Film Study: Jimmy Garoppolo vs. the Bills

Tom Brady's suspension was upheld by the NFL, so it appears that Jimmy Garoppolo will play under center for the New England Patriots. In Week 17, the quarterback played in the 2nd half against the Buffalo Bills. Here's a look at his play.

Tom Brady’s four game suspension has been upheld by the NFL. Brady plans on taking the league to court and an injunction could keep him on the field, but it’s likely that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots for the first four weeks of the season. In Week 2, the Patriots will face off with the Buffalo Bills. Garoppolo and the Bills are somewhat familiar with one another.

Last season, Garoppolo played in the second half of Buffalo’s Week 17 game against New England. For the game, the rookie quarterback went 10-of-17 for 90 yards, while adding 16 yards on the ground on four carries. Here’s a look at some of Garoppolo’s highlights and lowlights from the game.

Drive One

The Patriots go 3-and-out on the series. Garoppolo throws a five yard completion to Danny Amendola to start the drive but is sacked by Jarius Wynn for a three yard loss on second down. On third down, Garoppolo escapes Wynn’s pressure and rolls towards the sidelines before throwing an incomplete pass to Tim Wright. Here’s a look at Wynn’s sack.

Garoppolo: 1-for-2, 5 yards, 1 sack, -3 yards

Drive Two

New England gets the ball moving on the ground at the start of their second series with Garoppolo in at quarterback. LeGarrette Blount takes three carries for 45 yards. On their first attempted pass of the series, Mario Williams sacks Garoppolo for a one yard loss.

On the next play, Jerry Hughes sacks Garoppolo, but two penalties are called on Buffalo’s defense to extend the drive. New England then ran the ball five consecutive plays, including a four yard carry by Garoppolo that gave the Patriots a first down. A rush for no gain by Blount and an incomplete pass to Amendola puts the Patriots in a 3rd and 10 situation. On 3rd and 10, Garoppolo completes his second pass of the game for nine yards. New England elects to go for it on 4th and 1 from Buffalo’s 13 yard line.

The run by Garoppolo is sniffed out by Ron Brooks and the Patriots turn the ball over on downs.

Garoppolo: 1-for-2, 9 yards, 2 carries for 3 yards, 1 sack, -1 yard

Drive Three

New England starts their third drive in terrific field position following Danny Amendola’s 24 yard punt return. On the first play of the drive, Garoppolo rolls to his right and has enough time to complete a 20 yard pass to Brandon LaFell. The completion puts New England on Buffalo’s 24 yard line.

On the next three plays, Garoppolo throws the ball. The first pass goes for no gain to Amendola and is followed by an incomplete pass to Michael Hoomanawanui. On 3rd and 10, Garoppolo completes a seven yard pass to Amendola. New England elects to kick the field goal on 4th and 3 to cut Buffalo’s lead down to eight points.

Garoppolo: 3-for-4, 27 yards

Drive Four

Garoppolo seemed more comfortable entering his fourth drive. He started with a 14 yard completion to Brandon LaFell.

On the next two plays, Garoppolo scrambled for four yards and then threw an incomplete pass. On 3rd and 6, Garoppolo showed off his ability to evade pressure and scramble by picking up nine yards.

Garoppolo completes a 12 yard pass on the next play to Amendola to once again move the chains. Following a Blount run for a loss of one yard and an incomplete pass, Garoppolo throws another incomplete pass to Tim Wright on third down. However, an unnecessary roughness penalty on Ron Brooks keeps New England’s drive alive. A run for a loss of one yard by Brandon Bolden sets up a 2nd and 11 for the Patriots which turns out to be Garoppolo’s worst play of the game. The quarterback tries to evade pressure by running backwards and ends up taking a sack from Manny Lawson and Wynn that goes for a loss of 15 yards.

On 3rd and 26, the Patriots get called for holding, which leads to a 3rd and 36. Garoppolo completes a 15 yard pass to Tim Wright, but New England is forced to punt on fourth down.

Garoppolo: 3-for-5, 41 yards, 2 carries, 13 yards, 1 sack, 15 yards lost

Drive Five

New England has a chance to tie the game on their final drive of the game. With 1:50 left, New England calls four consecutive pass plays. The first pass goes for a three yard gain to James White and the second pass goes back to White for a gain of five yards. On 3rd and 2, Garoppolo throws incomplete to LaFell. It sets up the following fourth down play:

Garoppolo tries to hit Amendola on a slant pattern but it’s well covered by Nickell Robey. The Patriots turned the ball over on downs and the Bills proceeded to run out the clock.

Garoppolo: 2-for-4, 8 yards

Buffalo shouldn’t take Garoppolo lightly in Week 2. The quarterback will have a better understanding of the playbook as well as much more practice time leading up to the game. Garoppolo can make tough throws and he showed the ability to scramble when pressured. In his second season, Garoppolo’s game should improve so no one should consider this game an easy win for the Bills.

That said, Buffalo’s defense was able to sack the quarterback three times in Week 17 without Marcell Dareus, Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin on the field. A healthy Bills defense could give Garoppolo fits in his second start of the 2015 season. 

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