FOXBOROUGH — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he was happy to get a win against Buffalo Sunday, but he acknowledged that there was plenty his team could improve on.
“We had penalties, dropped balls, offsides, missed tackles,” said Belichick. “We just didn’t do a good job in a number of areas. It was far from perfect.”
He added, “I’ll take any win.”
The Bills had 481 yards of total offense (New England had 347 yards) and 319 yards passing. The Patriots held on despite the yardage being skewed toward the away team.
“They didn’t really hit us with a lot of big plays,” said Belichick. “They moved the ball around, they got a lot of guys involved -- [Scott] Chandler, [Stevie] Johnson, of course the backs. They did a good job. In the end I think the turnovers helped us. They’ve got an explosive group of skill players, and they got them all involved.
Belichick’s own running backs turned in solid performances against a Buffalo team that had given up 5.7 yards per carry coming into Sunday’s game. Led by Stevan Ridley’s 98 yards, the Patriots had 117 yards on the ground. Danny Woodhead had both a rushing and a receiving touchdown. Shane Vereen chipped in five yards on the ground as part of a group that was more shallow than usual after the suspension of running back Branden Bolden for using performance-enhancing drugs.
“We use all of our backs,” said Belichick. There’s no ... you guys think that every game, this guy’s got all these plays, and the next game the other guy’s got all these plays. We don’t know. But they all played, they all contributed, they all were productive. Danny [Woodhead] made some good plays, there’s no doubt about it.”
Stephen Gostkowski had six touchbacks in addition to a 43-yard field goal and a 48-yard field goal. The Patriots’ placekicker seems to have gained his confidence back after some big misses earlier this season.
“Steve’s real consistent,” said Belichick. “From the day he got here. He kicks well, he’s worked hard. He’s very very consistent. Like everybody, not perfect, but he works hard to continue to get better. ... I’d be hard-pressed to think of more than a handful of times when I think, ‘He just didn’t have a very good day today.’”
The Patriots played most of the second half without offensive lineman Dan Connolly (back) and Logan Mankins (ankle). Mankins was seen leaving Gillette Stadium in a walking boot.
“We are kind of fortunate there,” said Belichick. “Most of the time we carry seven offensive lineman. We had eight today.”
Belichick said he needed to watch the tape to assess their performances, but he added, “There wasn’t a lot of problems, I know that.”