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.
PHOENIX — After landing in Phoenix Monday afternoon, Patriots owner Robert Kraft took to the podium to make a passionate defense of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the organization in response to Deflategate.
We go inside the Patriots with head coach Bill Belichick as the Patriots prepare for the Super Bowl. We get some final thoughts on deflated balls, and some actual GAME talk about the Seahawks as well.
We speak with a fiery Tedy Bruschi, who sounds like he's had his fill of hearing about how his teammates are cheaters, and doesn't pull many punches about it either.
Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out of hardware, and give their Finals predictions
Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process
How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...
The Red Sox have taken over Foxwoods and Red Sox Manager John Farrell sat down with Mut and Bradford to talk about the roster and how the 2015 season is looking.
Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly and 3B Pablo Sandoval sat down with Mut and Bradford. Joe Kelly had a few interesting proclamations. First he said that 95% of pitchers use some sort of grip enhancer, and then he said he was going to win the Cy Young. Pablo leaned over and promised 10 HR's, explaining to Joe that the trick is to set the bar low.
Mut and Rob are in on the Hot Stove Show this week and they're taking calls and talking about the Red Sox pitching as we are 5 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.
Pierre McGuire talks about ways hockey players skirt the rules in the NHL and the development of Dougie Hamilton.
Pierre McGuire joins Lou, Christian and Tim to discuss the resurgent Bruins, the emergence of David Pastrnak, and former Boston College stand-out Johnny Gaudreau looking to trademark the name 'Johnny Hockey.'
We get our state of the B report from NESN's Jack Edwards, right in the midst of a 4 game winning streak and hot return for David Pastrnak.
Ben Volin sits in with the guys and breaks down deflategate and the future of Darrelle Revis.
Kirk wasn't taking any crap from Woody in North Reading.
Tony Kornheiser joins Dennis and Callahan in Arizona to discuss his comment comparing Bill Belichick to Whitey Bulger.
Four-time Super Bowl Champion Bill Romanowski joined the show to share his thoughts on the greatest QB he ever played with, and his Super Bowl experiences.
Chris Mortensen, ESPN, joined the show to talk about all the reports regarding "Deflategate." He thinks that people are making too big a deal out of it. He also hints that he's skeptic of Bill Belichick's attempt to blame science on the balls dropping in pressure.
The Rogue Ball Boy Theory picks up steam...then dies. Is the Rogue Ball Boy the fastest ball deflater ever or is he simply someone with a healthy prostate who probably doesn't even wash his hands. Also, Ted Wells says the investigation will take a while. And Robert Kraft demands an apology if the investigation finds no wrong-doing by the Pats.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton are live from radio row and recapping the latest in Deflategate including Belichick's impromptu weekend presser, and the national media's predictable reaction to it.
A caller named Jumbo from California raises a question that hasn't been talked about too much, what happens if it's determined that the Patriots aren't found responsible for the deflation of the footballs?
Mut and Lenny continue talking and taking calls on deflategate, as well as hearing the sound from Kirk Minihane's appearance on the O'Reilly Factor.
Mut and Lenny are talking deflategate and what impact it could have on the Patriots organization.
Chris and comedian Mike Mulloy recap the final Raw before the Rumble and preview the Rumble itself.
Would you rather watch important games in the stadium or on TV? Also we discuss our worst experiences at stadiums.
Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out some hardware, and give their Finals predictions.
We get the national perspective on Deflategate and the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl with the playmaker, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.More from this show
Ben Volin sits in with the guys and breaks down deflategate and the future of Darrelle Revis.More from this show
Former Panthers GM and current ESPN 730 radio host in Charlotte, Marty Hurney spoke, ambiguously, about a lot of "rumors" he's heard about the New England Patriots, dating back to 2001. He did admit he believes Bill Belichick's assertions during Saturday's press conference.More from this show