Looking Back at 3 Key Bills/Patriots Matchups

Leading up to the Bills/Patriots game, Ryan Talbot discussed three key matchups. What were the outcomes of the matchups? Were they important to the outcome of the game?

Leading up the Buffalo Bills/New England Patriots game, I looked at three key matchups. These were matchups that I felt would determine the outcome of the game. How did the matchups go? Did they determine the outcome? Let's take a look.

Bills Defensive Line vs. Patriots Offensive Line

The Bills had all four starters on the field against New England. They were going against a Patriots line that was without it's starting center, Bryan Stork, and one that eventually lost guard Dan Connolly. With the injuries, you'd think the Bills would get to Brady early and often. Pressuring Tom Brady was the biggest key to the game. How did the Bills fare?

Two sacks, four hits and five hurries. Not exactly the result Bills fans were hoping for. Brady often found himself having plenty of time to pass the ball and he carved Buffalo's defense apart. The quarterback completed 27-of-37 passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns. It was a typical Brady performance against an opponent that he's dominated.

Buffalo's defensive line did do their job against New England's offensive line in run defense, but overall their performance wasn't enough on Sunday. 

Chalk this one up as a loss for the Bills.

Patriots Tight Ends vs. Bills Linebackers/Secondary

The Bills have struggled against Patriots tight ends for the last few seasons. Sunday was no different. While the Bills kept Rob Gronkowski out of the end zone for the first time (thanks to a holding call), the tight end still caught seven passes for 94 yards. Gronk dominated against anyone the Bills put on him, especially safety Duke Williams. Gronkowski sealed New England's victory late when he converted a 3rd and 16 for the Patriots. It was a back breaking reception that closed the door on any Bills comeback.

The Bills may have stopped Gronkowski from scoring a touchdown, but Tim Wright added one for the tight end corps. His one yard touchdown reception came after a Duke Williams pass interference call and put the Patriots up 7-0. Michael Hoomanawanui also added a 15 yard reception.

Final total: 9 receptions, 110 yards, 1 touchdown

New England won this matchup hands-down.

Sammy Watkins vs. Darrelle Revis

The final matchup was Buffalo's first round pick, Sammy Watkins, and Darrelle Revis. The latter showed that he's still one of the best cornerbacks in the game as he held Watkins to zero targets in the first half. In the second half, it appeared that Watkins was having more success getting open, but he was only targeted three times. 

Watkins finished with two receptions for 27 yards. Watkins found himself on "Revis Island" on Sunday. He joins many outstanding wide receivers who have struggled against the cornerback. When the two meet again at the end of the season, it'll be interesting to see if there's a different outcome. 

It's really no surprise that the Patriots were victorious, as they won all three key matchups on Sunday.

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