McCourty saves the game by staying put


Situation: Patriots were clinging to a 37-31 lead with 28 seconds left. The ball was on their 15-yard line, and the Bills faced second and 10.

What happened: The Patriots elected to play their “Tampa 2” coverage — Cover 2 with two deep safeties splitting the deep part of the field but with the middle linebacker dropping deeper than normal down the middle — for the second straight play. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) looked to his left, then back to his right, likely in the hope of getting the back-side safety, Devin McCourty (32), to leave his position and drift toward the middle of the field. McCourty held his position, and when receiver T.J. Graham (11) elected to run behind McCourty instead of crossing in front of him, McCourty was in position for the interception.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


Sebastian Vollmer, right tackle

Continues to play at a high level. Allowed just 1½ hurries against some good rushers in Mario Williams and Kyle Moore, and did some nice work in the run game.


Dont’a Hightower, linebacker

Several defensive players could have claimed this, but considering Hightower played only 38 percent of the plays, his collection of subpar play against the run and pass was the difference.

Greg A. Bedard