The New England Patriots held on for a 37-31 win against the Buffalo Bills in a game that didn't seem like it should have been that close.
The Pats probably expected a better showing against Buffalo after tearing them apart in a 52-28 beatdown earlier in the season. But the Bills rallied behind 337 passing yards by Ryan Fitzpatrick and 150 combined rushing yards between C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. They were driving late with a chance to win with a touchdown, but Fitzpatrick's first pick of the game ended the upset bid. For New England fans, the win was more a relief than a cause for celebration, as evidenced by Greg Knopping's postgame recap at Patriots blog Pats Pulpit.
It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win... I guess. The Patriots had their worst defensive game of the season, sputtered on offense in the second half, and nearly blew another double digit fourth quarter lead. However, in the end, they were able hang on and defeat their divisional opponents.
Tony Santorsa, also at Pats Pulpit, was no more forgiving of the team's effort in his more detailed breakdown of the game, saying they were "very fortunate that they won the game" after playing down to a lesser opponent. The biggest culprit was the defense, calling out the Pats' front seven for their performance against the run but considering the main concern the play of the secondary:
Coming off of a 37-31 victory over the lowly Buffalo Bills, the Patriots secondary continues to be the team's biggest weakness and it's going to have to change. If it doesn't change, then there's no chance that the Patriots will make any noise in the playoffs this season—fact, not opinion.
With newly acquired cornerback Aqib Talib suiting up for the first time next week, there's help on the way in that department. But for now, the Pats will be glad to have escaped with a win after several blowing several late-game leads earlier in the season.