The Patriots took care of the Buffalo Bills yesterday, with another bland, death by a thousand paper cuts style, defeating the Bills 20-10. Matt Cassel, once again, continues to show improvement with his presence in the pocket and his ability to get the ball down the field. He missed on a few longer throws, in which you couldn't help but assume if Tom Brady were playing, those throws would've connected. However, Cassel continues to be effective and has been an asset at QB the last four games.
The win does come at a major cost - star LB Adalius Thomas broke his forearm and could be out for the season. Thomas has really played well this season, and his athleticism and flexibility in the various defensive schemes will be missed.
BenJarvus Ellis-Green played an excellent game at RB, in which he had 26 carries for 105 yards and a TD. Ellis-Green runs hard and hits the hole quickly. He's the antithesis of Laurence "Tip Toe Through The Tulips" Maroney when it comes to finding and hitting the hole. Instead of dancing in the backfield looking for the big gain, Eliis-Green "gets it" when it comes to playing the position. He shoots for the hole and is willing to take the two yard gain, as opposed to looking for the longer gain which could wind up as a three yard loss.
Other than a few series' where they had difficulty tackling, the Patriots defense played stout. The much maligned Patriots secondary did a great job limiting the Bills to short and intermediate range pass completions. They also had two nice interceptions - one by Ellis Hobbs and the other by Delthea O'Neal.
The only area the Patriots weren't dominant yesterday was special teams. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski had a rough game, missing a FG, as well as sending a kickoff out of bounds which was penalized and gave the Bills the ball at their own 40 yard line. Gostkowski also was faked out of his jock and missed a tackle on a long kickoff return late in the game by Bills return man Leodis McKelvin.
The opportunity to savor this victory is already over, because the Patriots have a short week ahead. Their next game is this Thursday vs. their main division rival, the New York Jets, at Gillette Stadium. The Jets have been playing great football of late and are tied for first place with the Patriots at 6-3 (although right now the Patriots own the tiebreaker after defeating the Jets in Week Two).
Thursday night's game should be a hard hitting, meaningful affair. I'm already looking forward to watching these two teams slug it out for sole ownership of first place atop the AFC East standings.