ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — While Dion Lewis continues to make a name for himself, he still can’t get any respect from Rex Ryan. Not that he cares.
Lewis shined for his second straight week in New England’s 40-32 win over Buffalo Sunday. The running back rushed for a team-high 40 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 98 yards.
That wasn’t enough to impress Ryan, who last week said he “didn’t know the kid’s name’’ in reference to Lewis and remained defiant after the loss. Asked if he regretted last week’s comments, the Bills coach sarcastically said, “Uh, that’s the reason we lost. Go ahead. I still don’t know his name. Next time run the ball.’’
Lewis did have one hiccup, fumbling after a short pass from Tom Brady in the second quarter. He credited his teammates for helping him to shake it off and not letting it affect him.
“The whole team stuck with me,’’ said Lewis. “[Rob Gronkowski] came and picked me up right after the play. My teammates are great. They told me to forget about it.’’
The 5-foot-8-inch, 195-pound Lewis, who scored his first TD since 2012, absorbed his share of punishment during the game but kept answering every bell.
“Just trying to make plays,’’ he said. “Trying to run under my pads but obviously [defenders] come with kill shots. I’m a smaller guy but I just try to do what I am capable of doing.’’
Asked if he draws any motivation from Ryan’s snubs, Lewis said, “No. Winning motivates me.’’
Tight end Scott Chandler, who spent more than four seasons with the Bills before signing with the Patriots in the offseason, said before the game that returning to Buffalo wasn’t something he wanted to talk much about. After catching three passes for 23 yards, Chandler still didn’t put any extra significance on coming back here. At least from any personal standpoint.
“Yeah, it feels good to get a win. Like I said before, it’s silly to make it about yourself. This is a team game,” Chandler said. “I’m not coming back here by myself. I brought a hell of a team with me.”
Chandler was kept out of the end zone after scoring a touchdown against the Steelers, but combined with Gronkowski (seven catches, 113 yards, one touchdown) and Michael Williams (first NFL reception, 15 yards) to give the Patriots plenty of production from the tight end position.
Julian Edelman was targeted an incredible 19 times and hauled in 11 passes for 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He added one rush for 12 yards. Edelman shrugged off the individual accomplishments. “More importantly it’s good to go out and get the division win against a tough opponent that was coming off a big win,” he said.’’ . . . There were 25 combined penalties for 259 yards. Buffalo was actually hit with three penalties on one play but only one could be accepted. Ryan wasn’t happy with the disparity of the calls. “What stands out, I mean, all the penalties,” he said. “They only had 11, we had 14. I guess the refs thought [the crowd] came to see them today.’’ Ryan was called for a personal foul from the sideline. “The guy’s got rabbit ears. I don’t know what to tell you.’’ . . . Ryan Allen boomed a 54-yard punt on the Patriots’ first possession (he made the tackle, too) and was reduced to holding duties the rest of the afternoon . . . Attendance was 70,858 on a most beautiful day in Western New York.
Kraft weighs in
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said he hasn’t spoken to team employees John Jastremski and Jim McNally but was glad to have them back. “I think putting the whole air pressure thing behind us was important,’’ Kraft said on his pregame radio appearance. “Getting our two employees back was important.’’ Asked what the pair’s new responsibilities are, Kraft wasn’t specific. “There were restrictions or constraints or whatever you want to call them [by the league].’’ Kraft touched on some other topics as well: On the Bills fans chanting “We want Brady’’ during Week 1: “Tom loves any little opportunity to be motivated.’’ On the hype Ryan creates: “I love his father, Buddy. It’s a family that’s passionate about football. It’s schtick and it’s and an act. [Or] whether it is or it isn’t, it works for him. Can it get [a team] to the ultimate place? Is it good for the long haul? I just don’t know.”
Taking a seat
With offensive lineman Ryan Wendell ruled out on Friday and defensive tackle Dominique Easley downgraded on Saturday, the Patriots needed five more names to complete their seven-player inactive list. Safety Nate Ebner, who makes the most impact on special teams, was spotted working with the team’s medical staff on the field two hours before the game. Ebner was not on the injury report in the days leading up to the game, but whatever is ailing Ebner kept him out. The four other inactives were defensive back Justin Coleman, running back James White, defensive lineman Trey Flowers, and wide receiver Keshawn Martin, who was acquired last week in a trade with the Texans. It left the Patriots with only three primary wide receivers: Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Aaron Dobson, who tied his career high with seven catches for 87 yards. Those decisions allowed Travaris Cadet and linebacker Rufus Johnson to make their Patriots debuts, and safety Tavon Wilson to make his season debut. Johnson checked in as an interior lineman on the second series. Cadet had a reception for 2 yards. All were inactive for the opener. With Wendell out, undrafted rookie David Andrews made his second straight start at center . . . Ex-Bills general manager Bill Polian was honored at halftime as recognition for being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bills fans gave him a thunderous ovation. Patriots fans not so much . . . Former Miss America Vanessa Williams sang “The Star-Spangled Banner’’ and, naturally, it was a beautiful rendition.