COMMENTARY | The New England Patriots survived Week 1 of the NFL season Sunday afternoon, defeating the Buffalo Bills with a last-gasp field goal, 23-21. But upon another glance, the divisional battle at Ralph Wilson Stadium was unusual for more than its twists and turns.
Under a Patriots lens, the game was unusual for the notable numbers it produced.
Here's a look at five statistical oddities from New England's Sept. 8 win over Buffalo:
Danny Amendola Accounts for Half of Patriots Receiving First Downs
Despite re-aggravating a groin injury in the second quarter, Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola returned to the field and didn't skip a beat. The 5'11", 185-pounder finished with 10 receptions for 104 yards. Four of his grabs came on New England's game-winning drive, and three of which were third-down conversions.
Yet what's most intriguing about Amendola's day is the fact his double-digit output was good for nine first downs. As a whole, the Patriots passing offense accounted for 18 first downs -- meaning the free-agent acquisition was on the receiving end of half of them.
End of a Quarterback Sneak Streak for Tom Brady
Tom Brady is not a mobile quarterback for the Patriots. But his ability to turn short-yardage situations into first downs with his lunging 6'4" frame is typically an efficient process. Case in point: Brady has 142 rushing first downs on his professional resume.
Nonetheless, not every run can move the sticks. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Tom Brady's third quarter fumble on 4th-and-goal was his first rush that didn't net a first down on 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-1 since 2005.
Patriots Defense Allows Just 150 Yards
The Patriots secondary may have conceded two passing touchdowns by way of rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, and the defensive front may have let up 136 rushing yards to the Bills dynamic backfield. But a portion of those totals can be attributed to New England's three turnovers and less-than-ideal starting field position.
Collectively, the defense held its own. And allowing just 150 passing yards is indicative of that. The last time New England's D gave up under 150 aerial yards was Week 2 of the 2012 season - a loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Jerod Mayo's Tackle Production and Tape Differ
Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo is used to being around the football; he has four 100-plus tackle campaigns to his name. But on occasion, tackles are a deceiving statistic in terms of measuring a player's game.
While six-year pro was credited for a team-high 15 combined tackles against the Bills -- a total he hasn't scratched since the 2010 regular season -- the film told another story. Mayo was flagged for a late hit, which let up 15 yards. And according to the performance grading provided by Pro Football Focus, the Tennessee product was given a defensive team-low -2.5 rating.
Julian Edelman, an All-Time Punt Returner?
Patriots slot receiver Julian Edelman carved niche in the passing game Sunday, reeling in seven balls for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Yet with three punt returns for a tally of 32 yards, New England's 2009 seventh-rounder quietly carved something else: an NFL record.
With a career average of 13 yards per punt return, the 27-year-old converted QB presently holds the all-time record among NFL players who have fielded more than 75 punts. While this efficiency is subject to change, No. 11 has racked up 975 punt return yards and three scores through 49 games.
Oliver Thomas is a Yahoo contributor who also covers the NFL and the New England Patriots for NEPatriotsDraft.com. His work has been featured on BleacherReport.com, TheFootballEducator.com, USAToday.com, Patriots.com, Boston.com and NESN.com.
You can follow Oliver on Twitter @OliverBThomas.
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