BUF-NE Grades: Patriots suffer yet another key offensive injury in win
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Patriots’ 20-13 victory over the Bills:
New England Patriots
– Patriots fans will be praying that the injury that took Danny Amendola (+3.8) out of the game last night is not too serious; how many more injuries can this offense sustain before it begins to falter? Amendola was Tom Brady’s (+1.8) most reliable target last night, with the Bills determined to take Rob Gronkowski (+2.4) out of the game as a receiver. Brady and Amendola hooked up for nine catches against eight different Buffalo defenders, with all but two targeted within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.
– The Patriots are renowned for their shrewd free agent signings, and Jabaal Sheard (+4.1) has been a terrific veteran addition to allow them to spell workhorse defensive ends Rob Ninkovich (-0.5) and Chandler Jones (+1.0). Sheard had his most productive (six hurries, four stops) and highest-graded game as a Patriot last night, working the right side of the Bills’ offensive line in both run and pass defense, while also dropping into coverage for a stop on Chris Hogan (+0.4) late in the fourth quarter.
– A shortage at corner forced the Patriots to bring yet another safety into the rotation, and Tavon Wilson (+3.3) maintained the high standards that the three guys ahead of him on the depth chart have set this season. All four safeties who earned snaps last night earned positive grades, with Wilson adding value in the passing game with three pressures on three pass rushes, in addition to a pass defense and two stops in coverage.
DE Jabaal Sheard (+4.1)
WR Danny Amendola (+3.8)
S Tavon Wilson (+3.8)
CB Logan Ryan (+3.1)
TE Rob Gronkowski (+2.4)
– Though kept out of the sack column for the second straight week, Jerry Hughes (+5.6) had his third straight game with seven pressures against a divisional opponent. Matching his pressure from last week in New York against the Jets (one hit, six hurries), Hughes had Marcus Cannon (-6.6) on skates for much of the game, as he earned his fourth pass rush grade of the season of +2.0 or higher.
– When Tyrod Taylor (-1.6) had the opportunity to put a ball on his receiver down the field, he produced some superlative throws, with his out route over Patrick Chung (+1.6) to Charles Clay (+1.0) one of a number of excellent throws last night. However, that was balanced by an inability to keep the Bills’ offense ticking with efficient short passing, and ultimately nearly throwing a game-clinching interception to Chung in the final two minutes, as Buffalo’s attempted game-winning drive struggled to find first gear.
– While the left side of the Bills’ offensive line earned the highest grades on the offense last night, their starting right tackle continued his struggles with his fourth game of the season graded -2.0 or below. Coming off a subpar rookie season, Seantrel Henderson (-7.4) has alternated between solid and disappointing performances in 2015, and he will hope that last night was the lowest point of his season. Surrendering four pressures, only one resulted in a sack, but it could have been three with Tyrod Taylor evading Jabaal Sheard for a sack in the first and fourth quarters.
DE Jerry Hughes (+5.6)
LT Cordy Glenn (+2.1)
LG Richie Incognito (+1.8)
LB Preston Brown (+1.6)
DT Corbin Bryant (+1.1)