Patriots Escape Bills’ Stampede in 2013 Season Opener


Good evening, everyone! I hope everyone had a terrific summer and are glad that football is back. We got a little taste of football being back last Thursday, but we finally got to see our New England Patriots on the field. Though it was against the Buffalo Bills on the road, I was just glad that Pats football was back after over half a year. Though it wasn’t a pretty game, New England still managed to escape with a victory.

The first quarter was an interesting one. I was anticipating the Patriots’ rookies to make an impact early. They did not and it seemed like the Pats were preferring the run game. Stevan Ridley didn’t get off to a great start as he fumbled the ball very early in the quarter. Luckily, New England recovered the ball. The Pats didn’t score on that drive but on Buffalo’s ensuing possession, they fumbled the ball inside their redzone. This time, the Patriots took advantage of the opportunity, with Tom Brady throwing a 9-yd touchdown pass to Julian Edelman.

Things started to turn the Bills’ way in the 2nd quarter. And for the most part, it stayed that way for the majority of the match. While the Patriots’ defense was alright, the offensive line had some serious issues. New England was forced to punt several times due to the offensive line’s inability to give Brady more time to throw the ball. But hey, if passing doesn’t work, why not run the ball? So they did, and Ridley fumbled the ball AGAIN. The only difference was now the Bills’ Da’Norris Searcy picked up the ball and ran it all the way down for a touchdown. Even though Brady threw another touchdown pass to Edelman 7 minutes later, the Bills were really controlling the tempo. In the last minute of the second quarter, rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld deflected a pass from Brady right into the hands of a Bills player. And they took full advantage of that, with EJ Manuel throwing an 18-yd touchdown to Robert Woods. New England had the 17-14 lead at the half, but the momentum clearly belonged to Buffalo.

Since the Patriots got the ball first in the 1st half, the Bills would get the ball in the 2nd half. And they capitalized on their first possession, with Manuel throwing a touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson (also 18 yards). I honestly could not believe what I was seeing. I knew there was still a lot of time left but were the Patriots seriously going to give this game up…to the Bills? It looked like that as a really promising drive for the Pats ended as Brady fumbled the ball at Buffalo’s 1-yd line on 4th and goal. In addition, the Patriots were pinned inside their 10 and didn’t do squat to get out of there. At that point, maybe I thought that the Patriots’ chances of losing was more likely.

This was it, the fourth quarter. The Patriots had to do something, right? But it seemed like they just couldn’t find a way to get touchdowns. Stephen Gostkowski did tack on a 33-yd field goal, but New England was still trailing 21-20. The possessions went back-and-forth after that. The Patriots couldn’t score because no one could catch, and the Bills couldn’t score because the Patriots defense decided to step up. The Patriots were awarded one final possession and took the ball inside Buffalo territory. With excellent clock management, the Patriots (at the Bills’ 17-yd line) called a timeout with 9 seconds left. On came Gostkowski and he drilled the 35-yd field goal to give the Patriots a 23-21. This was actually funny to me because he’s missed from that distance and closer several times over the past two seasons. Nonetheless, I could breathe once again and the Patriots held on to win the game by a final score of 23-21.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how you win games. What matters is that you win them. That’s what the New England Patriots did today. They beat the Buffalo Bills and are now 1-0 on the season and not 0-1. Although, it definitely could’ve been prettier. I’d like to point out that this game really told a lot about the Patriots offense. While I’m really glad guys like Danny Amendola (extra clutch) and Julian Edelman stepped up, what about the rookies? These two can’t carry the Patriots passing game on their backs every week. The rookies have to step up as well. Aaron Dobson wasn’t playing today but if he comes back against the New York Jets this Thursday, he and the other rookie receivers (Kenbrell Thompkins, Zach Sudfeld) have to give it their all. Even though it’s a short week, they have to be prepared. It would be a shame to see the same performance against the Jets at home. Still, in the end, In Bill We Trust. Have a great week, everybody! Let’s go Patriots!

Raj Vaidya

About Raj Vaidya

Computer Science major at Rutgers University. I am a die-hard Patriots fan living in the Princeton, NJ area and have been writing for Foxboro Blog since 2012.