The Buffalo Bills are aiming to do what they’ve only done three times since Tom Brady took over as quarterback of the Patriots 14 years ago, and it may take a fellow sixth-round quarterback to do it.
The Bills are looking to defeat the Patriots in their Week 2 matchup at home, which would be only the third time since 2003 that they have beaten their AFC East nemesis. This Bills team looks much different than the woeful squads of the past 15 years, with a defense that stifled Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 en route to a decisive 27-14 victory.
But against the Patriots it may not be the defense that keys the victory. Instead, the hopes rest largely on Tyrod Taylor, the enigmatic quarterback who looked strong in limited work in the opening week.
Taylor made plays with his arm — including a smooth 51-yard touchdown pass to Percy Harvin to kick off the scoring — and also with his legs, including a 31-yard scramble. As ESPN noted, Taylor has been the talk of the NFL since his coming out performance.
Tyrod Taylor is exactly the type of quarterback that has given the Patriots fits in the past, and New England was well aware of his abilities.
“He can throw every pass on the field,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty told USA Today. “He has a strong arm, and I think obviously the thing that sticks out to everybody is his athleticism – being able to escape the pocket, even some planned runs.
“It’s kind of what they did in San Fran with Kaepernick. He’s a tough guy to prepare for just because he can do so many different things on the field, and I think we have to recognize and realize that challenge and be ready to stop the different things he can do well.”
But one of Taylor’s main advantages could come from his relative lack of playing time. He was tucked behind the sturdy Joe Flacco during his time in Baltimore, and has just this year’s preseason work and the Week 1 win as game film for coach Bill Belichick to study.
Tyrod Taylor alone won’t be able to pull off the upset for the Buffalo Bills. The defense will need to do its best to keep Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski off the field, a task that will benefit from the return of All-Pro lineman Marcell Dareus from a one-game suspension. But if the Bills do pull off the upset, it will likely be Taylor leading the way.
[Image via Getty Images]