FOXBOROUGH—Despite a leaky defense and a penalty-riddled opponent, the Patriots found themselves on what appeared to be the throes of a game-winning Buffalo Bills drive.
That’s until Devin McCourty stepped up and intercepted a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass with 23 seconds left in the game, as the Patriots held on for a 37-31 win over their AFC East opponent.
Fitzpatrick passed for 340 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots. His team was hindered by 14 penalties for 148 yards.
The Patriots run defense wasn’t much better, giving up a season-high 162 yards in the win, with McCourty’s interception as the only gauze available for the bleeding.
Tom Brady was 23 of 38 for 237 yards and two touchdowns in the game as the Patriots moved on to 6-3 on the year and 2-0 against Buffalo.
FINAL: Patriots 27, Bills 31 -- Devin McCourty intercepted a pass intended for Bill receiver T.J. Graham in the end zone with 23 seconds left in the game to help the Patriots seal the win.
2:06 4th quarter: Patriots 37, Bills 24 -- On a third-and-goal at the Buffalo 9-yard line, feeling pressure, Tom Brady couldn’t connect with Danny Woodhead in the flat. That led to a 27-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski to extend the Patriots’ lead to six points. The Patriots’ 14-play, 59-yard drive that spanned 5:41 gives the Bills a little more than two minutes to come up with a possible game-winning drive.
7:47 4th quarter: Patriots 34, Bills 24 -- Ryan Fitzpatrick fired a pass over the middle of the field for a 2-yard touchdown pass to Donald Jones. It was a quick drive for the Bills against the Patriots, going 45 yards on five plays in 1:29, putting the Patriots in a score-or-risk-losing-the-lead situation. The Bills have scored on two of their last three drives. The Patriots have given up a season-high 161 yards rushing.
9:16 4th quarter: Patriots 34, Bills 24 -- The Patriots went three-and-out after the turnover. Wes Welker dropped a pass from Tom Brady on second down.
9:35 4th quarter: Patriots 34, Bills 24 -- Devin McCourty forced a Fred Jackson at the 1-yard line as the Patriots came up with a critical turnover. The play was initially ruled as down on contact, but after review it was reversed.
14:10 4th quarter: Patriots 34, Bills 24 -- Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 48-yard field goal as the Patriots went up by 10 against the Bills. It was a seven-play, 50-yard drive that spanned 2:27. On 3rd-and-8, Tom Brady connected with Brandon Lloyd on a 6-yard pass.
End of the 3d quarter: Patriots 31, Bills 24 -- The third quarter comes to a close with the Patriots in a pivotal stretch to keep the Bills at a distance.
1:37 3d quarter: Patriots 31, Bills 24 -- The Bills are trying to stick around. Fred Jackson ran in a 1-yard touchdown, capitalizing on an 11-play, 84-yard drive in which the team converted on a 4th-and-4 to keep the drive alive. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed three passes to Stevie Johnson on the drive, totaling 44 yards. Fitzpatrick found Donald Jones for a 6-yard pass to get the Bills down to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Jackson ran it in.
7:06 3d quarter: Patriots 31, Bills 17 -- Tom Brady escaped the Bills pass rush and dumped off a pass to Danny Woodhead, who scampered 18 yards for a touchdown. The play was reviewed and upheld, showing Woodhead had just crossed the goal line by a whisker. It was a quick, four-play drive that lasted 1:38. This is the first time Woodhead has scored more than one touchdown in an NFL game.
8:44 3d quarter: Patriots 24, Bills 17 -- Jermaine Cunningham came up with another huge sack, as the Patriots forced the Bills to punt after four plays. Dan Connolly has a back injury. He was was announced as questionable to return. The Patriots have subbed in Donald Thomas and Nick McDonald in place of Connolly and Logan Mankins.
10:53 3d quarter: Patriots 24, Bills 17 -- Tom Brady was sacked on a 3rd-and-5 by the Bills’ Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, forcing the Patriots to punt on their opening drive of the third quarter. On the same play, Logan Mankins appeared to be shaken up. He walked off the field gingerly with the help of the team’s trainers.
15:00 3d quarter: Patriots 24, Bills 17 -- Second half is underway.
End of the 2d quarter: Patriots 24, Bills 17 -- The first half comes to a close with the Patriots allowing the Bills to scratch their way back into the game.
It’s not like the Patriots haven’t been getting any help, especially with the number of penalties the Bills have racked up. The Bills have been flagged 10 times for 119 yards, a mesmerizing display of ineffectiveness. Meanwhile, the Bills have rushed for 88 yards in the first half alone. The Patriots have held opponents to 88.6 rushing yards coming into today’s game. Continued...