Patriots vs. Bills: New England Fans Can Stop Pushing Panic Button on Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Buffalo Bills after their NFL game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

You can all step away from the ledge, New England Patriots fans—the 2012 season isn't lost after all.

I know you were concerned when the Buffalo Bills took a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter. Heck, I know you were probably panicking after your team uncharacteristically lost two games in a row heading into the game.

I'm sure you were all prepared to overreact, citing how the secondary was horrific, or Wes Welker wasn't a big enough part of the offense or the team simply didn't look sharp.

But isn't it a good thing you waited until the game ended before reacting?

Because you did, you saw the Patriots win 52-28 and rattle off 35 unanswered points at one point in the second half. You saw Welker (nine receptions, 129 yards) and Rob Gronkowski (five receptions, 104 yards, one touchdown) return to form. You saw the defense force six turnovers. You saw Brady operate the offense in the second half to near perfection.

Heck, you saw not only Stevan Ridley (106 rushing yards, two touchdowns) have a very solid day at the office, but you also saw Brandon Bolden (137 yards, one touchdown) insert his name into an already full New England backfield with a fantastic performance. 

Why exactly were we all panicking again? The Patriots lost two games by a combined three points, including a contest against the Baltimore Ravens that was going to be won by whichever team had the ball last.

Sure, they underestimated the Arizona Cardinals and played a poor game. Yes, they were pretty miserable against the Bills in the first half.

But the Patriots are still one of the best teams in the NFL. They were bound to recover. And what's even scarier is that they seemed to discover a rushing attack against a very stout Buffalo front seven.

As if Brady and the passing game weren't hard enough to gameplan for, now the Patriots can beat teams on the ground, too?


Maybe I'm overreacting in the opposite direction, however. Maybe New England still has deep-seated issues that were covered up by an offensive explosion in the second half. Maybe I'm being as unnecessarily reactionary as those out there who were surely ready to start eulogizing the Patriots' season early in the third quarter.

That's what we do as football fans, I guess. We react before we see the full picture. It's an emotional game, after all.

But let's see the Patriots for what they are. They're a 2-2 team that is as dangerous as any in the league, but a team that also has imperfections, namely on the defensive side of the ball. The secondary can be picked apart by proficient passing attacks, plain and simple. The Bills repeatedly exploited coverage down the middle with great success.

The Patriots are vulnerable. They're also incredibly lethal when clicking on all cylinders, as we learned on Sunday. I'm guessing we'll learn a little more about this team after a Week 5 clash against the Denver Broncos too.

But for now, things are back to normal in New England.


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