Devin McCourty was the hero of the day, forcing a crucial fumble at the one yard line, and then closing the game out with 28 seconds left with an end zone interception. Playing safety, McCourty seems to be much more comfortable with the action in front of him.
"No matter what happens in the game, there's nothing bigger than turnovers," McCourty stated. "When the game gets toward the end, those big plays change the game."
McCourty had his positives for the day, but the rest of the defense, not so much.
The Buffalo offense racked up close to 500 yards with 337 of them coming off the arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Bill Belichick explained that the Bills didn't make many big plays. "They didn't really hit us with a lot of big plays," "They've got an explosive group of skilled players and they got them all involved."
Brandon Spikes continues his emergence as a premier run stopper, laying the wood on running back Fred Jackson and knocking him out of the game.
Jerod Mayo led the Patriots defense in tackles with 12, followed by Spikes with 11.
Things could change if Aqib Talib can take over the number one cornerback position. McCourty is a better player on the last line of defense and the addition of Talib could facilitate a permanent move that could strengthen a flailing secondary.
Buffalo exposed the zone concepts of the Patriots by receivers sitting down in soft spots and Ryan Fitzpatrick finding them early and often. Fortunately, one throw cost the Bills the game, when McCourty sat down in the exact place Fitzpatrick wanted to go with the ball.
The Patriots had three sacks, one each by Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Ninkovich and Vince Wilfork.
Buffalo had 35 first downs, and ran 71 plays, way too much for any defense.
The Bills spread the ball around as no runner or receiver had more than 86 yards gained.