7-Things for

Bills Part I.


Patriots Game


7-Things For The Bills: Part I.

By Tom Mahoney

1. Big Mac Attack- Last week was a thing of beauty The Pats won when most say the rookie QB wasn’t at his best, like that’s some kind of insult. Rookie QBs, usually, struggle to win games when they are playing well. And don’t win, period, when they are not at their best. Okay, I admit, I’m a Homer and proud of it. But?!? Mac sucked last week?!? He was 23 of 32 for 310-Yards, and 2 TDs with no INTs against the Titans physical D. That’s a solid day for any veteran QB. Oh, and the Pats won, which makes it an elite day for a rookie QB. He threw some great passes, that he needed his WR’s to make a play, like Kendrick Bourne’s great TD catch, and some idiots act like it was a crime against humanity.

“Mac Jones completed all 11 of his play action pass attempts for 169 yards in the Patriots 36-13 victory over the Titans,” Tweet from Next Gen Stats. “Jones' 11 play action attempts without an incompletion are the most (in the NFL) without an incompletion since Week 8, 2020 (Russell Wilson, 13).”

Rookie QBs don’t play like this. When Brady actually played, not as a rookie in 2000, but as a Redshirt Emergency Starter in 2001. In 15 games, after Bledsoe was almost killed by Mo Lewis, he had a passer rating of 86.5 for 2,843 Yards, 18 TDs and 12 INTs. In Week 13 2001, Brady was 19 of 28 for 218-yards, 0-TDs, and 2 INTs, for a 61.3 QBR. The Pats ran the ball like scared rats in 2001. Both their Lines owned the Line of Scrimmage in the 2nd Half of the Season, and in the 2nd Half of the games as well. They didn’t flood over Offense like the ‘85 Bears. But they physically dominated the LOS as effectively and brutally. The Pats were just a 2-Gap Defense not a 1-Gap Defense like Duh Bears.

“I've been coaching a lot longer than 20 years, but you try to do whatever you can do to win that week. That's really what it comes down to. Each week is different. Each week has its own challenges. You look at the way the game matches up, what your opportunities are, what your opponent does, and try to figure it out from there,” Belichick said. “Ultimately, it's about the players. They're the ones that make the plays. They're the ones that execute the, whatever it is, offense, defense, special teams that are out there. You can ask me that all you want, but you need good players to win. And the games that we've won, our players have played well enough to win. They've made the plays they need to make. It really comes down to having good players.”

Now passing stats were different back then. It was still more of a Running League than a Pure Passing League like today. But Brady was just different. We all saw it in 2001. It was nothing like we had seen before. It feels and looks so similar to 2001. The Pats defense beat the Titans into the ground, and their young QB did everything he needed to do to win the game, and played better as the game went along. Scoring 20-points in the 2nd Half as the Defense shut out the Tians in the 2nd Half? Was like what the 2001 Patriots Defense consistently did, dominate the Line Of Scrummage in the 2nd Half.

“It's all about complementary defense and playing good team defense. One without the other is not very effective. When you can combine good pass coverage with a good pass rush? Then that leads to negative plays. It could lead to Sacks. It could lead to Interceptions. It could lead to pass breakups, pressures, and things like that,” Belichick said. “Absolutely. Team defense is what we're always trying to do well. If you can match the coverage and match the rush at about the time the quarterback's trying to throw the ball, that's really what you're looking to do. As I said, one without the other, you can probably make a couple plays on that, but overall, in the long run, it's just not going to be enough because if you have a good rush, the ball is out, and it's completed, or you have them covered with no rush and eventually the quarterbacks and receivers are too good in this league and they'll get open. You've got to try to marry those together.”

Now, if you want to say the Titans lost that game, because their Offense and O-line was decimated? That makes sense. But to say that Mac was not good is ridiculous. He is playing in the Brady 2001 system. Run the ball, play elite physical defense, Dominate the Lines Of Scrimmage, don’t let the rookie QB screw things up, and just win baby. The reason the Pats won in 2001 is because the Pats defense wasn’t just dominate, they physically broke down opponents Offenses. They literally decimated Offenses by hurting and knocking offense players out of the game. That was the most physically brutal defense I ever saw.

“They're (The Pats) in 1st place. They had won this division 17 out of 19 seasons before last season. I think? They've had a stranglehold on this division for a long time (since Brady took over from Bledsoe),” Bills HC Sean McDermott. “They're a good football team. They're doing it the right way, playing complimentary football. They've got one of the best coaches to ever coach the game. Got a great young quarterback. Playing really well on defense and special teams as well. They're where they are at for a reason."

Back in 2001, Brady was not Brady yet. He struggled, but he showed his psychotic need to win at all cost that eventually made him the GOAT. But the Pats Defense was the driving force for most wins. Mac is starting to show that he has that same unquenchable need to win. He’s not as outwardly crazy as Brady. But he has a similar internal need to win: not nicely, not prettily, not perfectly, but just win baby. He has put some late drives together to win games, like we remember Brady doing in every single game of his career (which is of course not true). But Mac is playing at a similar level as Brady did in 2001. Statistically at a superior level, and we will see if he can match Brady’s once in a millennia Play Off winning level, and that infamous come from behind to win level. And I dare you to tell me that a Pats-Tampa Super Bowl wouldn’t be something to see. I would hurt myself rooting for both teams;).

2. Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful:- This is a tough one. The Bills in bad weather in Buffalo is not a good formula for the Pats, and their Alabama QB. The Bills defense has taken it to a new level this season, as their rising young QB seems to have taken a wrong turn and is not having as good a year as last year. The Pats are going to have their young QB from Alabama face some wintery weather this week. It will be cold with a chance of snow or slush.  

“Usually we talk about it (bad weather game) once we know for sure when (and what) it is,” Belichick said. “Which a lot of times, that's when we get to the stadium. It's hard to really hang your hat on one of the (weather) predictions here. We'll go with the known information. Understanding, obviously, what it could be. We're not expecting overheating and fans on the sideline.”

The Bills need this win as much as the Pats. They have been underachieving as much as the Pats have been over achieving. With the Pats having a rookie QB that they didn’t really know what they had after the Draft, the Bills were expected to win the AFC with the greatest of ease, but something strange happened on the way to the Circus. The Bills have struggled to be high flying dominators. When Allen is on, all is right in Buffalo. When he struggles to read, throw quick, and throw accurately deep? The tent falls.

“They've got a lot of really good players on all three levels. They are well coached. They play their techniques well. They're fundamentally sound. They tackle well,” Bills OC Brian Daboll. “It's typical New England defense: well coached, good smart players, physical, tough and take the ball away. Coach Belichick is obviously one of the greatest ever. I had the privilege to be around him, but that's always been a trademark of taking the ball away. He's 174 and 18 or something like that with a +1 turnover ratio or somewhere around there. It will be a huge challenge. Biggest one yet.”

The Bills have alternating winning and losing the past 7 Games. Starting with a win against KC in Week Five to a Win in Week 12 against the Saints. If that altering win-loss streak continues? The Pats will win this game. Though I’m not sure you can count on trends like that. However, they averaged 35 Points Per Game in the four wins in this streak. But they only averaged 17.3 PPG in the three loses. If the Pats Defense and the snow can slow the Bills Offense, the Pats win and the trend continues.

“Obviously we're looking at a real good Bills team here. I think that Brandon [Beane] and Sean [McDermott] have done a real good job of putting this team together. They're very talented, well-balanced, well-coached with Leslie [Frazier] and Brian [Daboll],” Belichick said. “They really do a good job on offense, defense. They're really solid in the kicking game. They're well-balanced there. They've got a big, core seven or eight guys, plus [Tyler] Bass, plus [Isaiah] McKenzie. From top to bottom, just a good football team that does everything well. They're statistically at the top of the league in categories in every area, and they deserve to be. Well-coached. They play smart football, and they're tough. As I said, they're very well-balanced. Offensively, it really starts with [Josh] Allen. He can do it all. They've got a good offensive line. [Dawson] Knox has done a good job for them. Multiple receivers. Multiple backs. All those guys are productive.”

This is not the week for the Bills to be worrying about the weather. The Patriot’s Defense has been spectacular! They are giving up 15.8 PPG (which is below the Bills losing mark). And in a 2001 fashion, and are giving up only 6.5 PPG in the last four Games. With Allen having an up and down season? If the Patriots defense can get into his head early in the game? The Pats Defense should shut him down. If the Pats D gives up less than 7 points this week? The Pats win easy. And they are in a trend that says that they will do just that.

3. Bills Defense– The Pats have been averaging a hair over 35 points per game over the last six games. The Pats are hoping the Dallas game has ended his rookie season. Since that Game Mac has been the Man. Calm, cool, quick, and collected throwing accurately in the pocket. If can continue to lead the Pats offense as well as last week. The Pats will win. The Pats Defense is now ranked 3rd statically.  

“Defensively, they've added a couple young players to their front there: [Boogie] Basham, [Greg] Rousseau. Otherwise, they're a very veteran, talented, disruptive group. They lead the league in tackles for loss and things like that. They really do a good job of creating negative plays. Obviously, they haven't given up a lot of points. Linebackers are very good. [Matt] Milano and [Tremaine] Edmunds are probably as good as anybody we play. Safeties. Secondary. Again, well-coordinated defense. Really physical in the kicking game,” Belichick said. “They brought back all their key players from last year: [Tyler] Matakevich, [Taiwan] Jones, [Andre] Smith, the whole crew. They have good size. They have good speed. They're disruptive. They're physical. Good field goal kicker. Just really solid there. He's done a good job there with that group. They're very sound. Just from top to bottom, good team. Good, solid team. Good as anybody we've played. We know it'll take a good effort from us Monday night. That's what we're getting ready to prepare to do. Play well. Coach well. Be ready to go on Monday night.”

The Pats are entering a new era this week. This is the Northeast section of the Football season. The snow section. The freezing-ass cold section of the season. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night might stop this offense, but freezing ass cold and snow could stop a rookie QB from Alabama. As near as I can tell, the Bills Defense is ranked 9th, which will be tough for Mac. But they lost one of their leaders on Defense, CB Tre’Davious White. That helps the Pats.

“Definitely. The whole defense is aggressive in everything,” Belichick said. “It's why they're one of the best defenses in the league. They're aggressive on the run, aggressive on the pass. They cover well. They rush well. They play zone, play man-to-man, they blitz and mix it up. They're good at all of it.”

The Pats are in a bit of a tight spot here. When the Bills defense plays well, and doesn’t let the opponent score a lot of points, they win. They are 6-1 when they give up less than 10 points. They lost all three games where the Defense gave up more than 21 points. With the cold weather, the rookie QB, who’s also a warm weather Quarterback from Jacksonville FLA and played at Alabama? The Patriots have to get the Big Mac Attack going early. It doesn’t matter if they run for the points, throw for the points, or the defense picks up a Pick-six or two? 21 is the magic number for victory for the Patriots in this Game.

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