The New England Patriots are 6-3 on Monday morning, but it wasn't easy.
The Buffalo Bills put up a good fight, but in the end, the Patriots offense, even without Aaron Hernandez, was able to keep their normal output flowing. The Patriots took aim at Buffalo's ailing rush defense as they game planned to stay balanced while delivering some punishment via the ground.
Stevan Ridley gained 98 yards and a touchdown as he entered the game as the AFC's leading rusher. Ridley pounded the ball while Danny Woodhead filled the roles of running back and receiver, catching a touchdown while running another one in.
The running game took the pressure off Tom Brady, who seemed to have a walk in the park type afternoon.
Brady was 23 for 38 for 237 and 2 touchdowns, but he wasn't satisfied.
"I had an opportunity to do something about it 50 seconds before that," he said. "the defense really saved the day."
The Patriots offensive line did their job, opening holes and giving Brady time to deliver the ball, but it seems to have come at a cost. Logan Mankins left the game with an ankle injury and was seen with a boot after the game.
Wes Welker led in receiving with six receptions, extending his streak to 103 games with a catch. On the negative side, a Welker drop in the first quarter would’ve been sure touchdown.
Although the Patriots are a game plan team, it's evident that there is a strong focus on balance. The emergence of Ridley has opened up the Patriots offense, adding a new dimension to their attack.
The Patriots used multiple sets in the passing game, but went with the old staple of the 3WR/1TE/1RB set to run the ball with the zone blocking concept.
The game management still needs some work as the offense once again, with the opportunity to close the game out, failed.