Can the Bills beat the Patriots on Sunday?
Absolutely: any NFL team can beat any other NFL team; the old Any Given Sunday saying may be clichĂ©, but it is true. But the reality is that for Buffalo to win the Patriots will have to beat themselves. For that to happen the Pats would need to look past this game, and I am confident that Bill Belichick won’t happen; all he has to do is replay film of the first half of the pats-Bills game from week four as well as the first half of last year’s week 17 game and the entire disaster of last year’s week three loss to the Buffalo.
No defense in the NFL has allowed more touchdowns than the Buffalo Bills. Besides allowing 52 points to the Pats, consider some of their other games:
- The Jets scored a season-high 48 points against the Bills, 27 more than their season average.
- San Francisco scored a season-high 45 points against the Bills, 21 more than their season average.
- Tennessee score 35 points against the Bills, 15 more than their season average.
Buffalo is allowing 31 points per game (despite having played the Chiefs, Browns and Cardinals), which ranks 31st in the league; the Patriots are scoring a league-best 33 points per game.
Offensively the Bills are in the middle of the pack in scoring with 22.5 points per game (18th), but check out one of the most important (but often overlooked) statistic: turnovers.
Look at the teams that are double-digit in turnover differential: the 7-1 Bears (+16), 6-3 Giants (+14), 5-3 Patriots (+13), and 8-0 Falcons (+10). The Bills have a minus-7 turnover differential with 18 turnovers; only the Cowboys, Eagles and Chiefs have turned the ball over more often than Buffalo. Ryan Fitzpatrick has once again turned into Ryan Fitzpicktrick with ten interceptions; that’s a recipe for disaster against a team like the Patriots that is so proactive in capitalizing on opponent’s mistakes.
Wait, didn’t Buffalo make a complete overhaul to their defense this past off-season so they could compete with, and possibly overtake the Patriots in the AFC East?
Buffalo GM Buddy Nix inexplicably declared that he ‘wants to give Buffalo the franchise quarterback they deserve‘ a week ago; perhaps he has developed amnesia and has forgotten that he was the person who signed Fitzpatrick to a six-year, $59 million contract extension just one year ago. Maybe Nix was hoping people will have forgotten that minor detail, maybe he thinks his comment is supposed to make Fitzgerald play better, who knows.
All that is before we even consider the (lack of) return on investment that the Bills have received thus far on Nix’ venture into free agency this year, signing Mario Williams (23 tackles, 4.5 sacks and one pass defensed) to a six-year, $96 million contract with $50 million guaranteed, and Mark Anderson (one sack) to a four-year, $20 million deal with $8 million guaranteed.
The Bills may indeed end up getting their ‘franchise quarterback’, but when that does happen I firmly believe that it will be with a different GM.
This Day In Patriots History
November 9, 1969:
Miami Dolphins 17, Boston Patriots 16 at Alumni Stadium
The Pats rallied from a 10-0 halftime deficit with three 4th-quarter touchdowns, but a two-point conversion attempt for the win at the end failed, giving the Dolphins their second win of the season.
The game was a defensive struggle due in large part to a strong wind and torrential downpour; the two teams combined for just 15 first downs and 91 yards passing while punting twelve times. Miami picked off one of the few pass attempts deep in Pats territory for the only touchdown of the first half, but rookie Carl Garrett got the Patriots on the scoreboard with the longest run of his career for an 80-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter. Gino Cappelletti tied it when the Pats were unable to score in the red zone with a 17-yard field goal, but future Hall of Famer Larry Csonka broke a tackle for a 54-yard TD for the Dolphins. The Pats came back late with a 15-yard touchdown from Mike Taliaferro to Bill Rademacher and decided to go for two points and the win rather than a tie. Rather than hand off to Garrett or Jim Nance they opted to pass the ball, which went incomplete and the game was over.
Nance finished the game with 109 yards rushing and Garrett had 92 on 12 carries; Rademacher had 55 yards on the only two passes that Taliaferro completed.
November 9, 1975:
New England Patriots 33, San Diego Chargers 19
CB Bob Howard picked off a 1st-quarter Dan Fouts pass and returned it 44 yards for the only touchdown of his 13-year NFL career, giving the Pats a 10-3 lead they would never relinquish. Sam Cunningham ran for 90 yards and one touchdown and added another 30 yards receiving, and John Smith added three field goals. Russ Francis had three receptions for 81 yards, Randy Vataha had five catches for 56 yards and a TD, and Steve Grogan went 17-for-28 for 245 yards for the Patriots.
November 9, 1986:
New England Patriots 30, Indianapolis Colts 21 at the Hoosier Dome
After staking the hapless Colts a 14-3 lead in the second quarter the Pats woke from their slumber with 27 unanswered points to improve to 7-3 while Indy slumped to 0-10.
Steve Nelson and Ronnie Lippett each had two interceptions, while Don Blackmon, Johnny Rembert and Garon Veris each had a sack as the defense provided the needed spark to win this game. Tony Eason was 19-33 for 240 yards and two touchdowns and Stanley Morgan had five catches for 89 yards. The Pats touchdowns were scored bt TE Willie Scott on an 8-yard catch, Irving Fryar on a 2-yard catch, and Mosi Tatupu on a one-yard run.
November 9, 1997:
New England Patriots 31, Buffalo Bills 10 at Rich Stadium
For the first time in franchise history the Patriots pulled off the rare feat of scoring an offensive, defensive and special team touchdown in their win over the Bills.
After the Bills opened up scoring with a Steve Christie field goal, Derrick Cullors returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to give the Pats a 7-3 lead. In the second quarter Adam Vinatieri connected on a 46-yard field goal and then Drew Bledsoe hit Ben Coates with a 6-yard pass to give the Patriots a 17-3 halftime lead.
After the break the Pats had the Bills trapped deep in their own end when Chris Slade tipped a Todd Collins pass to himself and waltzed into the touchdown to put the Patriots up by 21. Buffalo finally got a touchdown on a run by Antowain Smith before Curtis Martin finished off the scoring with a one-yard plunge for the final score.
Martin finished the game with 93 yards running, including a beautiful 32-yard scamper; his running set up a couple of long passes from Drew Bledsoe: a 50-yarder to Troy Brown and a 40-yarder to Terry Glenn. The New England defense had a great performance in this matchup of two 5-4 teams; besides Slade’s pick, Ty Law, Willie Clay and Jimmy Hitchcock each had an interception as well.
November 9, 2008:
New England Patriots 20, Buffalo Bills 10 at Gillette Stadium
Rookie BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for a career-high 105 yards and scored a touchdown for the fourth straight game, and the Pats’ defense did the rest, holding the Bills to just 58 yards in the second half.
BJGE capped a 19-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown with 1:57 left to secure the victory. Matt Cassel started things off, rushing for a 13-yard touchdown on the Patriots’ first series; it was the longest touchdown run by any Patriot at that point of the season.
The Law Firm got the call because the Pats were without injured running backs Sammy Morris, Laurence Maroney and Lamont Jordan. The two teams entered the game with identical 5-3 records and against a strong Buffalo defense this game looked like trouble, with only BJGE and Kevin Faulk available at RB, and Cassel making just his 8th start since high school. Cassel did his part, finishing 23-for-34 for 234 yards and no interceptions, and taking only one sack.
The Pats defense really stepped up, holding Marshawn Lynch to 46 yards while Trent Edwards threw for only 120 yards; his only TD came late in garbage time. The Patriots controlled the clock (37:40-22:20) and gained over 200 more yards than Buffalo, 370-168.
Ellis Hobbs and Deltha O’Neal both had a pick, Richard Seymour and Ty Warren both had a sack, and Wes Welker was the leading receiver with nine catches for 107 yards.
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November 9, 1941:
Tom Fogerty, guitar player for Creedence Clearwater Revival was born in Berkeley
November 9, 1958:
Elvis Presley‘s Hound Dog became the first single that was not Christmas-themed to sell 3,000,000 copies.
November 9, 1963:
The Kingsmen released Louie, Louie. Radio stations banned the song because of the lyrics, despite the fact that they were completely unintelligible, and the FBI actually investigated the group. On this same date in 1998 the band was awarded royalties from the song; they had not been paid any since the early 1960′s. Richard Berry, who originally wrote the song five years earlier and was living off welfare in LA slums, earned over $1,000,000 in an out of court settlement in the mid-eighties for royalties he had not been paid.
November 9, 1967:
The first issue of Rolling Stone magazine was published.
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