Let’s get one thing out of the way: the Patriots had no business winning on Sunday.
New England spent the first three-plus quarters doing just about everything in their power to ensure they would drop their Week 1 game to the Bills. But the Bills are the Bills for a reason, and in the end, they found a way to hand the Patriots the win.
Trailing 21-17 heading into the fourth quarter, the Patriots kicked two field goals, including one with nine seconds remaining to escape Buffalo with a 23-21 win.
Here are three important things to take from the win:
1. Turnovers kill: Stevan Ridley entered the season as the clear cut No. 1 back on the Patriots roster, and he was due a heavy workload in order to compensate for the inexperience of the Patriots’ receiving corps. So how did Ridley respond? He coughed up the ball on the team’s first possession, but was ruled down by contact. He wouldn’t be saved the next time around though. In the second quarter, the Bills recovered a Ridley fumble and returned it 74 yards for their first touchdown of the game. That would end Ridley’s day early, as Shane Vereen took over from there and finished with 101 yards on 14 carries and 58 yards on seven receptions. Tom Brady’s pass to Zach Sudfeld was bobbled and picked off late in the second quarter, which led to a Bills TD, and later, Brady fumbled the snap on a fourth-and-goal line situation. Not pretty.
2. Amendola disappears, then shows up: There’s one gigantic knock on Danny Amendola, and that is he simply can’t stay on the field. Well, the Amendola backers had to eat crow for at least a little bit on Sunday, as No. 80 left the game after he appeared to reaggravate his groin injury. But they – and he – would find redemption. Amendola reentered to the game in the second half, and was an integral part of the team’s game-winning drive. He finished with a game-high 10 receptions for 104 yards.
3. Don’t forget the defense: Seven of the Bills’ 21 points came with the Pats defense on the sidelines. Seven other points came after a Brady interception put the Bills in great field position. The two touchdowns given up by the Pats defense proved that they’re still a work in progress. Kyle Arrington was one player who stood out for New England, however, as he caused two fumbles and displayed great tackling.