Week 3 Recap: New England Patriots Defense Shines, Squeaks Past Buffalo Bills 16-10

Patriots Defense
BUFFALO, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29: Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots intercepts a pass intended for John Brown #15 of the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter in the game at New Era Field on September 29, 2019 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Tom Brady entered New Era Field in Buffalo on Sunday having not thrown a touchdown pass there since 2016. The Patriots had won their last seven games against the Buffalo Bills, and they continued that streak with a 16-10 victory on Sunday. Brady also extended his streak of not throwing a touchdown against the Bills defense. The New England Patriots moved to 4-0 on the season with the victory, while the Bills dropped to 3-1. Read on for analysis and takeaways from Sunday’s win, including the performance of the Patriots defense.

New England Patriots Defense Shines, Offense Struggles in 16-10 Victory Over Bills

Patriots Special Teams, Defense Has Another Strong Showing

New England got off to a 13-0 start to the game thanks in part to the strong start of the defense and special teams. Patriots safety Devin McCourty undercut a pass intended for Bills wide receiver John Brown, resulting in his fourth interception in as many games. McCourty’s pick and subsequent return put the ball at midfield for the Brady-led Patriots offense. The offense did not disappoint, putting together a seven-play drive that resulted in a four-yard touchdown run by veteran running back Brandon Bolden.

After Josh Allen and the Bills went three-and-out on their ensuing possession, the Patriots special teams stepped up to the plate with a play of their own. New England cornerback J.C. Jackson came in untouched to block Buffalo’s punt, as special teams star Matthew Slater scooped up the loose ball and ran it into the endzone for the Patriots.

In a game where the offense seemed to struggle to get things going throughout the day, it was nice to see the other two units step up when needed. With a 13-0 lead nine minutes into the game, the two units made their presence known in a big way. If the Patriots want to contend come playoff time, they will need contributions from all aspects of the game.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots Struggle on Offense

Despite the victory on Sunday, Patriots fans came away from the game with question marks about the offense. Brady looked off on multiple throws, seeming to float a lot of balls. While New England managed to put together 10 points from their offense, both scoring drives started in Buffalo territory. The Patriots offense was nowhere near expectation in Sunday’s matchup.

Ranked second in the league with 35.3 points per game heading into Week Three, the Patriots offense was looking like an unstoppable force. Despite releasing Antonio Brown just over a week ago, the Patriots have an offense full of weapons. With Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, James White, Phillip Dorsett, and Sony Michel among other talents, the Patriots were expected to have no issue scoring points.

Many fans may lean towards hitting the panic button after such a showing. That being said, let’s keep in mind the parameters of this game. Brady and the Patriots went up against the ninth-ranked team in terms of passing yards allowed per game in the Bills. In addition, Brady has tended to struggle in Buffalo, with no passing scores in his last three starts. While the performance was not one to write home about, rest assured that Brady and the Patriots should be back on track in their next game.

Pass Defense Is High Point After First Quarter of Season

On Sunday, the Patriots defense showed their strength again, especially in passing scenarios. Entering the week with a league-leading six interceptions, the Patriots added another four picks to that total on Sunday. Despite the talk of the town consistently being the offense over the Brady era, the Patriots defense should be talked about as well.

After four games, the Patriots defense have allowed just one touchdown, and the team as a whole had allowed just 27 points in total. Regardless of the play of Brady, this team has a chance to win every time they step on the field with this defense. With three All-Pro players in the secondary, this team is built to withstand playoff-caliber offenses. Patriots fans should be excited to see the talent this defense puts on the field week in and week out.

Looking Ahead: Patriots Continue Road Trip in Washington

The Patriots remain on the road in Week 5 as they face off against the 0-4 Washington Redskins. With their abysmal start, question marks surround how long the team stays with Case Keenum as their starter before handing reins to rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The game takes place on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET (CBS).

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