BUF-NE Grades: Patriots suffer yet another key offensive injury in win

The top takeaways and highest graded players from New England's 20-13 win over Buffalo.

| 11 months ago
(Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

(Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

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.

Top performers:

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)


Buffalo Bills

– 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.

Top performers:

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)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • snoth cambin

    Matt Patricia doing magic with that defense.

    • rogue

      I agree that MP is doing a fine job, but a lot of credit should go to the players. Chung is having a career year, Ryan is making me eat my words after 2 lackluster seasons, Butler has proven he’s not a fluke. Moreover, the Pats have 6 1st rounders and one early 2nd (Chung) on D: McCourty, Jones, Hightower, Mayo, Brown, Easley.

  • Thomas W

    Interesting that the Pats score so highly in the passing game. Maybe pass protection was deemed the problem.

    • Robert Anasi

      It certainly was. Brady was faced with unblocked rushers all game and often had fewer than 1.5 seconds to unload the ball. His strategy of throwing the ball away is one more QB’s should take; it won’t win you the game but at least it won’t lose it. He knows right away if the play is broken and takes the safe way out.

  • Marcus Cannon is one of the worst offensive lineman I’ve ever seen.

    • Devin

      Cam Fleming is right up there with him.

      • rogue

        Vollmer has been terrible too. He’s rated below replacement and has looked the part in games. Bad tackle play is contagious, it seems.

    • Engaged Reader

      He missed a few weeks with injuries, so it may be a little rust. He isn’t normally the disaster he was last night (though no world beater, either).

    • Tim Edell

      Watch Marshall Newhouse!!

  • JT

    C’mon blocking is one thing…Gronk dropped some easy catches..

    • Brian

      Blocking is part of what makes gronk so much better than any other tight end. He blocks like a tackle, absolutely dominant at times which is invaluable. Sure he dropped a couple passes, but the passes down by his ankles he grabs, the one handed catches, & the clutch catches while getting blasted in traffic make up for it. Also he absolutely run people over. If u watch YouTube videos of him u will find a monster that runs over 3, 4, 5 people at a time while having the speed to runaway from them as well. Watch the all 22 tape on the buffalo game. U look at his stats & think he had a quiet game but then look at the blocks he had & the attention he drew in the passing game. EVERY single time he ran a route at least 2 players tried to jam him or cover him. Sometimes up to 5 players were part of taking away gronk in a single play. He would get jammed by 2 different players then was released into coverage while being doubled with a safety overtop of him. Without gronk drawing that attention the offense isn’t able to move up and down the field. Especially now that edelman and lewis are gone. NO offensive player in the league draws as much attention as gronk. If u watch all 22 of anyone else whether it be dez, brown, julio, megatron, eifert, gates, hopkins, etc u will find they are mostly doubled & once in a blue moon tripled for various situations e.g. they have been ripping up the defense. Gronk wasn’t ripping up the buffalo defense yet they knew they had to take him away. Gronk is the most valuable non qb in the league on offense or defense.