The best recipe for success in the NFL is having a short memory in both victory and defeat.
Luckily for the Patriots, they don't have much time to revel in Sunday's convincing 20-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. They have another game Thursday against an even stronger opponent, the New York Jets, who routed St. Louis 47-3 on Sunday to remain tied with New England atop the AFC East.
Asked how long the team would enjoy the win over the Bills, linebacker Mike Vrabel said, "Probably about five or six hours.
"Then it's time to get onto the Jets. I think from what I saw on the scoreboard they're doing pretty well, too. It will be important for us to get in here and see who can come back on a short week and win another big division game."
Entering last weekend, the Patriots knew they were in for a tough stretch with three consecutive division games as they looked to snap a three-way tie in the AFC East. Sunday's win, however, was easier than the score indicated. They limited the Bills to 168 yards of offense and salted the game away with a 19-play, 9:08 drive to open up a 20-3 lead in the fourth quarter.
Buffalo never stood a chance and now sits at 5-4 overall with a horrific 0-3 record in the AFC East. The Patriots are 6-3 in a season in which they lost their franchise quarterback, their No. 1 running back and the safety net of their defense.
Why not take some time to enjoy it?
|Kevin Faulk was the team's leading rusher the past two games before Buffalo. (AP Photo) |
"It feels real good, but at the same time we have to come back (Monday) and start working on the Jets," running back Kevin Faulk said. "It's a quick turnaround, so we'll celebrate this one for a little while and come back."
While Sunday's game was huge, the Patriots realize Thursday's showdown is even bigger. They now have a chance to take over sole possession of first place in the division with six games to go -- something few thought was possible when Tom Brady went down in Week 1. The best part? The game is in their own back yard, where they've been the most dominant team in football over the past six years.
"This week is going to be mental game because we know them and they know us," fullback Heath Evans said. "There is always some wrinkle in their game plan, but it will be a physical dog fight, and I'm glad we are home."
Shutting Down The Run
--The Patriots' resurgent run defense is suddenly shutting down everyone within its sights.
For the second week in a row, the Patriots dominated up front, this time limiting the Bills to 60 total rushing yards -- an average of 3.3 per carry.
"Both of (their) guys can run the football, and they got a lot of our attention this week, as did some of the other guys, but certainly the running game," LB Mike Vrabel said. "There's no quicker way to kill you than (Marshawn) Lynch or (Fred) Jackson."
The previous week, the Patriots held Indianapolis' Joseph Addai to 32 yards on 17 carries and limited the Colts to 47 total rushing yards. They're now ranked 12th in the league in run defense.
Underappreciated Rookie Comes Up Big
--RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, an undrafted rookie from Mississippi, enjoyed a breakthrough performance Sunday with 105 yards on 26 carries. He also scored the game-breaking touchdown to cap a remarkable 19-play drive in the fourth quarter.
"We're a game plan team -- a personnel team," he said. "We just went out there and whatever worked we just stuck with it. I was happy to contribute and help us win today."
Green-Ellis figures to get more opportunities with Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan still nursing injuries.
Sack Quest Successful
--The Patriots also walked away from Sunday's win happy with the way they disrupted Trent Edwards. Buffalo's slumping quarterback continued his slide with just 120 passing yards and two interceptions as the Bills lost their third game in a row.
"We got to him, actually," LB Tedy Bruschi said. "There have been games when we have put pressure on quarterbacks but not finished the pass rush with sacks. We got some key sacks, and it set the tone for us the rest of the game."
Bills - Patriots Official Game Thread