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Nightmare In Foxboro
Another heartbreaking way to lose to the Patriots, on Monday night, and 25-24.
by Steve Saslow
at
Week 1
Bills  24
Patriots  25
Gameday Grades
Recap
The Skinny:
The Bills found another way to lose in heartbreaking fashion as they lost again on Monday night by a 25-24 loss and in the same terrible fashion as they did against Dallas in 2007. The Bills had a 24-13 lead when Fred Jackson scored on a 10 yard pass with 5:32 to go. The Patriots scored two touchdowns in 1:16 seconds sandwiched between a Leodis McKelvin fumbled kick return when the Bills were looking for an onside kick. Aaron Schobel returned an interception for a touchdown and Shawn Nelson scored a touchdown on his first NFL reception.

The Turning Point:
Leodis McKelvin shockingly deciding to return the kickoff from his own end zone when all is blockers were out of the game and the hands team was out there for a possible onside kick. He then fumbled the ball away as it was ripped out of his hands and setup the winning score.

The Big Drive:
After the Bills went up 24-13 they went into the prevent defense and let the Patriots walk down the field as they went 81 yards in 11 plays and allowed them to score a touchdown before the two minute warning.

Stat of the Game:
Time of Possession - The Patriots had the ball 14 more minutes which is going to happen in the no huddle but it may have tired out the Bills defenders in the final minutes.

What You Don't See On The Stat Sheet:
The play calling by Alex Van Pelt was creative and for the most part effective. The blocking schemes allowed the young offensive line to hold up very well in pass protection and open up holes for the running game. Good use of play action and screen passes allowed the offense to move the ball despite gaining only 276 yards.

Quick Slants:
- The decision to defer on the opening coin toss is something that boggles the mind. Jauron did that most weeks last year as well. Why put Tom Brady and the high powered Patriots offense on the field first? Luckily the 4th down stop on the opening possession stopped the call from hurting the team.
- Terrell Owens didn't have a pass thrown to him in the first quarter. The first one went his way early in the 2nd quarter and he dropped a third down pass that forced a punt. The Pats tied the game at 7 on the ensuing possession. His first pass reception wasn't until 40 minutes into the game but it converted a third and one for 27 yards. He was called for offensive pass interference as well.
- Aaron Maybin was stood up by Matt Light on one play and now knows his speed rushing may not work in the NFL without another move.
- Jim Kelly spent the game on the sidelines. Something he normally does in home games only.

My Take:
Throughout the game I was tweeting that I couldn't see them winning the game. When they opened the 11 point lead the thought creeped into my head that they may actually win it. Then I remembered devastating close losses in New England in 2005 and the 2006 season opener. It ended up eerily similar to the Monday night loss against Dallas by the same score. Throw in last year's heartbreaking loss on Monday Night in Cleveland and you begin to think the Bills should refuse to play under the lights. I never totally let myself believe they could win because they just aren't mentally tough to put a great team away on the road. This loss is going to be very hard to come back from as Donte Whitner was in tears after the game.

What's Ahead:
The Bills don't have long to lick their wounds. They have their home opener on Sunday at 4:05pm. It will be a short work week but they will play one of the weaker teams on their schedule as Tampa Bay making their first trip ever to Orchard Park.

Gameballs
  • Aaron Schobel - Had a sack, an interception return for a TD, two QB hits, and two passes defensed.
  • Fred Jackson - 140 total yards including 83 receiving.


  • Goats
  • Demetrius Bell - He was called for four penalties by himself.
  • Leodis McKelvin - Not only did he make a bad move returning that kick, he said he'd do it again. He also was beaten a few times in the passing game and missed an open field tackle.
  • Terrell Owens - Dropped a pass and got called for a pass interference penalty. Caught only two balls for 46 yards.


  • Player Of The Week
  • Aaron Schobel - He was definitely missed last year and he always plays well against New England.


  • Positional Breakdown and Grades
    Game Recap
    NFL.com Gamebook
    Patriots Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage




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