FOXBORO -- Devin McCourty intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone with 23 seconds left to stop a potential game-winning drive by the Bills and preserve a 37-31 win Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Danny Woodhead caught an 18-yard touchdown pass and ran for another score as the Patriots took command of the AFC East with the wild win over the Bills. The Patriots took full advantage of an undisciplined Buffalo team that committed 14 penalties for 148 yards. Tom Brady finished 23-of-38 for 237 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots defense, which gave up 481 yards and 35 first downs, had to make one final stand to preserve the win in the final two minutes.
The Patriots improved to 6-3 on the season, good for a two-game lead on the Dolphins in the AFC East. The Patriots lost two offensive linemen in the game, as Dan Connolly suffered a back injury and Logan Mankins injured his left ankle. Both left in the second half and did not return.
Thanks to 10 Buffalo first-half penalties, the Patriots dominated early. After a Stephen Gostkowski field goal put them on top 3-0, Vince Wilfork broke through for a strip-sack of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jermaine Cunningham recovered. The Bills committed a pair of penalties in the end zone to set up Stevan Ridley's one-yard TD run.
The Bills responded with a field goal before the Patriots marched 83 yards in eight plays, capped off by a 16-yard Danny Woodhead touchdown run up the middle, putting New England ahead, 17-3.
The Bills, who amassed 229 yards in the first half, responded with an 80-yard drive culminating in a 14-yard TD run by Fred Jackson. The Patriots used a 37-yard pass interference penalty on Leodis McKelvin in the end zone to set up their third touchdown of the first half, a spectacular diving grab by Rob Gronkowski in the right corner of the end zone. But the Bills responded by driving down the field, aided by a 15-yard personal foul late hit by Alfonzo Dennard on Fitzpatrick, who hit a wide open Scott Chandler in the end zone to make it a 24-17 Patriots lead at the half.
The Patriots were forced to punt for the first time on their first possession of the second half but scored on their second possession when Danny Woodhead took a pass from Brady and raced 18 yards, just extending the ball over the goal line before his knees hit the ground. The Bills came back with an 84-yard drive, capped off by Jackson's second TD run of the day.
Leading by 10 with 10 minutes left, McCourty made a huge play, forcing a fumble by C.J. Spiller at the goal line, recovered by Kyle Arrington. The Patriots could not take advantage as Wes Welker dropped a pass that would've given the Patriots another three downs. Instead, they punted from the back of the end zone, setting up the Bills in Patriots territory. The Bills scored on a two-yard TD pass from Fitzpatrick to Donald Jones with seven minutes left to cut the Patriots lead to 34-31.
The Patriots improve to 6-3 and will host Andrew Luck and the Colts next Sunday at Gillette Stadium. For complete coverage from the team of Chris Price, Mike Petraglia and Kirk Minihane at Gillette, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots and the blog It Is What It Is.
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Fauria is still down in Houston and calls live from NRG Stadium to give his take on what will go down later on in Super Bowl 51. He likes the Pats and gives his reasons why, but also gets into the scene in Houston all week, famous people he met and why he is tired out from a wild week.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Adrian Wojnarowski has been talking about the possibility of the Celtics making a trade with the Bulls to bring Jimmy Butler to Boston. He actually thinks it may be the the marquee deal to keep an eye on this week heading into the trade deadline. Pete and Jerry discuss and give their thoughts on if they would want Butler. Pete thinks it will happen, Jerry thinks Ainge will stay put. The guys get into more Celtics, present and future and if they can battle with the best of the NBA.
Anna Horford, sister of Boston Celtics Al Horford, makes her Boston radio debut. She talks about Twitter and reacting to mean tweets about her brother. She also gives us her thoughts on the city of Boston and racism.
Bradford checks in from spring training to give us all the media dirt he can dig up...oh, and talk some baseball too.
Rob Bradford is joined by Lou Merloni to talk life in spring training, his toiletries, sleeping arrangements, and facing off with Red Sox personnel that he might have been critical of. Rob and Lou also get into the dynamic of electronic and print media when it comes to ripping the Red Sox.
Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Hour 4. Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien joins the show.
Hour 3. The guys take more calls on transgender bathrooms. Evan Drellich joins the show...again.
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.
Max Kellerman rips Pats fans. Skip Bayless says Bill Belichick is "good, not great." And Dan Le Batard feels the heat from Keyshawn Johnson regarding his criticisms of Magic Johnson.
It took a few hours, but Glenn finally starts to agree with Lou and Mut about Danny Ainge.
Obviously the Celtics aren't expected to overtake the Cavs in the East, but the guys wonder if the team is trying to get a little bit better each year, or hold onto their assets until LeBron is over the hill.
We spoke with Danny Ainge and discussed all aspects of the Celtics, trading deadline, playoffs and beyond.
We close out Freestyle Friday with more Pats, Sox and Celtics talk.
We continue freestyle Friday with Brady and Jimmy G trade talk, plus more on the Celtics and the Vancouver Canucks have the mumps!
Kirk sits down with the legend Glenn Ordway to talk about when Glenn got fired here at WEEI, his start with the station, the controversial decisions he made when he was the Program Director, and he relationship with Eddie Andelman.
Kirk chats with David Duchovny about his current music tour, which takes him to the Wilbur on February 22nd, how David got his start in television, from his first stint on Red Shoe Diaries, becoming a superstar on the X-Files, and his hilarious appearances on the Larry Sanders Show. This is a fascinating discussion about show business and controlling your own career.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap Wednesday and Thursday's K&C shows on location in Ft. Myers
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.More from this show
Hour 1. Kirk and Gerry's final day from spring training. Le Batard made comments about Magic Johnson. Curtis attacked the afternoon show.More from this show
Hour 4. Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien joins the show.More from this show