Though the two franchises may not seem to have a lot in
common, the Patriots and Raiders have at least one thing they both
share heading into Sunday afternoon's meeting in Oakland.
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
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
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
"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
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