Every week, the Patriots seem to find new ways to win. Whether it is slinging the ball all around the field, running it down the opposing team's throat, or stepping up on defense, there is no question about it: this Patriots team has that championship mentality that the 2007 team lacked.
From the first drive, it was clear that the Patriots were going to have to kick field goals instead of scoring touchdowns and step up on defense to win this game at a chilly Gillette Stadium. The Bills defensive front was putting an extreme amount of pressure on Tom Brady, who was hit early and often throughout the game. The interior offensive line was having problems identifying the blitz, and, because of this, Brady spent a lot of the game on his back.
The one bright spot in an otherwise terrible offensive night was James White. While he did not see a lot of targets or rushing attempts, when he did manage to get the ball he was extremely effective. White finished the day with one rushing TD and one TD reception through the air.
On the other side of the football, the Patriots might have put together their best performance of the season. While Shady McCoy was able to have his way with the Patriots, the Pats were able to limit the damage to just him. Dont'a Hightower broke up multiple plays behind the line of scrimmage and Malcolm Butler put together a fantastic day, limiting Sammy Watkins to being virtually invisible.
All in all, a win is a win. However, Danny Amendola was hurt in the third quarter and did not return. While he is getting an MRI on his knee on Tuesday, the injury is said to reportedly be minor. If the Patriots lose Amendola for any amount of time, they will have a tough game ahead of them. Next Sunday night's game against Denver could be the Patriots last true test for the regular season, and could provide a clear cut image of the AFC if the Pats are able to squeak out a victory. A win virtually locks in a #1 seed for New England, as the Patriots would have three less losses than the Broncos, while owning the tie breaker.
Extended thoughts will come later in the week, but let me just say this: if the Patriots are able to win next weekend, this team is everything and more that we thought they would be. The odds are not in their favor, but who the hell knows anymore.
Until next week, Pats Nation.
By Pete Packowski