BOSTON (CBS) — It wasn’t pretty, but the Patriots improved to 10-0 on the season with a 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.
The Patriots won a hard-fought divisional game against Rex Ryan and his Bills, and now have to deal with a short week before taking on the Broncos out in Denver.READ MORE: Patriots Denied Peyton Manning Access To Interview Mac Jones Before Bills Game
As the wins keep mounting, so do the injury concerns for New England’s football team. Here are the Ups and Downs from Monday night’s win over the Bills:
Defense Stands Their Ground
On a night when the offense wasn’t at their best, the defense stepped up in a big way.
Malcolm Butler blanketed Sammy Watkins all night, holding Buffalo’s top receiving option to just three catches on six targets. Devin McCourty made a huge play near the end of the first half, knocking a potential touchdown out of the hands of LeSean McCoy.
Tyrod Taylor was 20-of-36 for 233 yards in the air, but the New England front seven didn’t let him do much damage with his legs and delivered some big hits on the QB when he decided to run. Rob Ninkovich had 1.5 sacks and the team finished with six tackles for a loss on the evening.
The Bills were just 3-for-15 on third down conversions.
When the Bills were down 10 points in the fourth but threatening to find the end zone, the D held them to a 35-yard field goal, and they made another stop when the Bills got one final shot at the end of the game.
On a night when the offense struggled to score points and stay on the field, the defense was up to the challenge and led the team to their 10th win of the season.
James White Scores Twice
White did his best Dion Lewis impression, scoring the first two touchdowns of his young NFL career.
His first came on a 20-yard catch-and-run late in the second quarter, where he shook a would-be tackler to find the end zone and give New England a 10-3 lead just before the half. His second came on a six-yard rush in the third quarter, giving the Pats a 17-10 lead.
White finished the night with two catches for 32 yards and two carries for 14 yards, so his night isn’t going to win any awards for breakout performance. But he made some big plays when the Patriots needed them, something he’ll have to continue to do the rest of the way.
Amendola Fills In Nicely
The Patriots needed someone to step in the passing game up with Julian Edelman sidelined and that man was Danny Amendola, who had nine reception for 117 yards on 12 targets. He was Brady’s go-to guy when the Patriots needed to move the chains, filling that Edelman role nicely. But, there’s one problem, which we’ll get to in a moment.READ MORE: TJX Will Require COVID Booster Shots For Office Employees
Division Crown Next?
With the win, the Patriots put themselves in an early position to clinch the AFC East — which is always the team’s first of many goals in a season.
The Pats can clinch their division Sunday night with a win over the Broncos and a Dolphins loss to the Jets.
Amendola & Dobson Add To Injury Concerns
Unfortunately, that great performance might be the last we see of No. 80 this season, as he joins the growing list of New England’s walking wounded.
Amendola left Monday night’s game with a knee injury in the second half and never returned. To make matters worse, Aaron Dobson also left the game and didn’t return.
By the end of the game, the only receivers on the field were Brandon LaFell and Chris Harper. Tom Brady is running out of guys to throw the ball to, but the QB said he and his team will “keep on fighting.”
Brady Gets Beat Up
Brady was only sacked once on Monday night, but he was hit 10 times. That’s a lot of hits for a 38-year-old quarterback who now has a short week to get ready for one of the NFL’s best defenses next Sunday in Denver.
Rough Night For Marcus Cannon
Cannon returned to protect Tom Brady’s blind side, but had a night he’d probably like to forget. He committed two penalties on New England’s opening drive and another in the third quarter that negated a 27-yard reception by Chris Harper.
Games on National TV usually go a little longer than your usual 1pm Sunday start, but this one was about 20 minutes longer thanks to the numerous huddles the officials found themselves in thanks to messes they created.
Their “inadvertent whistle” in the third quarter that canceled out what could have been a long Amendola touchdown takes the cake.MORE NEWS: Student Charged With Taking 'Authentic Looking' Toy Gun, Alcohol To School In Lynn