Over the last two weeks - Oakland in Week 2 and New England in Week 3 - the two teams stood by almost helplessly as the upstart Bills recorded comeback victories.
The Raiders led Buffalo 21-3 at halftime before the Bills scored on each of their five second-half possessions to eventually come away with the 38-35 victory.
Last Sunday in Orchard Park Tom Brady led New England to a 21-0 advantage and a 21-10 halftime lead before three second-half interceptions helped Buffalo come back for the 34-31 victory.
Two three-point victories that allowed Buffalo to open the year at 3-0, alone in first place in the AFC East. Two three-point losses that have the Patriots (2-1) and Raiders (2-1) battling to avoid falling to .500 on the first weekend of October.
For the Patriots, the loss in Buffalo was exceptionally shocking for a number of reasons. New England had beaten the Bills 15 straight times dating back to the 2003 season opener.
Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to pass against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 25, 2011 in
Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 34-31
(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Brady entered the game after two straight AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors having opened the season with two games throwing for more than 400 yards, totaling seven touchdowns and one interception.
While he continued to put up yards and points in Buffalo, his four interceptions were the difference in defeat. New England's defense continued to allow big yards and big points in its own right, having now allowed more than 1,400 yards of total offense in three games and at least 21 points in each of the first three weeks.
Both Brady and the defense will be trying to get things turned around in Oakland, where the Raiders dispatched another AFC East foe, the Jets, last Sunday. For New England, though, this game is more about how they rebound from their first regular-season loss since losing in Cleveland last Nov. 7.
"This isn't just on Tom," Wes Welker said after catching 16 passes for 217 yards in Buffalo. "We have long ways to go. We have to step up across the board and understand we can't play like this."
"It's one loss. It's a long season," Brady said. "We'll go back to work and see if we can play better next week. It's a long football season. We're not going anywhere. We'll be back."
New England's first chance to get back on track comes against a hard-fighting Raiders team that save for a trip to Buffalo might be 3-0. Of course the same could be said about the Patriots.
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