BOSTON (CBS) — Sunday was a tough outing for the Pats, a game they did not look prepared to play.
That could just be a product of rookie Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, a decision that was made just prior to game time when Jimmy Garoppolo was deemed unable to go. But nevertheless, the Pats were not ready and they were shut out by the Buffalo Bills.
Here are your gold stars and penalty flags from New England’s 16-0 loss to the Bills:
– Malcolm Mitchell gets a gold star, and not for anything he did during the game but for his actions during warm ups. Bills players were purposely warming up in the Patriots running path, and as Jacoby Brissett ran through them the second time, Robert Blanton shoved Brissett. The Pats starting QB kept his head and kept moving. Mitchell pushed back though, standing up for his quarterback. That’s the fire the Pats needed all game long. Mitchell though held his own among a swarm of Bills and he did the right thing. Major respect.
– Martellus Bennett gets a gold star. He’s simply a freak. I’m convinced that this is what Lebron James would look like if he could play football. Sunday was another 100+-yard day for the big tight end, leading all pass catchers with 105 yards on five receptions. Everyone questioned whether this was going to be another Scott Chandler situation, and the answer is obviously “no.” Bennett is a star and when Gronk gets fully healthy, they will both be hard to cover.
– The Pats offensive play calling gets a penalty flag. I understand that they were limited in what they could do with Brissett, but they had to be better than that. Instead, they got shut out at home for the first time since 1993. Nothing worked and when they finally got something going, a penalty or turnover changed the momentum. Rarely do the Pats look unprepared, but they did offensively against the Bills on Sunday.
– Stephen Gostkowski gets a penalty flag for another missed field goal. Is it time to raise an eyebrow and worry? Gostkowski is missing more frequently now, and for the first time in a long time, nothing is automatic for him. I believe it’s now time to pay attention to his kicks.
– The refs deserve penalty flags. How many hits to the head was Brissett going to take before the refs decided to do their job? There were at least two instances on Sunday where the Bills made no effort to tackle; they just wanted the head shot. Players are taught to wrap up or hit with their shoulders. Either case, their arms are in front of them. Too many instances on Sunday had the Bills leading with the head and aiming at Brissett’s head. The refs need to pay attention or players getting carted off the field won’t only be because of knee and back injuries.