New England Patriots: Grading Position Groups Bills’ Game

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Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receivers

Grade: B

It was tough to assign the wide receivers a grade as a unit, considering only two of them were left when the final seconds ticked off the clock. Let’s start with the guys who couldn’t finish the game.

Danny Amendola was doing an admirable job of replacing Julian Edelman, catching 9 passes for 117 yards (and he should have had more, if not for a stray whistle). He was Brady’s #1 target, and had a few plays where he gained big chunks of yardage. His quickness allowed him to get open fast enough for Brady to get him the ball, despite any pressure. The offensive outlook is very bleak if Amendola misses any games with his knee injury.

While Amendola may have been the top target, Aaron Dobson got most of the snaps early on at outside receiver. He had two targets: An incompletion that drew a pass interference flag, which gained 10 yards, and a key 17-yard catch on 3rd down to keep a drive alive.

However, Dobson hurt his ankle on the play, and needed to be helped off the field, and was eventually carted into the locker room. It has since been reported that Dobson suffered a high ankle sprain on the play, a historically tough injury to come back from. His season (and Patriots’ career) is in jepordy).

Brandon Lafell saw limited action in the first quarter, but his snaps increased with the injuries. Lafell still does not seem 100%, as he only caught 4 balls for 66 yards. With Dobson and Amendola both sidelined, the Patriots desperately need Lafell to step up and become the receiving threat he was last season.

Chris Harper was used sparingly before both Amendola and Dobson were injured, but he was quickly thrust into the lineup after they left. Harper made a great catch on a deep ball, however, the play was negated by a holding call on Marcus Cannon. Harper was also the intended receiver on Brady’s interception. Harper is an athletic player with true game breaking speed, but has yet to show the ability to put it all together on the field.

Next: Tight Ends