The Buffalo Bills were unable to end their 13-game losing streak to the New England Patriots as they lost, 38-30, in Foxboro to their AFC East division foe.
The Bills turned to backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the charge, and the difference was very noticeable as the offense showed signs of life by putting 30 points on the board after they failed to eclipse 10 in either of the first two games of the season.
There is a lot for the Bills to feel optimistic about, as wide receiver Roscoe Parrish had a career day and rookie running back C.J. Spiller scored his first two touchdowns.
After the Bills averaged just 88 passing yards per game with Trent Edwards under center, coach Chan Gailey turned to Ryan Fitzpatrick to add a spark to the Buffalo offense. Fitzpatrick played extremely well, completing 20 of 28 passes for 247 yards for two touchdowns, as well as two costly interceptions.
Fitzpatrick looked confident in the pocket and gave time for plays to develop down field, while using his legs when nothing was available.
The Harvard product utilized all of the weapons he had, allowing five players to record at least three catches. The Patriots' young cornerbacks, second-year Darius Butler and rookie Devin McCourty, were easily exploited, allowing Buffalo signs of life in the passing game.
The entire team seemed to be behind Fitzpatrick, and the switch certainly seemed to energize the squad.
For the second week in a row, Marshawn Lynch saw his carries increased as he rushed 13 times for 79 yards. Lynch showed the skills that made him a Pro Bowl running back just two seasons ago.
He looked quick and aware out of the backfield and constantly fought for extra yardage on each play, with the highlight coming when he leaped over Roscoe Parrish to gain 17 yards.
Lynch is showing that he is still very much alive in the Buffalo Bills' crowded backfield, and it would be a surprise if he doesn't continue to see the majority of carries in upcoming weeks.
The Bills finished with 134 rushing yards on 24 attempts.
Roscoe Parrish is continuing to emerge as a starting-caliber wide receiver after his promotion to the No. 2 spot on the Bills depth chart.
Parrish led the Bills in receiving, catching five passes for 83 yards while showing great bursts of speed and the ability to separate himself from defenders to get open.
Steve Johnson also had a solid performance, catching three balls for 66 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown to bring the Bills within 38-30 of the Patriots late in the fourth quarter. However, a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for celebrating after the score did not help the Bills' recovery of an onside kick.
Lee Evans also caught five passes for 54 yards.
In typical Bills fashion, one side of the ball performed well, while the other struggled. The offense managed to gain 374 yards, yet the defense allowed 445.
Tom Brady shredded the Bills secondary, completing 21 of 27 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns, including a beautiful 35-yard touchdown to Randy Moss while being surrounded by Bills defenders.
The Buffalo defense was unable to stop the Patriots rushing attack either despite Kevin Faulk missing the game due to injury. It allowed 200 yards on the ground, 98 of which came from backup BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
The Patriots must have watched film from the Dolphins and Packers games, as they constantly utilized their tight ends as a mismatch against oversized outside linebacker Chris Kelsay and safety Bryan Scott. Rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski combined for nine catches and 97 yards with a touchdown.
The Bills were without Paul Posluszny and were forced to rely on Keith Ellison at the inside linebacker position, where it is easy to see he is out of his league.
For the third week in a row, Cornell Green played absolutely terrible at right tackle. The veteran constantly missed assignments and allowed the pocket to collapse much too quickly.
He was stout in his run blocking, but as a pass blocker he was regularly smoked. He has been penalized for holding and false starts on multiple occasions, and you have to wonder whether the Bills coaching staff may opt to let second-year man Jamon Meredith play at right tackle.
C.J. Spiller finally made his presence known, as he scored the first two touchdowns of his NFL career.
He caught three passes for 10 yards, including a 5-yard score, while rushing four times for 29 yards that included a great 19-yard jaunt.
The highlight of his day came when he returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. He has embraced his limited role and is perfectly content returning kicks and making an impact in any situation he can.
I'd like to see a bit more of Spiller on the offensive side of the ball but with Marshawn Lynch playing so well, it's likely his highlights will come on special teams for a few more weeks until he gets adjusted to the speed of the NFL.
The Bills offensive line will be put to the test next week when they face the New York Jets. The Jets' exotic blitz schemes will have Gailey worried all week as he game-plans for the various looks he will see.
The defense will need to step up in their run stopping as well as the Jets shredded the Bills for 318 and 249 yards in their last two meetings. The Bills were able to intercept Mark Sanchez six times last season, but he now has more experience.
Buffalo had a good performance against New England and will need to continue their execution next week or it will fall to 0-4 on the season.