It was a tough one for the Buffalo Bills as they saw a 14-point fourth-quarter lead evaporate in front of their eyes, as the rival New England Patriots pulled off a 40-34 victory in overtime. Since Sean McDermott took over as head coach of the Bills, they have never beaten the Patriots in seven tries. It was a game that felt like a typical Bills loss, which is what makes it so much more bitter. Here are some key takeaways from this game.
McDermott’s faith in Bass backfires
In their first game against the Jets, McDermott let rookie kicker Tyler Bass attempt a 61-yard field goal, which he almost made. Although the kick was no good, it was during a blowout game. However, this time around the faith he had in his kicker backfired tremendously. While up by seven points in the fourth quarter, McDermott sent out Bass for a 59-yard field goal with under two minutes to go. Bass pushed it right, giving the Patriots great field position on what would lead to the game-tying touchdown. It was a poor decision at that point in the game to attempt the field goal. They should have punted and made Stidham drive the length of the field, instead, quarterback Jarrett Stidham had to go only 51 yards on the final drive of regulation.
Bass’s field goal wasn’t the only frustrating moment of this game. While up by four in the fourth quarter on third down, Josh Allen scrambled around and found fullback Pat DiMarco wide open across the field in the end zone. However, DiMarco lost where he was on the field and caught the ball out of bounds. The Bills then had to settle for a field goal, when they should have had an easy touchdown.
The defense struggles tremendously
For one of the few times under McDermott, the defense had a very tough day against New England. The Bills gave up 40 points and 462 yards of offense, allowing Stidham to go 43-51, for 385 yards, and five touchdowns. They also couldn’t stop running back James White on the ground in the second half, as he finished the game with 92 yards on 20 carries. Outside of a Tre’Davious White interception which he returned for a touchdown, The Bills defense was downright bad on Sunday.
Singletary and Moss bounce back
One of the few positives to take away from this game was the bounce-back week both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss had. Singletary finished the game with 109 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, most of which came in the first half. Moss had a much better game as well. He finished with 51 yards on 11 carries, as both players averaged over 4.5 yards per attempt on Sunday.
Cody Ford’s tough day
Cody Ford had a rough game on Sunday. He surrendered two sacks, as linebacker John Simon got to Allen both times. However, it wasn’t just how many times Simon got to Allen, but when he did. The first sack resulted in an Allen fumble which the Patriots recovered. It ended an impressive drive for Buffalo as they were just starting to put away New England early in the game. The second sack came in the fourth quarter as Allen was sacked on second down of their final drive. The significance of this was two plays later, Bass would miss the 59-yard field goal. Ford’s two mistakes were extremely costly for the Bills as they could not have resulted in a worse outcome.
The (1-1) Bills will stay on the road for next week, as the head to Los Angeles to take on the (1-1) Los Angeles Rams.
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mitchell_broder