General view of of a helmet used by a New England Patriots player before a game against the Buffalo Bills. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
The Patriots season is underway with one half in the books. It’s not likely the result either team was looking for in the first half as it was marked by turnovers and mistakes, with both teams capitalizing. The turning point, thus far, in this game is the interception by the Bills Justin Rogers that resulted in a touchdown. Instead of the Patriots entering the second half up 17-7 (or more if they score on that drive), they lead only by a field goal at 17-14. Here are some takeaways from the first half:
1. Rookies playing well, but not the Patriots rookies
There was a lot of hype going into this season about the Patriots rookies on the offensive side of the ball. So far, we haven’s seen much production from the Patriots rookies. The Bills rookies have been the ones to shine so far in this game. E.J. Manuel has had his ups and downs in this one, but has certainly looked sharp at times. Bills rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso made a big play forcing the Ridley fumble and Robert Woods was wide open for his first NFL touchdown reception. The Bills rookies are outplaying the Patriots rookies.
2. Brady and rookie pass catchers don’t look comfortable yet
At times, Brady and his young receivers have looked uncomfortable, which one would expect this early in the season, but it’s had a real impact on this game thus far. There have been some timing issues, but also some rookie mistakes, such as Kenbrell Thompkins not getting his second foot down on what should have been a nice sideline catch. Of course, if Zach Sudfeld had run a clean route this game would probably not be a 17-14 affair. These are the kinds of issues we’re going to see early this season with so much youth on offense. The trick will be how quickly they can put these kind of plays behind them.
3. Ridley benched, Amendola hurt
A big story in this game will be whether or not we see Stevan Ridley or Danny Amendola on the field again. Ridley left aftera fumble that resulted in a Bills touchdown and Amendola came up with a tight hamstring and was seen on the sidelines stretching it out. If he can get back in the game that will be a great sign for the Patriots, but if he can’t, it will be hard for him to shake the injury prone label he carries