The Bills tried to copy the NY Giants defensive strategy that won them two Super Bowls. The Bills played 3 safeties in a Nickel defense and played a 4th Safety as a LB (almost a Dime defense). This was very evident on two of Gronk's catches.
The first was his long catch in the first Quarter. Two safties were playing high (20 yards off LOS) in what appeared to be a Tampa Two. However when Gronk went past them, they let him go, deciding to cover the 20 yard box in the middle of the field. This was the 1st long pass Brady completed this year. Later in the game he would complete another pass he doesn't usually throw, the deep fade to a completely outstretched Lloyd for another TD.
The second pass play was on Gronk's TD catch. Having established the run, the Patriots ran a play actiuon off of a run play they had been running all afternoon. The guard pulled and Brdy put the ball in the gut of the RB, only to pull it out. Gronk had already beaten the LB (safety Scott I think) who was sucked in by the Play Action. There was nobody home after that with both deep safeties covering deep corners.
The Bills don't have the personnel to run this defense. DE Mario Williams and Mark Anderson are not stout enough at the point of attack to stop the run. DT's Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams are run stuffers and can't penetrate to put pressure on QB. Connelly, Wendell and Thomas repeatedly buried the DT's inside and they were a non factor.
The funny part is that Buffalo didn't change! They kept playing this style and kept getting abused by the Patriots
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