Pats Rally in 4Q Domination of Bills

The Patriots overcame a slow first half and dominated the fourth quarter in a come from behind victory over the Buffalo Bills by a dominating score of 52-28.  As lopsided as the final score was, the game was close for the first 45 minutes, and actually tied at the end of the third quarter, but 31 fourth quarter points by the Patriots were just too much for the Bills.

The Patriots limped into Western New York with two consecutive losses, a 1-2 record, and looking up at the 2-1 Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.  The Bills went into halftime with a 14-7 lead, and then took a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter on a 68-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Donald Jones.

Things were starting to look a little grim for the Patriots, but there’s a lot of pride in New England, and the familiar names on the Patriots offense rallied.  Brady threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead to cut the lead to 21-14, and then Brady ran it in himself from the 4-yard line to tie the score at 21 near the end of the third quarter.  That tells you a little about how much Brady wanted the win.  He’s not Cam Newton – Brady has run the ball 5 times all season for 7 yards.

Welker never lost faith.  “You just keep on fighting, keep on staying after it, and eventually good things happen,” Welker said.  “Tom [Brady]’s always going to fight to the end, and knowing that you have that at your quarterback position makes you want to fight until the end.  I think ultimately everybody did that and came together and we were able to win.”

The fourth quarter was all Patriots, as they took the lead on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Rob Gronkowski, followed by touchdown runs by Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden in a 4:26 stretch at the beginning of the fourth quarter to take the lead 42-21.

“They were beatable,” Stevie Johnson said, clearly frustrated with the loss.  We feel like we’ve got the players that can match up with anybody.  This Sunday it wasn’t ours, we thought it was early, but they came out and they turned the corner and we didn’t.”

The Bills did cut the lead back to 42-28 on a 28-yard touchdown pass to Brad Smith, but Brandon Lloyd caught a 25-yard touchdown and New England took a late field goal to turn in the dominating win.

Ultimately, turnovers ruled the day as the Bills had six turnovers – 4 Fitzpatrick interceptions and 2 fumbles by Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.  Three of their turnovers were in the fourth quarter, setting up 17 fourth quarter New England points.  Devin McCourty had two of the picks, along with interceptions by Jerod Mayo and Tavon Wilson.

“They just came out and played harder than us in the second half,” Stevie Johnson said.  “They played harder than we did.  I don’t know what else you want me to say.”

Other than the turnovers, there was an absence of defense, as the two teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense.  Fitzpatrick finished 22 of 39 for 350 yards with 4 TDs to offset his 4 INTs.  Brady finished 22 of 36 for 340 yards with 3 passing TDs and 1 rushing TD, and no INTs.  Wes Welker had 9 catches for 129 yards, and Gronkowski added 5 catches for 104 yards and 1 TD.

In addition to the impressive passing numbers, the Patriots also dominated on the ground as they rediscovered a running game which has often been overlooked in recent years.  The Patriots had 247 yards on the ground and not one, but two 100-yard rushers.  Brandon Bolden finished with 16 carries for 137 yards and a TD, and Stevan Ridley had 22 carries for 106 yards and 2 TDs.

“If we don’t stop the run, it’s hard to win,” Mario Williams said, describing their run defense as “ugly, not good.”

“If we don’t stop the run, there’s no putting anybody on their back (reference to Brady). I think both (of their running backs) were over 100 yards rushing. It was pick your poison at that point.”


Photos by Derek Zeller

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