Monday, December 27, 2010
This was one of the easier games the Patriots have won all season. Probably the easiest. The Bills did just about everything they could to lose this game by 84 points.
It started early. The Bills drove down the field to begin the 1st quarter, running the ball well, cutting into the Pats' secondary like a burning chainsaw through chocolate. The Bills rushed for 67 yards on that opening drive, on 7 carries (9.6 per carry). Then they got into the red zone, tried a few passes that failed, then kicked a field goal.
The Bills soon got the ball back. And after their 67 yard rushing, 0 yard passing drive, they went 3 and out with 3 straight passes and 3 straight incompletions. Thanks for the favor.
And while the Bills' tactics were moronic, the Patriots' were simple, but effective. They ran the ball. A lot. The Pats amassed 217 yards on the ground, and got 12 of their 19 first downs by rushing. BJG Ellis ran for 104, Woodhead got 93, even Brady rushed for 13.
Then came the turnovers. Then more turnovers. Then more turnovers. The Pats left a few points on the field, especially Wes Welker, but it didn't matter. You can't turn the ball over 7 times and expect to be in the game. The Patriots cruised to victory, clinching the AFC East, clinching a bye, clinching home-field advantage.
This is the Patriots' 13th divisional title, and their 8th under Brady-Belichick. This will be the first time they've secured the #1 seed since 2007.
The Jets lost, but backed into the playoffs thanks to Washington beating the Jags.
The Pats host the Dolphins Sunday afternoon. Don't expect to see a scrub team out there, as Belichick's philosophy has always been to favor reps over rest. And with the bye secured, there's not much of a need for rest.