We knew coming in this game meant nothing, but that still didn’t mean we didn’t want to come away with a win to finish the 2014 season at 13-3. Unfortunately, a slow start for the New England Patriots ultimately did them in, as they fell behind early, and couldn’t quite complete the comeback.
The Pats held more than a few starters out of this one, although Tom Brady played the entire first half, as he tried to get the Patriots back into an offensive rhythm. However the Bills ravaged the short-handed New England offensive line, and the result was a 6-point first half, which didn’t make Brady happy. Number 12 completed eight of his 16 pass attempts for 80 yards and zero touchdowns. He was also sacked once, although all things considered, I think the offensive line did okay to keep Brady alive in the first half.
New England was solid defensively once again, pitching another second-half shutout, and giving up only 268 total yards. And the starters were pulled after only one half of play as well. I have said all year that the strength of this team is the defense, and as we head towards the postseason, I maintain that stance. The difference between this year’s Pats team and previous year’s squads is the 2014 group actually has a defense, and that will be big in the coming weeks.
Jimmy Garoppolo was impressive in his first game with extended playing time, completing 10 of 17 passes for 90 yards, while also running four times for 16 yards. Garoppolo was under pressure the entire time he was on the field, and because of that, he showcased some exceptional pocket awareness and quickness, something that is useful in today’s NFL. He was accurate with his throws, and his released is lightning-quick. The biggest problem I saw was a typical rookie mistake, in that he held onto the ball far too long. Sometimes you just have to throw it away, and hopefully Garoppolo will learn that as time goes on.
As for the injury situation, Nate Solder left with a knee injury early, but it didn’t seem to be serious. I think he will be good for the playoffs. Brandon LaFell also appeared to tweak an ankle or something, but he returned to the game, which implies he is fine. Sealver Siliga was hurt late, but doesn’t seem to be serious, either.
Guess what guys? It’s playoff time.