Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
The defensive line was the hardest unit to grade in this segment. On one hand, the line put enough pressure to make Tom Brady feel a little claustrophobic in the pocket, but it was gauged too often in the second half by backup running back Shane Vereen.
Buffalo's line put up five of the seven hits on Brady for the day, including an acrobatic sack by defensive tackle Kyle Williams in the second half. Mike Pettine's defense promises big days from the line if it gets consistent pressure, and the Bills forced Brady into tough throws from the outset. Brady finished with a measly 76.4 QB rating and was at or under 50 percent completion for a good chunk of the game.
Run defense has been an issue plaguing this team for much of the team's playoff drought, and it was a hot-cold effort in that regard on Sunday. The Bills put up four tackles for loss on the day, but Vereen and Stevan Ridley broke loose for several big gains through the heart of the line.
The two Patriots backs finished a combined 23-for-147, which calculates to a 6.3 YPC effort between the two. If the Bills want to have any success on defense in 2013, they will need to limit the big plays on the ground.
Mario Williams is playing through plantar fasciitis, and it showed on Sunday. He was virtually nonexistent in the pass rush and finished with only two tackles on the day.