Halftime: Patriots 21, Bills 10

84343.jpg

Halftime: Patriots 21, Bills 10

The formula worked so well last week, it appears the Bills are trying it again.

They played a miserable first half against the Raiders last Sunday, falling behind 21-3 before rallying for a 38-35 victory. And today, they replicated that start against the Patriots, falling behind 21-0 in the first 25 minutes.

But they showed signs of life with an efficient 7-play, 96-yard drive late in the second quarter and closed the gap to 21-7 on an 11-yard touchdown from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Stevie Johnson.

Then an interception by Bryan Scott on the Bills' 10-yard with a minute left in the half stopped a Patriots drive that seemed destined to produce yet another touchdown. And Buffalo sliced the Pats' defense with a near-perfect two-minute offense, going 66 yards in 10 plays and getting a 42-yard field goal from Rian Lindell with three seconds left.

So the half ended with the Bills facing a smaller deficit -- 21-10 -- than they erased last week against Oakland.

No one would have guessed the game would be in question after the first quarter-and-a-half, which was completely dominated by New England.

The Patriots offense got a pair of Tom Brady touchdown passes -- one of 14 yards to Wes Welker and the other of one yard to upstate New York native Rob Gronkowski -- and the Patriots defense got a pair of drive-killing interceptions by Kyle Arrington as New England jumped out a 14-0 lead after one quarter.

They made it 21-0 with six minutes to go in the second quarter when Brady hit Gronkowski for another TD, this one of 26 yards. It was set up by a 21-yard Brady-to-Gronkowski completion on the play before.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: What's going on between Patriots, Butler?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: What's going on between Patriots, Butler?

0:41 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss what’s going on between the Patriots and Malcolm Butler after Bill Belichick praised Jonathan Jones and Eric Rowe but didn’t have much to say on Butler.

5:39 - John Farrell thinks David Price out of the bullpen can be similar to Andrew Miller with the Indians last year in the playoffs. Our panel on BST break it down.

10:35 - Curran, Holley, Smith, and Phil Perry talk about the NFL ratings being down and why that continues to be.

15:15 - Evan Drellich joins BST after the Red Sox win to explain why Drew Pomeranz could be even more threatening, how good the bullpen actually is, and the offense not driving in runs.

Dorsett (knee) hoping to be able to practice this week

dorsett_better.png

Dorsett (knee) hoping to be able to practice this week

FOXBORO -- The picture at wide receiver wasn't pretty for the Patriots by the time the clock hit zeros in the fourth quarter in New Orleans over the weekend. 

Chris Hogan looked hobbled for much of the second half. Phillip Dorsett left with a knee injury. Danny Amendola was ruled out well in advance of kickoff with a concussion and a knee injury. Matthew Slater was ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Brandin Cooks looked like the only Patriots wideout to finish the game feeling spry.

MORE: 

But as the team prepares for the Texans this week, Dorsett is hoping he'll be back on the field with his teammates for practice. 

"I feel good," Dorsett said in the Patriots locker room Monday. "Just a little sore, but I'm alright."

Not only would it help the Patriots offense to have another body available at receiver, but Dorsett understands how crucial it is for him to practice as much as possible. He was acquired in a trade with the Colts just before the season, and he knows he has work to do to get adjusted to his new offense.

"It's just me going out there and getting the plays in practice," Dorsett said when asked about his confidence level in running New England's system. "I feel like practice builds my confidence. If I get to play in practice, I feel more comfortable when it comes to the game."

Dorsett looked comfortable in Week 2, catching three passes for 68 yards. His first grab in the first quarter went for 23 yards and came on a play when Tom Brady, who was hit as he released, threw a floater down the right sideline. Dorsett alertly saw the pass falling short and worked back toward the line of scrimmage to make the catch. 

"I think he trusts me," Dorsett said of Brady. "We work a lot during practice and after practice. Hopefully we can continue to gain more trust as the season goes on. It's only the second game. We got a long way to go."

More practice time would be helpful in allowing that relationship to continue to grow. We'll see if Dorsett gets any when the Patriots take the fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

CSNNE SCHEDULE