Few people would have predicted the Patriots and Bills to be
battling for first place in the AFC East, even in the third week of the
season. But that's exactly the situation that will take place Sunday
afternoon in Buffalo as the two 2-0 teams meet.
Through two weeks of 2011, the Patriots are
rolling along much the same way Bill Belichick's 2010 team did. That's
a combination of high-powered offense and opportunistic defense that
gives up plenty of yards, but seems to come away with the plays it has
to when it needs them the most.
Offensively, New England has now put up more than
1,100 yards of total offense in two victories, including another 504 in
the 35-21 dismissal of the likely playoff-bound Chargers (1-1).
The types of passing yards and total offense Brady
and the Patriots are putting up are about as good as New England has
ever seen. Better than the record-setting 2007 campaign. Better than
No. 12's unanimous MVP season a year ago.
Proving that OTAs and passing camps may in fact be
useless, the offense is clicking with almost an unprecedented rhythm
save for a short stretch in which it bogged down in the third quarter
against the Chargers.
"I think our offense has played well, and that's
everybody. The linemen blocking, the guys that are running the ball,
the receivers are catching it, the quarterback's throwing it. The backs
and tight ends are picking up the blitz," Belichick said. "Overall
we're pretty efficient. We're not turning the ball over."
Despite the abbreviated offseason, Belichick
doesn't seem surprised by the offensive production.
"We actually expect to go out there and play good
football," Belichick said. "We actually expect to go out there and move
the ball on offense and stop them on defense."
Well, one out of two isn't bad at this point in
the season. Because while the Patriots clearly have gotten the big
plays they've needed in each of the two weeks to keep teams off the
scoreboard, in allowing 958 total yards of offense from the opposition
it's hard to describe what they're doing as stopping anyone.
Sunday New England will meet up with a Ryan Fitzpatrick led attack that's put up 79 points in the first two weeks,
more than Brady & Co. have scored. Who'd have thought that the
Patriots and Bills would be preparing for a shootout in Week 3 that's
for first place in the division?
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