It was a lot closer than it should have been, but the New England Patriots squeaked out a 34-20 win over the Bills, and clinched the second seed in the AFC. LeGarrette Blount had a career day on the ground, as he led a dominating performance, in which New England totaled 267 rushing yards. Now the Pats will await an opponent that will arise in next week’s wild card round, as they take a much needed rest week. Here are three quick takeaways from their win over Buffalo.
1. LeGarrette Blount
The show that Mr. Blount put on in this game was truly something special. This is a guy that came into New England a washed up back, and pretty much used solely as a depth guy. But over the last couple of weeks he has emerged as a top threat in the backfield, as the combination of him and Stevan Ridley has rolled over the opposition over the last few weeks. Blount runs extremely hard, and his size makes it really hard for the opposing defense to bring him down. He is also deceptively fast, as evidenced by his two kickoff returns, which went for a total of 145 yards. Having Blount at their disposal will make the Patriots a dangerous team come playoff time, as anytime you have a balanced offense, you instantly become much more lethal.
2. Pats Struggle To Close
Even though they ended up getting the 14 point win, this was a game that shouldn’t have been this close. There were numerous times throughout this contest where Tom Brady and company should have put the nail in the Bills’ coffin, but they simply failed to do so. The Pats defense wasn’t much better, as Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller gashed them all night long, and at times they made Thad Lewis look like a Pro-Bowler. This team will have to learn to finish the deal in the upcoming playoffs, because teams like the Broncos won’t allow them to get off the hook, with a win.
3. Julian Edelman Caps Off Terrific 2013 Campaign
After Wes Welker left New England via free agency back in March, a lot of pressure was instantly heaped onto Julian Edelman’s shoulders. Not only was he replacing one of the best slot receivers of all time, but he was given the task of becoming the next security blanket of Tom Brady. This was no easy assignment, and I honestly don’t think any of us thought he would put forth a season as good as the one he just put together. He capped it off today by reeling in nine catches for 65 yards, including a big two point conversion early in the fourth quarter. Edelman went over 100 catches and 1,000 yards in this division tilt, and he definitely deserved to reach that accomplishment. His shiftiness and explosive plays have carried the Patriots all year, and I fully expect him to do the same in the postseason tournament.