The New England Patriots lost in the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills: the opening coin flip, that is. The Bills deferred the ball to the second half and the Patriots were able to receive the opening kickoff. Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount was back to return and returned it all of thirteen yards to the fourteen yard line. Brady, as a savvy veteran quarterback drew the Bills offside on the first play of the game as the over-excited Bills defense jumped off side.
On the first actual play, new wide receiver Danny Amendola was lined up in the slot then split out wide and brought in the first pass for eleven yards and a first down. Running back Stevan Ridley got popped running upright and not getting his pads low and put the ball on the ground after a four yard run. Fortunately, the ball was recovered by Patriots guard Dan Connolly. Buffalo inexplicably challenged the fumble which was clearly recovered by New England (it was called down by contact), and, of course, it was upheld. After an incompletion, Brady found Amendola again right down the seam and made a juggling catch for 24 yards and a big third down conversion.
On first down, Kenbrell Thompkins got open deep but lost his footing and missed the pass and missed making a big play against the Buffalo defense. On second and ten, cornerback Leodis McKelvin made a nice tackle on Steven Ridley setting up third and long. On third and ten, Brady was in shotgun and threw incomplete as the Bills brought the safety blitz and Shane Vereen could not stop Bills safety Ron Brooks. For Buffalo’s defense, it was a big stop on the opening drive to force a punt. Rookie punter Ryan Allen pinned the Bills back to the ten with a nice, high 34 yard punt.
After stuffing Bills running back C.J. Spiller on first down for one yard, new Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly got the ball after cornerback Kyle Arrington stripped C.J. Spiller after a two yard run. On first down, running back Stevan Ridley rushed for seven yards. After an incompletion towards Amendola, Brady hit slot receiver Julian Edelman for a nine yard touchdown to take advantage of the Buffalo miscue and put the Patriots on top seven to nothing early.
On defense for the second time, the Patriots main nemesis in Buffalo, tight end Scott Chandler abused the Patriots defense for nine yards. The defense, especially big defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, held on second and one again on C.J. Spiller and set up a third and one. Unfortunately, wide receiver Stevie Johnson went across the middle for a big first down and thirteen yards. For New England, the defense stepped up. Another two yard gain for Spiller, a false start on Buffalo, a nice play and near interception by cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, and then the same screen play that Reggie Bush of Detroit crushed for over sixty yards in preseason game three against New England, the Patriots defense held strong with safety Devin McCourty staying with Spiller and pushing him out for no gain on third and thirteen.
The Bills showed their lack of discipline after Julian Edelman returned the Buffalo punt sixteen yards to the thirty five yard line and then another fifteen yards for a facemask penalty. On first down, Kenbrell Thompkins missed a hurried pass after Brady had all day trying to find a receiver. Thompkins went nowhere on a screen, getting three and then on third and seven a wheel route out of the backfield by Shane Vereen gets a first down. A quick pass reminiscent of last year to Julian Edelman netted nine yards. On second and short LeGarrette Blount picked up the first. A terrible non-holding call on Leodis McKelvin resulted in an incompletion. Blount went nowhere on second and ten and lost a yard on a pitch left right into Bills linebacker Arthur Moats. A screen to Edelman went nowhere and resulted in the Patriots settling for a 47 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
After Gostkowski boomed his second touchback, Bills running back C.J. Spiller busted out finally for eight yards. The Bills pushed ahead for the first down with a quick snap on second down. From the shotgun on first, rookie Robert Woods was wide open over the middle for a big game that was brought back due to an illegal hands to the face by offensive lineman Tarik Glenn resulting in second and twenty one. After Bills running back Fred Jackson rumbled for four, the dump off went to C.J. Spiller on second and long for a loss as cornerback Kyle Arrington was johnny-on-the-spot again to stop him and force a third and nineteen. The Patriots brought some pressure from defensive end Chandler Jones putting some serious inside pressure on rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel on a stunt inside and overmatching the Bills guard and forcing yet another Buffalo punt.
Running back Stevan Ridley made a nice three yard run as he was stopped in the backfield and slipped out for three. On second and seven the Bills defense remained stout and stopped Ridley for two yards. Buffalo has been active early on defense and really done well to control the New England offense. On third and five, Danny Amendola made reception number three of the first quarter for a first down conversion of seven yards with a quick slant grab and a slick move to pick up the first down again, looking very Wes Welker-ish on the play.
Finally, Stevan Ridley broke loose for the last play of the first quarter as he busted forward for a big gain of nineteen yard exploding up the middle of the defense and almost breaking it open to setup New England to keep driving into the second quarter with a ten to nothing lead after one quarter of play in the 2013 season.