FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Linebacker Eric Lee was a member of the Buffalo Bills practice squad barely two weeks ago. Sunday afternoon in Buffalo he notched his second game as a member of the New England Patriots with a pretty impressive performance against his former team.
Lee not only picked off a Tyrod Taylor pass near the goal line to kill Buffalo's impressive opening drive, but finished the day with four tackles, 1.5 sacks, a tackle for a loss, three QB hits and two passes defensed.
With 2.5 sacks in two games, Lee couldn't ask for a much better start in New England. Any time you can elicit praise from head coach Bill Belichick, you are doing something right.
"He's done the things that we've asked him to do and he's done them at a pretty good level," Belichick said after breaking down the film of the 23-3 win over the Bills. "I mean, he's only been here a couple weeks, so there's still a lot of things for him to learn and there are finer points on various plays that, when he sees them again, he'll recognize them quicker or react a little bit differently. But, overall, he's done a solid job for us in the things that he's been asked to do.
"He was asked to do a little more (against Buffalo) than he was last week against Miami, so maybe that role will increase, maybe it will stay the same, maybe it will decrease a little bit depending on the game plan and so forth. We'll just have to see how that goes, but the last two weeks, the opportunities he's had, he's given us some good plays and I'm glad we have him."
--Right tackle Cameron Fleming made his second start of the season in the win over the Bills.
The veteran was the third player to start at right tackle this season with Marcus Cannon (ankle) having missed more than a month and fill-in starter LaAdrian Waddle missing Sunday's trip to Buffalo with his own ankle injury.
Though Fleming has had his issues in the past, he was solid in Buffalo, arguably the most consistent of the front five in the battle with the Bills.
"I thought Cam played hard. He was aggressive, had a lot of good plays," Belichick said. "As in every game, we all have plays that we'd like to have over again or could do a little bit differently. But, Cam's been a solid player for us for four years, and he's always been ready to step in whenever we've called on him at both tackle spots and sometimes at guard and jumbo tight end and things like that. But, I thought he gave us a solid performance (Sunday).
NOTES: RB Mike Gillislee was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight week. ... DL Trey Flowers (rib) was a surprise inactive in Buffalo, missing his first game of the season despite practicing on a limited basis last week. Flowers suffered the injury on a sack in the fourth quarter of the Week 12 win over Miami, returning to the game after being tended to by trainers and then leaving again for good. ... WR Chris Hogan (shoulder) missed his fourth straight game with the injury suffered in the pre-bye, Week 8 win over the Chargers. Hogan has not practiced since. ... WR Matthew Slater (hamstring) missed his third straight game and seventh overall due to the injury that dates back to the early days of training camp practice. ... LB Trevor Reilly (concussion) was inactive for the Bills game a week after suffering the injury on a huge collision covering the second-half kickoff against the Dolphins. ... RT Marcus Cannon (ankle) missed his fourth straight game and continues to be absent from the practice field with the issue that he reinjured in the pre-bye Week 8 win over the Chargers. ... T LaAdrian Waddle, who had been filling in as the starter at right tackle the last three games, was inactive in Buffalo due to his own ankle injury suffered in last week's win over Miami. ... T Cameron Fleming started at right tackle in place of Marcus Cannon/LaAdrian Waddle and more than held his own against Buffalo's lackluster pass rush in Sunday's win. ... LB Kyle Van Noy (calf) did not start, but played 15 snaps against Buffalo with the injury suffered in last week's win over Miami that had him limited in practice all week. But Van Noy then left the Bills game after apparently aggravating the lower leg injury.