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 joined the show to discuss Tebow's signing with the Patriots. He said that Tim Tebow cant play and that he has trouble learning NFL playbooks.
On this episode of the It Is What It Is Cast, Chris Price talks with the Boston Herald's Jeff P Howe about the Patriots offseason, Rob Gronkowski's back surgery, Danny Amendola replacing Wes Welker, and how this seasons team will stack up against last seasons.
In the latest edition of the It Is What It Is Cast, Chris Price talks with Will Carroll. Injury expert and lead writer for Sports Medicine, Bleacher Report. They talk about the injury to Rob Gronkowski and what his back surgery could mean for his season.
Stephen A. joined the show to discuss the status of trade negotiations between the Clippers and the Celtics. Stephen said that it is a 50-50 proposition that Doc ends up in Los Angeles.
Grande and Max take more calls on the Celtics and discuss what lies ahead for Doc Rivers with Steve Bulpett.
Long-time Celtics beat-writer Steve Bulpett calls Grande and Max to discuss Doc, the C's and what the future looks like for the Green Team.
John Farrell postgame press conference
Dave O'Brien talked to John Farrell before the last game of the Baltimore series. The skipper said that the Sox have played tough through this stretch of long games.
Jonny Gomes talked to Joe Castiglione & Dave O'Brien after the third game of the Baltimore series. The Sox slugger hit a homer and scored two runs in the win.
Andy Brickley joins Mut and Merloni in studio to take phone calls from the listeners and to preview Game 3 of the Stanley Cup.
Hour 1 of Brickley in studio with Mut and Merloni have the three taking phone calls, recapping Game 2, and discussing Mike Milbury's comments on Jagr.
Shawn joined the show to discuss the teams OT win in Chicago. Shawn said that there was a heated discussion during the first intermission Saturday night in Chicago after the teams poor first period.
Shawn joined the show to discuss the Bruins' OT win in Chicago. Shawn said that there was a heated discussion during the first intermission Saturday night in Chicago after the team's poor first period.
Don Cherry joined the show to discuss the Cup finals. He said that he still thinks the Bruins will win the series over Chicago. Grapes added that he would not give Evgeni Malkin a dime and called him a loser.
It all started when McNeil and Spiegel from The Score in Chicago called Boston people drunks and called Fenway a "dump." Knowing that McNeil and Speigel weren't interested in talking to them on air, Lou called in to their show anyway. At first they were afraid, but they finally succumbed to the pressure.
We talk all Bruins, all the time with the man himself, Jack Edwards from NESN gets us ready for game three and beyond.
Four guys, four topics we haven't yet touched upon today. TO visits Ocho, Bob Costas has enough smarm for us all, stupid beauty pageant contestants and more.
We talk about the Bruins big showdown with the Blackhawks tonight at the Garden with the lovely and knowledgeable Kathryn Tappen of the NHL Network.
Mikey gets a surprise call from Bernie Carbo, they talk about old time baseball and Bernie's new book.
Mikey talks with Tom and Luke about their new movie, Plimpton! and finds out what it was like to try to encapsulate everything Plimpton accomplished during his life.
Today on the Daily Planet, the Red Sox and Yankees face off in the Bronx, Claude Julien doesn't want players wasting energy, and Dwight Howard and free agency.
Both Xander Bogaerts and Anthony Ranaudo punctuated their strong 2013 seasons with head-turning events on June 13. On that day, Bogaerts, the Red Sox' top prospect, was promoted from Double-A Portland Pawtucket, with the 20-year-old becoming one of the youngest position players in the affiliate's history. On that same day, right-hander Anthony Ranaudo punched out 13 batters for Double-A Portland, the most strikeouts by a Red Sox minor leaguer since Jon Lester in 2005. They joined Minor Details to discuss both those accomplishments and their seasons to date.More from this show