The New England Patriots were blown out 38-9 against the Buffalo Bills, and this game was never really competitive. The Patriots were embarrassed on national television last night, which is unheard of. The Bills completed the season sweep of the Patriots for the first time since 1999. The Patriots also will finish the season with a losing record for the first time since 2000. The Bills were unstoppable on offense, going 3-3 on fourth down and only punting twice. Cam Newton was replaced by Jarrett Stidham early in the second half, as the game was already out of reach.
The offense was not good at all, but Sony Michel continues to look as good as he has in a while. He had 10 carries for 69 yards and then the gameplan had to be changed, but he broke off a couple of runs for 20 yards or more. Michel had been dealing with some injuries and was held out, allowing Damien Harris to take center stage. If Michel stays healthy, there could be a nice one-two punch in the backfield next season.
Is The Future QB Really On This Roster?
A quarterback is needed to be successful in this league, and the Patriots have had mediocre quarterback play all season. Cam has struggled, but there were a lot of circumstances he could not control. And Jarrett Stidham has not looked like the heir to the throne that he was rumored to be at the beginning of the offseason last year.
There is a lot of respect for Cam in the building, but at some point, he needs to play at a higher level. Nobody hates Cam as a person. He is one of the better guys in the league, but he hasn’t played well. Everything was up against him this season with everything that happened in the offseason and the first few weeks of the season. A return definitely isn’t out of the question, but there has to be somebody else coming in to push him. Whether that be a draft pick or free-agent signing.
Jarrett Stidham looked bad last night. He had his big opportunity to shine and show something, and he, unfortunately, did not. He was skipping passes and not making good decisions. But, if he practices with the starters for a week and starts on Sunday, he could be better. He has still never really been given a fair shot. But Bill sees him in practice every day. So he would know how good he is more than all of us.
Lots Of Work
This game showed that this roster needs a lot of work. The defense struggled badly and the offensive skill positions, besides running back, need arguably the most work. The tight ends that were drafted, Keene and Asiasi, still need to develop and there hasn’t been a real threat at wide receiver all season.
The defense is in need of a stopper in the middle. Teams have been gashing the Patriots on the ground all season. Danny Shelton was missed more than originally thought. Hopefully, Donta Hightower will be back next season to fix the linebacker problem, but his future is also in the air. The Patriots have a ton of cap room and a top-15 pick, so they will be able to bring in talent. They just need to hit on bringing in good fits.
One More Week
There will be a lot of evaluations next week against the Jets, and it will be interesting to see who performs. Stidham could start and other backups could also see time. The Patriots need to evaluate positions to see where they are talent-wise. It is important to build some momentum going into next season. And with that, we are on to New York.