NFL Game Summary - Buffalo at New England|
(Sunday, January 1st)
Final Score: New England 49, Buffalo 21
Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Tom Brady and the New England Patriots scored
49 unanswered points to beat the Buffalo Bills, 49-21, and claim the No. 1
seed in the AFC playoffs.
Brady completed 23-of-35 passes for 338 yards, three touchdowns and an
interception for the Patriots (13-3), who will have home-field advantage
throughout the postseason for the second year in a row. New England finished
the regular season with a 7-1 mark at Gillette Stadium.
Brady became the third player in NFL history with 5,000 passing yards in a
season. He also set a franchise record for completions in a season with 401,
topping Drew Bledsoe's 400 in 1994. A first-round bye will allow the two-time
league MVP to rest his sore left shoulder.
"Our passing game has been obviously a big strongpoint of this team," Brady
said. "The pass catchers and the blockers have been great and we've run the
ball great, too, at times. That's what it takes - a complementary offense. You
run it and we throw it when we need to throw it and we can be effective. You
have to stay balanced and those guys have done a great job all year doing
stuff with it."
Aaron Hernandez caught seven passes for 138 yards and a touchdown for New
England, which heads into the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak.
Rob Gronkowski capped his record-setting season with eight catches for 108
yards and two scores.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried the ball seven times for 22 yards and two
touchdowns for the Patriots, who avenged a Week 3 loss to the Bills. The first
playoff test for the AFC East champions will come Saturday, January 14 at 8
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 29-of-46 passes for 307 yards, two touchdowns and
four interceptions for the Bills (6-10), who fell apart after starting the
season with a 4-1 mark.
Steve Johnson caught four passes for 40 yards and a touchdown for Buffalo,
which lost eight of nine to end the season. C.J. Spiller carried the ball 13
times for 60 yards.
New England woke up after letting Buffalo jump out to a quick 21-0 lead. The
home team got things going with a nine-play, 77-yard scoring drive. Hernandez
caught a 27-yard pass on the second play of the second quarter. Stevan Ridley
kept the march alive with a 21-yard run on 3rd-and-1. Green-Ellis leaped over
the pile from the one to cut the gap to 21-7 with 11:58 to go.
On the seventh play of the Patriots' next possession, Brady found a wide-open
Hernandez down the right sideline for an easy 39-yard score.
The Bills had a chance to put three more points on the board, but Brandon
Coutu's 45-yarder was wide left as time expired. It was his first NFL field
The Patriots got a pair of field goals from Stephen Gostkowski early in the
third quarter to cut the gap to 21-20.
Fitzpatrick was then picked off by Sterling Moore, who returned the ball five
yards to the Buffalo 25. The Patriots failed to convert on 3rd-and-15, but
Bills linebacker Kirk Morrison was called for illegal contact. A fresh set of
downs led to Gronkowski's 17-yard TD catch. A successful two-point conversion
gave the home team a 28-21 lead with 1:32 remaining in the third.
New England's defense came up with another big play early in the fourth. Devin
McCourty picked off Fitzpatrick and returned the ball 38 yards to the 47 of
the Bills. After Hernandez caught a 44-yard pass, Green-Ellis rumbled into the
end zone from three yards out.
The Patriots added another touchdown with 3:02 to play. Brady's 300th career
TD pass went to Gronkowski, who recorded his 18th touchdown of the season.
Gronkowski set the NFL record for receiving yards in a season by a tight end
Moore capped the come-from-behind victory with a 21-yard interception return
for a touchdown.
"It was kind of like our season. It started off so well with the 21 points,
and we had things rolling offensively," Fitzpatrick said. "We were doing some
good things on defense, stopping them. We wanted to do some up-tempo stuff
today, which worked early. It kept working, but when you get a sack, a
penalty, a bad snap or don't complete a pass or whatever it is, it puts you
behind the sticks and makes it harder."
The Bills came out of the gates on fire, scoring 21 points in the first
quarter. Buffalo's first drive was kept alive by a fake punt. George Wilson
took the snap on 4th-and-1 and gained six yards on the ground. A 47-yard
defensive pass interference penalty put the ball at the four-yard line.
Tashard Choice rumbled into the end zone for an early 7-0 lead.
Buffalo marched down the field again after New England went three-and-out.
Derek Hagan caught a 22-yard pass on the second play to put the ball near
midfield. On 4th-and-4 from the 31, Johnson caught a nine-yard pass. Two
plays later, Fitzpatrick lofted a perfect pass to Johnson for an 18-yard
Following another three-and-out by the Patriots, the Bills put together a six-
play, 82-yard scoring drive. Fitzpatrick completed three straight passes of at
least 14 yards to set up the visitors at the 27. Spiller ran for 12 yards
before recording a 15-yard TD catch. The score gave Buffalo a 21-0 lead with
48 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Patriots own a 61-41-1 advantage over the Bills...The 49 points by the
Patriots are the most since their 59-0 victory over the Titans in 2009...
Brady's 300th TD pass moved him into a tie with John Elway for fifth place in
NFL history...The Patriots scored 30 points or more 12 times this season,
tying the 2007 Patriots and 1999 Rams for most in NFL history...New England
safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Brandon Spikes were both active for the
first time in eight games.
01/01 22:24:10 ET