What went right, wrong for the Patriots against Buffalo Sunday:
What went wrong ...
Really, New England? As if going down 17-0 to the Dolphins last week wasn’t bad enough. The Patriots once again found themselves in a huge hole early on, but finally decided to snap out of their New Years hangover. If the Pats get down big to a better team once the playoffs come around, they won’t come back.
Obviously the interception pales in comparison to Brady’s whole day, but it was crucial at the time it happened. The Patriots were looking to even the game at 21 before halftime, and were in position to do so. Then Brady threw an interception that should have been three points for the Bills, but the kick was no good and New England dodged a bullet.
McCourty at safety
McCourty played fine at safety, that’s not the issue. He actually had an interception to go with his five tackles and provided solid coverage. The problem is that in Week 17 Belichick is still experimenting with a defense that has had trouble playing, well, defense all season. Maybe with Patrick Chung back the secondary will look stronger. Time will tell, and the Pats have two weeks to make it work.
What went right ...
It doesn’t matter what team you play, to score 49 straight points in the NFL – especially after being down 21 – is something special. The Patriots offense has carried the team all season, and that’s how it’s going to be in the playoffs as well. The Pats were 4-5 in the red zone in this one, which means they made the most of their many opportunities.
When doesn’t Rob Gronkowski have a major, positive effect for this team? That was obviously the case Sunday against the Bills as Gronkowski had eight receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns. It was a historically good year for Gronkowski, as he finished with 18 touchdowns and 1,327 yards – both records for a tight end.
We’re No. 1
The Patriots knew that they controlled their own destiny, and although it seemed at first like they were going to blow it, the Pats made a comeback that proved to everyone why they are the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Now they’ll have a first round bye and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl. It remains to be seen if they can take advantage of it. The sting from last year still lingers.