Bills-Patriots: Game Balls & Goats

The Patriots survived a close game against the division rival Buffalo Bills Monday Night. Who did well and who didn't? We hand out our awards for Game Balls (good things) and Goats (not-so good things)

The New England Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 25-24 Monday night with a boatload of good fortune coming their way late in the game.

Each week we recap the game and offer up our own criticisms and compliments in what we call "Game Balls and Goats." Fans are encouraged to participate by submitting their own.

First the good.

GAME BALLS:

1. Tom Brady - He may have shown rust, ahe may have been sluggish, but in crunch time Brady kept finding the open target. Two throws dead on to Ben Watson put New England up 25-24.

2. Randy Moss - 12 catches for 141 yards? If anyone doubted Moss would have a good game, those doubts have been answered. Moss came up big for the Patriots, converting third downs and gaining big chunks of yards when it counted.

3. Ben Watson - He had a bad drop, but when the game was on the line, Watson came up big. Two catches for touchdowns show why the Patriots weren't worried about trading David Thomas and cutting both Greg Lewis and Alex Smith.

Honorable mention:
Stephen Gostkowski. - though he missed a FG, he made up for it with a solid boot on the games final kickoff and earned major props for getting into the scrum to wrestle the fumble ball away for a Patriots recovery.

Wes Welker - from not playing ot 12 catches for 93 yards, some of them very tough ones. Welker also returned 2 punts for 21 yards


GOATS:

1. Run Defense - The team allowed the Bills to gain big chunks of yards at inopportune times. Buffalo finished with 19 carries for 90 yards (4.7 avg.). Though they avoided the big play, the Patriots need to find a way to limit what backup running backs can do against the front seven.

2, Ground Game - The Patriots ran the ball 23 times and they barely eeked out 73 yards on the ground. One of those runs was a 9-yad scramble by tom Brady. With the talent the Patriots have in the backfield, racking up just 57 yards on 19 carries from their starting backs for a paltry 3 yard avg, is a big letdown. Fault the line, fault the runners, they both need to step up their game.

3. Third Down Defense - Although the Patriots had success with their own third down attempts, the defense gave up 4 of 10 conversion attempts. That translates into 40% success rate, close to the bottom third of the league in a normal season. The Patriots can ill afford to let a any team achieve that level of success s and hope to win ballgames.

Honorable mention:
Leodis McKelvin -- Why return the ball? A kneeldown and a bunch of running plays could have miled the clock to make it even harder for the Patriots. Young players need ot realize the importance of every play.

Pass Protection -- The Patriots offensive line had trouble keeping Bills defenders off tom Brady. Though Brady was sacked only once, he made the line look better than they should have.

MORE:
Fans can send Game Balls and Goats HERE


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