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With home-field advantage on the line, Patriots off to slow start

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Erik Pears, Vince Wilfork AP

For the second straight week, the New England Patriots are off to a slow start.

Last week the Patriots fell behind 17-0 to the Dolphins before turning it on in the second half and coming from behind to win, and this week they’ve fallen behind 14-0 to the Bills. For a team that headed into today’s game knowing a win would secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, the Patriots sure don’t look like they’re very motivated right now.

Buffalo’s first offensive drive covered 80 yards in eight plays, including a fake punt that kept the drive alive, and ended with a four-yard touchdown run by Tashard Choice. Buffalo’s second offensive drive covered 70 yards in 10 plays, and ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Stevie Johnson.

Some things never change: Johnson picked up a 15-yard celebration penalty after his touchdown, despite vowing after his last celebration penalty to knock off the shenanigans.

The Patriots have plenty of time to come back and beat the Bills, but they’d be wise to stop starting slowly when the playoffs start.

UPDATE: The Bills made it 21-0 just before the end of the first quarter. Football Night in America producer Joe Gesue points out that the Bills outscored the Patriots 55-10 over two games after the Patriots jumped out to a 21-0 lead in their first meeting.

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21 Responses to “With home-field advantage on the line, Patriots off to slow start”
  1. tony1381 says: Jan 1, 2012 1:40 PM

    They can’t afford to spot teams double digit leads in the playoffs, not matter how great Tom Brady is.

  2. damko12 says: Jan 1, 2012 1:42 PM

    Pathetic performance by the pats. Makes
    Me think they will be one and done in the playoffs

  3. xstaticonradio says: Jan 1, 2012 1:50 PM

    No idea how SJ got flagged for that but okay

  4. 8man says: Jan 1, 2012 1:57 PM

    Awful. Absolutely awful. I have hopes for this team, but no expectations. I have seen high school defenses play better and this is the worst defense I have ever seen on a playoff team.

    Ravens fans and Steeler fans have to love their chances to get back to the Super Bowl. And who among us could blame them?

  5. maltliquor says: Jan 1, 2012 1:59 PM

    The Pats are one and done whoever they play.

  6. bigperm33 says: Jan 1, 2012 2:01 PM

    Patriots defense is just pathetic. They were ranked 25th last year and are dead last this year. They have had some injuries, but no reason to be as bad as they are. Obviously Belichick’s job is safe (as it should be), but he has to be told to hire a real defensive coordinator for next year.

  7. fat4jc says: Jan 1, 2012 2:07 PM

    no idea why he got flagged? He wrote a message under his shirt…thought that was pretty self-explanatory.

  8. tony1381 says: Jan 1, 2012 2:09 PM

    It is mind boggling how New England is able to start off so poorly, then wake-up and be able to get back in these games the past few weeks.

    I love how people comment that the Pats are pathetic before the game is even over.

  9. southpaw2k says: Jan 1, 2012 2:14 PM

    I don’t see the Patriots blowing the game completely against the Bills, but they are bound for another one-and-done in the playoffs. If they have to play either Pittsburgh or Baltimore in the Divisional Round, the Patriots won’t be able to keep pace spotting those kinds of leads.

  10. tony1381 says: Jan 1, 2012 2:22 PM

    And as bad as New England’s defense has been this season, some things to thing about:

    They are middle of the road in points against (14th), are (4th) in defensive INT’s, and are (13th) in sacks.

    It might be a patchwork defense that gives up a ton of yardage, but they do make big plays.

  11. ottograham says: Jan 1, 2012 2:22 PM

    @tony1381

    Not so mind boggling and can you blame anyone for their opinions of this team? They are very soft in every department besides offensive skill players. One and done for the Pats in my opinion. I’m a Steeler fan from Pittsburgh and pending playoff seeding we may be as well.

  12. vincentbojackson says: Jan 1, 2012 2:28 PM

    Pats are in trouble in the playoffs with that defense. Slow starts against the Bills and Dolphins, two teams that will be watching the playoffs.

    We all saw what the Steelers did to them when the took Gronkowski and Welker away.

  13. zerophocus says: Jan 1, 2012 2:28 PM

    They are going to lose their first playoff game anyway so they only need home-field advantage for the divisional round.

  14. kelvinmchale says: Jan 1, 2012 2:29 PM

    It’s really the third straight game they been down big to start the game. Denver came out very strong before they faded. Pats offense and defense are both terrible in the first quarter lately.

  15. richm2256 says: Jan 1, 2012 2:38 PM

    fat4jc says:
    Jan 1, 2012 2:07 PM
    no idea why he got flagged? He wrote a message under his shirt…thought that was pretty self-explanatory.

    ——————————————————–
    Not like it was his first time doing that, or anything.

    I don’t know how some of these idiots think ….. he obviously had to think about this, as he was writing it, and he did it anyway.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  16. steelersownyou says: Jan 1, 2012 2:39 PM

    @ottograham….With big ben we’re never 1 and done son!

  17. johnshawisgay says: Jan 1, 2012 3:14 PM

    Luckily for NE they’re playing Buffalo…

  18. richm2256 says: Jan 1, 2012 3:33 PM

    35 unanswered points ……

    Guess that defense bends just so far before it sets.

    And yes, New England has proven two weeks in a row that they CAN spot teams 21 points.

  19. pastabelly says: Jan 1, 2012 3:34 PM

    The Bills outscored the Pats 55-10. But a nice 35 point run somewhat negates that. Looks like they will have to win two home games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore to get through. That can be done.

  20. 8man says: Jan 1, 2012 3:51 PM

    ………and they make me look like an idiot. Which isn’t hard to do.

    Reminds me of 2003 when the Patriots lost to the Bills 31-0 to start and then beat them 31-0 to finish. In this case the Patriots blow a 21-0 nothing lead in the first game and then come back from one in the second game.

    Amazing.

  21. richm2256 says: Jan 1, 2012 3:54 PM

    FORTY NINE unanswered points!!!!!!!!

    The opposition can’t score, if Brady’s got the ball!!!!!!

    Kudos to the New England defense for sacking up HUGE two weeks in a row after sucking in the first half!

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