PAT-BILLS ON CHRISTMAS EVE
AN ANALYSIS FROM WAY UP HIGH
On Christmas Eve Day, I took my wife and younger son (who had never been to a game at Gillette) to see the Patriots host the Bills. I shelled out $130 per ticket (a bargain, believe it or not) for seats that would have gone for about $30 in half of the NFL venues around the country that day. We started the day with a mile walk from a satellite parking lot ($35) and then warmed up on this cold day with an eight story walk up to our seats. The seats had surprising good site lines. The stadium is well built for football.
The game started with the Patriots going three and out including a horribly off target throw to back up to the backup tight end Jacob Hollister. Brady was well off target pretty much the entire first half. The Bills then got the ball and marched down the field, slowly but easily. Fortunately, Taylor, who also missed a lot of open guys in the first half, overthrew Clay and the Bills settled for a field goal. The Patriots answered the Bills drive with a very similar one highlighted by a 24-yard pass to Dorsett (who?) and a 6-yard run by the best back-up to the back-up, Gillislee who had been a healthy scratch for several games.
The Bills then shredded the Patriot defense all the way down to the 6-yard line where on 4th and 2 they decided to go for it instead of kicking the easy field goal. Naturally they ran a play that had no chance of doing anything and Tyrod was sacked. Fans started congratulating each other and laughed at the Bills for doing Bill-like things. The momentum had turned and surely this was the beginning of the end except Brady did a very Bill-like thing and tossed a beautiful pass to the only man in the area, Jordan Poyer of the Bills, who was very happy to accept a pick-six Christmas gift. (Some butt-kissing beat writers blamed Kenny Britt for poor route running but it was Brady’s boo-boo).
Pats come back with an incredible over the head back shoulder catch by Gronk who managed to control the ball with both feet in and take the ball to the ground. Game tied. Bills punt, Patriot field goal and then Tyrod leads the Bills on a terrific 2-minute drive culminating in a fantastic 4-yard TD catch by Benjamin who somehow got both feet down in bounds as the official replay showed (crowd got quiet) and the Bills had a 4-point lead EXCEPT the catch was overturned. Fans started saying they knew it all along and there was a noise complaint in Denver regarding a local Bills fan. Bills settle for field goal. 13-13 tie but didn’t we all know the game was over now?
The Bills did take the lead one more time on their only points of the 2nd half (field goal). Patriots then tied it but not before CONTROVERSIAL CALL TWO. Lewis stopped on 4th and 1 at Bills 26-yard line. Patriots challenge the call and win the ruling. The official replay on the scoreboard did show an angle where it did appear Lewis made it. Once again police in Denver were called to the same address for a noise complaint.
The Bills entered the 4th quarter down by only seven and driving. They had 4th and 1 at the NE 32 when they once again decided to do Bill-like things. Remember in the first half they passed on a chip shot field goal and got stopped? This time they decided to kick a long field goal into the wind rather than continue the drive. Field goal missed. Dion Lewis goes wild, Pats score two TDs (wisely taking Gronk out of the game after the first one) and what was really a close game becomes a rout with Hoyer in victory formation at the end.
Good luck in week 17 Bills. I really hope you make the dance.