PASSING OFFENSE: A
Before leaving to an ovation with 7:00 to go in the game, quarterback Tom Brady engineered a no-huddle, spread offense to near perfection against the league's third-ranked pass defense. He completed 21-of-32 passes for 204 yards with four first half touchdown passes to four different receivers that put the game away. He was sacked twice and lost a fumble, but finished with a season-high 122.9 passer rating. Wideout David Givens had a tremendous day with seven grabs for 80 yards and a score while Deion Branch added six catches for 58 yards, Troy Brown hauled in five for 52 yards and a touchdown and Bethel Johnson, Christian Fauria and Daniel Graham all added one grab.
Brady did a terrific job identifying where Buffalo's pressure was coming from and where the weak spots in coverage would be and then dissected the Bills vaunted defense, directing three touchdown drives on the Patriots first four possessions. The game was essentially over midway through the second quarter thanks to Brady and the passing attack.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A
For the second week in a row, New England found some room to run. The running game was actually an afterthought early on. In the first quarter, Brady threw 18 times while the running backs garnered four carries. But once the Patriots staked themselves to a big lead, they let the running game eat the clock.
Antowain Smith had his second consecutive strong game with 15 attempts for 74 yards and a respectable 4.9 yards per carry while Kevin Faulk added nine runs for 26 yards. New England finished with 34 carries for 131 yards and did a solid job pounding away when it had the lead - something it hasn't always done this season.
PASS DEFENSE: A-plus
The Patriots came after Drew Bledsoe early and often and forced him into another miserable afternoon. Tedy Bruschi forced a first quarter Mike Vrabel interception with pressure that set up the Patriots second touchdown and also had sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery that led to a field goal. Bledsoe completed 12-of-29 passes for 83 yards, was sacked three times and off target throughout while compiling a 34.7 passer rating.
He was relieved by Travis Brown, who completed 11-of-13 throws before being picked off in the end zone on his final attempt in the game's final seconds. Bledsoe had no time to go downfield and when he threw short, the Patriots defenders were there to make the stop. Eric Moulds caught a team-high seven passes for Buffalo, but for only 55 yards. Playing with a makeshift offensive line, Buffalo was no match for the Patriots rush and overall pass defense.
RUSH DEFENSE: B
Travis Henry had a solid day, running 15 times for 62 yards and a 4.1 yards per carry average while Sammy Morris added four runs for 17 yards against a defense geared up to stop the Bills passing attack. Henry got off a to a good start with four runs for 19 yards in the first quarter, but it was 21-0 New England when he got his first touch of the second quarter, meaning he was basically a non-factor from that point forward.
Bruschi led the way with 10 tackles while strong safety Rodney Harrison had nine. Henry's longest run was 12 yards, as the Patriots again did a good job of preventing the big play and the long run. New England wasn't dominant against the run, but it didn't need to be.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus
This was one of New England's worst special teams performances of the season. Adam Vinatieri hit the left upright with a 24-yard field goal try. And while punter Ken Walter had one of his best days, averaging 43.3 yards on his three punts, the coverage teams struggled. Nate Clements had a 30-yard punt return and Antonio Brown broke off a 75-yard kickoff return while averaging 32.3 yards on his four returns. Troy Brown had a decent day returning punts with a 12.3-yard average on three returns.
The Patriots offensive game plan simply overwhelmed Buffalo's second ranked defense, which seemed ill-prepared to make the necessary adjustments. New England came out in a no-huddle, five wide formation and dissected Buffalo for three touchdowns in four possessions, which essentially ended the game at the 14:00 mark of the second quarter. The Bills, with nothing to play for, showed nothing from that point forward.
Defensively, the Patriots brought heavy pressure at Drew Bledsoe against a makeshift offensive line and the immobile pocket quarterback was rendered defenseless. He had to throw the ball early and in the face of Patriots defenders and was often off the mark. The Patriots were ready to play, unlike in the first meeting of the season, and they didn't need the coaches for motivation, but the coaches drew up a plan that ended the game early on thanks to its near-perfect execution.