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(Sunday, December 20th)
Final Score: New England 17, Buffalo 10
Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) - Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to Randy Moss and Laurence Maroney added another score on the ground, as the New England Patriots continued their mastery of the Buffalo Bills with a 17-10 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Brady connected on 11-of-23 passes for only 115 yards and one interception for the Patriots (9-5), who have won 13 straight against their AFC East rivals. Maroney had 81 yards on a season-high 23 carries, while Moss made five grabs for 70 yards.
New England increased its division lead to two games after both Miami and the Jets lost on Sunday.
"Not too often this team has had to go into December to get a road win, but we did today," Brady said. "It certainly wasn't our best performance, but we won the game and that's what is most important."
New England's only other "road" win this season was over Tampa Bay in London, England on October 25.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 17-of-25 throws for 178 yards with a late touchdown to Lee Evans and one interception.
Trent Edwards took over for Buffalo early in the fourth quarter, but his relief stint was a brief one, lasting only one series. To make matters worse, the former starting quarterback appeared to sustain an ankle injury while being wrapped up by Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain.
"We were not converting on third down. We just needed something to give us some momentum so I made the decision (to change quarterbacks)," said Bills interim head coach Perry Fewell. "I thought Trent could come in and may be gives us a little spark."
Fred Jackson rushed for 80 yards on 15 carries for the Bills (5-9), who have dropped five of seven.
Buffalo took the game's opening kickoff and orchestrated a 14-play drive that chewed up over nine minutes of the clock. The drive, however, stalled at the New England seven, forcing the Bills to settle for a 25-yard Rian Lindell field goal.
The Patriots' first series was derailed by a Paul Posluszny interception, but Buffalo failed to capitalize on the turnover.
New England got the ball back at its own 25 following the punt, and a pass interference penalty assessed to Bills safety Donte Whitner later in the drive set up a first-and-goal at the Buffalo three-yard line. After the visitors were bumped back 10 yards because of an infraction, Brady threw a bullet to Moss in the end zone for a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter.
Patriots cornerback Jonathan Wilhite picked off Fitzpatrick later in the frame. New England then turned the interception into points, as a Maroney one- yard plunge capped an eight-play, 64-yard march with 24 seconds remaining before halftime. Another defensive pass interference penalty placed the ball on the cusp of the end zone.
Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 30-yard field goal to give New England a 17-3 lead with 4:43 remaining in the third quarter.
Fitzpatrick and Evans teamed up for an 11-yard touchdown with 3:02 remaining in regulation, but Brady hit Wes Welker for an eight-yard toss, converting a critical third down at the two-minute warning to secure the Patriots' second straight win.
Maroney has a career-high nine touchdowns this season...Banta-Cain recorded three of New England's six sacks...Welker caught four passes for 40 yards...Josh Reed had 63 yards on four receptions for the Bills, while Terrell Owens caught just two passes for 20 yards in the loss...New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (foot) and defensive end Ty Warren (ankle) were both inactive...The Patriots host Jacksonville next week, while Buffalo travels to Atlanta.
12/20 17:36:34 ET
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