ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Some leftover thoughts from the Patriots' 34-3 victory over the Bills:
1. Darius Butler's emergence. When the game began, second-year cornerback Darius Butler was part of the dime package (6 defensive backs). By the early portion of the second half, he was in the base defense in place of Kyle Arrington. Part of the switch might have been due to Arrington battling through an elbow injury, but regardless of the reason, Butler showed up with two passes defended. In a rocky season for Butler, his contributions are noteworthy.
2. Zoltan Mesko outperforms Brian Moorman. Based on reputation alone, the Bills had the edge when it came to punting entering Sunday's game. Buffalo's Brian Moorman is considered a perennial Pro Bowler, someone known for being able to handle difficult conditions. Yet it was Mesko, the Patriots' fifth-round draft choice, outperforming him with three punts for a 41.2 average, all of which were downed inside the 20. Mesko received a favorable bounce on one effort as he was a cut above Moorman (2 punts, 34.0 average).
3. Eric Moore as a 5-technique. One of the unique parts of the 3-4 alignment that the Patriots ran for parts of the game was having Eric Moore at right defensive end. Moore has never played consistently in a 3-4 alignment, as he is considered more of a natural 4-3 end. But he hung in there with the challenging assignment, which was a similar role to what Derrick Burgess played last year in Buffalo when the Patriots had a shortage of personnel on the line. Moore finished with five tackles and one forced fumble.
4. Players happy for Alge Crumpler. Veteran tight end Alge Crumpler has had a significant impact on the Patriots' offense this season, both as a run blocker and mentor to younger tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. He hasn't had big contributions as a pass-catcher (5 receptions), which was why Gronkowski was smiling when asked about Crumpler's 4-yard touchdown grab, his first TD of the season. "I'm so glad he got one," Gronkowski said. "He's been a great leader. I love a man who leads by example with everything."
5. Brady not looking for a week off. With the Patriots having clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs, it gives Bill Belichick the opportunity to manage his roster in the season-finale against the Dolphins, especially with injured players. But quarterback Tom Brady isn't looking for time off. "I want to play," he said.