Danny Amendola: Asked to do more in the absence of No. 1 receiver Julian Edelman, he delivered with the seventh 100-yard receiving game of his career. When the Patriots needed a big play, it was often Amendola on the receiving end. He left the game late in the third quarter with a knee injury and didn't return.
Brandon King: The undrafted free agent from Auburn, who entered the day tied for the team lead with seven special-teams tackles, forced a fumble late in the third quarter on punt returner Leodis McKelvin with strong work as a gunner. That sparked memories of McKelvin’s costly fumble late in the fourth quarter of the 2009 season opener that helped the Patriots produce a dramatic win.
James White: His 20-yard catch-and-run touchdown late in the second quarter came as he eluded a tackle, and then he scored on a 6-yard rush in the third quarter. He might not be as shifty as Dion Lewis in the role of passing back, but he’s still helping the Patriots’ cause.
Marcus Cannon/offensive line: Cannon had two penalties on the opening drive – a false start and failing to align on the line of scrimmage – as his early struggles reflect an overall challenging day for the blockers up front. He later had a holding penalty in the third quarter that negated a long Chris Harper catch. The Bills pressured Tom Brady regularly and put some notable hits on him.
Rob Gronkowski: The tight end had just one catch for 10 yards in the first half, and had two passes that weren’t 100 percent on the mark but that he’d normally catch bounce off his hands. Overall, he had two catches for 37 yards.
Referees with inadvertent whistle: In one of the more unusual plays in an NFL game, a member of the officiating crew blew an inadvertent whistle early in the third quarter, limiting a potential big Patriots play (it was a 14-yard completion to Amendola that could have gone for more) as the Bills appeared to pull up.