ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Patriots scored 35 straight second-half points to wipe out a 21-7 third-quarter deficit and beat the Bills, 52-28, Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. With the win, the Patriots improved to 2-2 and avoided their first 1-3 start since 2001 and their first three-game losing streak since 2002. The Patriots, who trailed 14-7 at the half, demolished the Bills defense, totaling 580 yards on the day. The Patriots scored on their final seven possessions.
Brandon Bolden rushed for 16 times 137 yards and a touchdown and Stevan Ridley added two TD runs and 106 yards on 22 carries to become the first Patriots tandem since 1980 to eclipse 100 yards in a game. The Patriots ran the ball 40 times for 247 yards while Tom Brady finished 22-of-36 for 340 yards. Wes Welker caught nine passes for 129 yards while Rob Gronkowski added five catches for 104 yards. Brandon Lloyd capped off the big day with his first touchdown in a Patriots uniform, a spectacular diving grab of 25 yards.
The Patriots became just the second team in NFL history to have a pair of 100-yard rushers and 100-yard receivers in the same game, joining the 2008 Packers.
Defensively, Devin McCourty, after dropping a pair of potential interceptions last week in Baltimore, intercepted two passes. Jerod Mayo and Tavon Wilson also had interceptions while Vince Wilfork and Brandon Spikes forced fumbles as the Bills committed six turnovers.
The day started well for the Patriots as Brady drove the offense 90 yards in seven plays in just over three minutes. Brady was 5-for-5 for 80, including a 41-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski. The drive was capped off by a six-yard run off left tackle by Stevan Ridley.
The Bills had the ball for over 10 minutes in the first quarter but the Patriots defense kept momentum on New England's side. But the game started to change when the Patriots failed to convert two Buffalo turnovers into any points. Vince Wilfork tipped a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass at the line of scrimmage and it was intercepted by Jerod Mayo near midfield. But the Patriots went three-and-out. Then, Devin McCourty intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick at the Buffalo 42 but Stephen Gostkowski missed wide right from 49 yards.
The Bills, on the other hand, used a Rob Gronkowski fumble and turnover after a reception to immediately get back in the game. On the first play after the fumble, Scott Chandler caught a Fitzpatrick pass over Patrick Chung to tie the game, 7-7, early in the second quarter. After the Patriots chose to attempt 42-yard field goal instead of going for it on 4th-and-inches at the Bills 24, they were burned again when Gostkowski hooked it wide left. Fitzpatrick then led the Bills 68 yards in just five plays, capped off by a 20-yard TD to Chandler, who beat Brandon Spikes in a seam route over the middle, putting the Bills up, 14-7.
The Patriots appeared to catch a huge break when Wes Welker fumbled and set the Bills up at the Patriots 21. But with C.J. Spiller about to drive it in at the goal line, Brandon Spikes hit Spiller forcing a fumble that was recovered by Vince Wilfork at the Patriots 4. The Patriots ran out the clock and trailed 14-7 at the half.
The Patriots defense corned the Bills deep in their own territory early in the third, forcing a 3rd-and-15. But Fitzpatrick converted a 16-yard screen pass to Fred Jackson. Two plays later, Fitzpatrick connected to Donald Jones over the middle for a 68-yard touchdown pass, as Jones beat Kyle Arrington and Chung on the play. The Patriots turned to the ground game, rushing for 52 of 80 yards, capped off by a 17-yard TD pass to Danny Woodhead. The Patriots defense held and Brady capped off the next offensive drive with a Brady four-yard TD run to tie the game again, 21-21.
Brady hit Gronkowski on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 28-yard TD pass over the middle to give the Patriots the lead for good. Ridley and Bolden would add touchdown runs from inside the 10-yard line as the Patriots built their lead to 42-21.
The Patriots return home next week to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos in a late-afternoon tilt at Gillette Stadium. For complete coverage from the team of Chris Price and Mike Petraglia on the scene at Ralph Wilson Stadium, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots and the blog It Is What It Is.
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