It was a long afternoon for the New England Patriots and their fan base in Week 4, as they fell to the Buffalo Bills by a lopsided score of 16-0.
The shutout loss marked the first time the Patriots were held scoreless at home since the 1993 season. Here are some immediate reactions following the Week 4 disappointment:
It started with the opening kickoff. Cornerback Cyrus Jones’ poor decision making on the opening kickoff was a bad omen in this game, and really, the Patriots never recovered. Forcing Jacoby Brissett to start inside his own 10-yard was avoidable to say the least.
Third downs were yucky. The Patriots went 0-5 on third down in the first half, and it didn’t get much better in the second half. Look for third down efficiency to improve upon the return of Tom Brady next week.
Tackling was a nightmare. This game wasn’t just about the pedestrian effort on offense. The defense didn’t hold up their end up the bargain by any means; it seemed that there was a missed tackle on every other play. Even star linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower whiffed on multiple occasions trying to bring down Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy.
Let’s zoom out: this is healthy. As much as it hurts to see the Patriots get thoroughly shellacked and struggle in every facet of the game, every championship team needs a wake-up call at some point in the season.
Think back to the 2003 Patriots, who were shutout by the Bills in the season opener by a score of 31-0. That team learned a bunch of lessons that day, to say the least. Or more recently, take the 2014 Week 4 embarrassment on Monday Night Football at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Look, if someone told you the Patriots would be 3-1 by the time Brady returned from his suspension in Week 5, you would take it. This team hauled themselves to a good position; now, Brady will take the reins, and we are all grateful for that.