The Buffalo Bills were beat down Sunday by the New England Patriots, and even worse, they were beat up.
The Bills had five starters leave the game because of injuries during their 52-28 loss. Tight end Scott Chandler, receiver Donald Jones, safety Jairus Byrd and offensive linemen Cordy Glenn and Kraig Urbik all came out, with injuries of varying severity.
Both Chandler and Jones came off because of blows to the head, but passed concussion tests and said they were fine after the game. The news wasn't as good for Urbik and Glenn.
"Cordy's got an ankle that's going to be a while, and so does Urbik," coach Chan Gailey said after the game.
Gailey had little time after the game to address the challenge of replacing two offensive linemen.
"Ah, that's an excuse," he said. "We expect guys to walk in and play."
Urbik was hurt in the first quarter during a 1-yard run by Fred Jackson. He said he wasn't supposed to talk about his injury after the game, but did call it "nothing major."
Glenn was hurt late in the third quarter and did not return after a second-down play in which quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked for a 5-yard loss.
Byrd, who forced both New England fumbles before being hurt, suffered a hip pointer that left him in considerable pain after the game. He was seen in the locker room on his way to the training room. Byrd was injured with about three minutes to go in the third quarter. He did not play in the fourth quarter.
Jones and Chandler took huge hits in the second half. Jones was leveled by Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on a clean hit in the fourth quarter. Two plays later, Fitzpatrick was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty. During the return, Chandler took a questionable blind-side hit from New England linebacker Brandon Spikes.
"I'm fine. I passed all my tests and everything, so I should be good," Chandler said.
Amherst native Rob Gronkowski continued to be a Bills killer in his career.
The Patriots' third-year tight end had five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets from quarterback Tom Brady.
Gronkowski now has 27 catches for 418 yards and eight touchdowns in five games against his hometown team.
"It's great coming home," he said. "Friends and family, it's great to give them that victory, too."
Gronkowski was listed as questionable on the injury report, but his performance left little doubt he was ready to play.
"It's not as easy as it looks. It's the NFL, those guys are out there, they are great players. You got to work your butt off, you got to be going full speed in order to execute, in order to make plays," he said.
Gronkowski took advantage of a blown coverage in the Bills' secondary on his touchdown catch, which covered 28 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter. It was a nice bounce back for Gronkowski, who in the first half lost just the second fumble of his career.
"I just need to be executing plays. I can't be having that," he said of the fumble and a couple of first-half drops. "It hurts the team a lot. I need to be protecting the ball better, no doubt about that. It's awesome that Tom came back to me, trusted my abilities, trusted me the whole game.
Rookie punter Shawn Powell played his game Sunday after the Bills released veteran Brian Moorman. Powell punted five times for a gross average of 41.8 yards and net average of 39.0. He placed two punts inside the 20.
Powell's best punt was a 54-yarder in the third quarter that he angled out of bounds. His next effort, though, was his worst. It went just 28 yards.
"I wish I had that last one back, but it's an easy fix," Powell said. "I just lifted my head up a little bit. Got excited, tried to watch the ball and that's what happens. If you try and hit a golf ball not looking at it, you don't know where it's going to go and that's almost what happened."
The Patriots sprinkled in their no-huddle package in the first half on a few occasions, including their opening touchdown drive. New England also used it extensively on a drive in the second quarter that ended in a missed field goal.
"I think our communication was bad on the first series. We were having trouble getting things in and out, communicating from the front to the 'backers to the back end," Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. "They took advantage of it. We knew they were gonna do that. We knew they were gonna go no-huddle. They've done it every game."
The Patriots were also in the no-huddle on Brady's touchdown scramble in the third quarter that tied the score.
Receiver Ruvell Martin missed his second straight game because of an ankle injury. The rest of the Bills' inactives were: quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, safety Delano Howell, defensive end Kyle Moore, outside linebacker Kirk Morrison, offensive tackle Sam Young and center Colin Brown.
Jackson, Moore, Morrison, Young and Brown have been inactive every game this season, Howell was inactive for the third time in four games after making his first professional appearance against Cleveland in Week Four.
The Patriots did not dress three offensive starters in wide receiver Julian Edelman (hand), guard Logan Mankins (hip) and tight end Aaron Hernandez (ankle), but were still able to put up 580 yards of total offense.