Patriots: 52 Bills: 28 - Week 4 Recap

What it means - For a brief period of time in the beginning of the third quarter it looked like the Pats had a chance of falling to 1-3 on the season and having people across the country dismiss them as a fading team that used to be dominant. Then all of a

sudden Tom Brady and the Patriots let everyone know that all is well with the

Pats, as they scored on seven straight possessions and ripped control of the

game away from the Bills en route to a 52-28 blowout win. This was New England's first AFC East matchup, so it sets them up well for the rest of the season.

Running Game Impresses - This is the first time since 1980 that the Patriots had two running backs go over the 100-yard mark, as Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden

ran hard throughout the game and racked up a combined 243 rushing yards and 3

touchdowns. This was clearly the feature of the Patriots offensive game plan,

as they pounded Buffalo on the ground from start to finish. With the emergence

of Bolden, expect a more balanced running game in the games to

come. While Ridley will still maintain the number one running back title, the

ball will certainly be spread around in the backfield.

Spikes Big Performance - The Pats forced six turnovers, and linebacker Brandon Spikes was the main cause of two of these turnovers after forcing two fumbles with

bone crushing hits. Spikes’ forced fumble at the Pats goal line at the end of the second quarter saved what would have been a 21-7 Bills lead at halftime. With Don’t’a Hightower

leaving the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury and not

returning, someone needed to step up on the defensive end and Spikes did just

that. While the defense still has a lot to work on, this effort was a big

improvement over last weekend against Baltimore.

Welker Stays Hot - Racking up 9 catches and 129 receiving yards, Wes Welker continued to impress Sunday in Buffalo. Coming off a stretch to start the season that left some questioning Welker’s value on the team, he has taken care of business over the past few weeks reminding everyone that he’s doing just fine. Welker’s chemistry with Brady is

something that Julian Edelman may never have, so whatever the Pats were doing

sitting Welker a few weeks back has probably boiled over by now. Look for Wes

to stay hot at home against Denver next week.

Vereen Lost Spot - After the emergence of Brandon Bolden this week, and the excessive use of Danny Woodhead in the Baltimore game, Shane Vareen may be the odd man out in the rushing game. He will still have a chance to earn time, but knowing how the

Patriots have controlled the running game in the past, when someone steps up

and satisfies Belichick they tend to stick with that individual. It will be

interesting to see how they handle Vareen from here on out, but don’t be surprised if he is on the bench for the majority of the Broncos game next weekend.

Return of Gronk - Rob Gronkowski had his best performance of the season, racking up 104 receiving yards and a touchdown. It was uncertain how Gronkowski was going to be impacted by the absence of Aaron Hernandez, and up until Sunday he was less affective than usual as most teams double covered the top tight end. Rob will most likely not be missing his tight end sidekick for long, as Hernandez is healing quicker than expected.

Top Note - Stephen Gostkowski missed two of his three field goal attempts (42,49) on the day, continuing a tough stretch for the Pats kicker over the past few weeks.

Up Next - The Patriots return home to face rival Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Kickoff is Sunday at 4:15 pm (CBS).

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