PHOTO: New England Patriots wide receiver David Givens (87) reaches but can't make the reception as Buffalo Bills' Terrence McGee (24) defends in the second half in Foxboro, Mass., Sunday, Nov. 14, 2004. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Patriots Roll Over Buffalo, Troy Brown Picks off Bledsoe
by Chris Timoney, Patriots Insider
For the seventeenth game in a row the New England Patriots put the first points of the game on the board and never looked back. Adam Vinatieri’s first quarter 27 yard field goal was the beginning of a dominant night for the Patriots as they beat division rival Buffalo 29-6 in Foxboro.
The game was so lopsided that New England wide receiver Troy Brown had an interception. The Patriots were so dominant that they put up over 400 yards of offense on the third ranked defense in the league. “We got a pretty solid effort all-around”, said coach Bill Belichick of the win, “they deserve to win.”
The Patriots marched 81 yards in almost 6 minutes on the early go ahead drive. The scoring drive was dominated by the backfield, highlighted by a 30 yard Corey Dillon run down the sideline. Dillon and third down back Kevin Faulk accounted for 60 yards on 8 plays of the drive.
Later in the quarter an exchange of punts left the Bills with possession on their own 42 yard line. Running back Willis McGahee began the Bills drive with a nice 11 yard run. On 1st and ten from the New England 47 quarterback Drew Bledsoe dropped back and launched deep down field to wide receiver Eric Moulds. Patriots cornerback Eugene Wilson covered on the play and picked off Drew Bledsoe’s throw and gave New England possession on their own 3.
New England responded to the turnover with another long scoring drive resulting in yet another Vinatieri field goal. Early in the drive QB Tom Brady did what counterpart Drew Bledsoe could not...connect deep down field. On 3rd and 10 from the New England 27 Brady completed deep down field to Bethel Johnson for 47 yards down to the Buffalo 26. The catch was the only one of the day for Johnson who was one of ten different players to catch at least one of Brady’s offerings. A 19 yard run by Dillon moved the ball down to the 7 yard line. Dillon was able to edge the ball down to the 2 yard line on a few follow up runs. On third and goal from the 2 the snap to Brady was botched and the play died quickly setting up the 24 yard Vinatieri field goal. The kick gave New England a 6-0 lead with over ten minutes to go in the half.
Drew Bledsoe(8-19 for 76 yards) and Eric Moulds’ struggle to get on the same page of the playbook allowed the Patriots to quickly get the ball back as Buffalo went 3-and-out after Vinatieri’s kick. Taking possession on their own 25, Brady & Co. meticulously marched down the field. Amply combining runs by Dillon and clutch receptions by David Givens the Patriots were again on the attack. Givens(5 catches for 66 yds), who has quickly turned into a favorite receiver on third down, caught a big 3rd and 7 ball for 19 yards moving the Patriots into Buffalo territory. Brady again completed to Givens of 2nd and 9 for 20 yards moving the ball to the 15 yard line. On 3rd and 8 from the 13 Brady displayed his often mentioned Montana-esque similarities. Taking advantage of great protection from the front 5, Brady was able to check off multiple receivers to his right which allowed David Patten to lose his defender in the endzone. After checking down, Brady threw a laser to Patten in the back of the endzone. Patten’s almost patented leaping catch gave the Patriots six points and marked the 15th straight game in which Brady has thrown for a touchdown. The extra point by Vinatieri completed the 5 and-a-half minute drive and put New England up 13-0 with just under 4 minutes to go in the half.
Drew Bledsoe’s second interception of the day came 5 plays later and set New England up for a quick score. On 1st and 10 near midfield Willis McGahee was stuffed at the line for a 1 yard loss by Ty Warren, setting up a second and long situation for the Bills. Drew Bledsoe dropped back to pass and throwing off his back foot threw right to linebacker Ted Bruschi just over midfield. Bruschi scrambled for 29 yards after the interception and the Pats took possession on the Buffalo 27 with just over two minutes to go in the half.
A fifteen yard completion to David Patten(3 catches for 43 yards, 1TD) moved the ball down to the 12 yard line. With Corey Dillon on the sideline nursing a leg bruise, Kevin Faulk and Patrick Pass worked out of the backfield to combine for 7 more yards. On 3rd and 3 from the 5 Brady found tight end Christian Fauria over the middle in the endzone for the score and Fauria’s first touchdown of the season.
In keeping consistent with the way the first half went for Buffalo, Bledsoe was sacked by Tully Banta-Cain to end the half with New England up 20-0.
The first half was all that anyone needed to know how this game was going to end up. New England had more than 3 times as many yards(273-77) than Buffalo at the break while Bledsoe was only 4 of 10 for 34 yards and 2 INT’s. The Patriots had 14 first downs in the first half alone while the Bill’s went 0 for 3 on third down.
The second half was more of the same for both teams. New England started the half with possession and didn’t waste the opportunity to keep the Bills down and down deep. With Dillon starting the drive on the bench, Kevin Faulk picked up the slack at running back rushing for a quick 15 yards in aiding the Patriots movement towards midfield. A completion to tight end Daniel Graham moved the ball over midfield giving the Patriots a fresh set of downs. Dillon checked back into the ball game for the remainder of the drive and along with receptions by Troy Brown and David Patten he helped move the ball down to the Buffalo two yard line. New England was again unable to get into the endzone and settled for Vinatieri’s third field goal of the day, a 20 yarder that put the Patriots up 23-0.
Still unable to move the ball on offense, Buffalo did manage to put some points on the board via special teams. With two and-a-half minutes to go in the third quarter Jonathan Smith returned Josh Miller’s punt 70 yards for Buffalo’s only score of the game. Bills coach Mike Mularkey elected to go for the two points and caught a break on the first attempt. Rodney Harrison was called for roughing the passer on a marginally low hit on Drew Bledsoe’s incomplete pass to Mark Campbell. On the follow up attempt Willis McGahee was stuffed at the line and the Bills were left with just 6 points on the board.
On the ensuing drive the Patriots were helped out, as if they needed any help, by a defensive pass interference call which placed them into Buffalo territory. Runs by Dillon and Faulk moved the Patriots into Vinatieri distance. The clutch kicker made good on his end by converting the 45 yard attempt and put New England in command 26-6 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
On the second play of the ensuing Bills drive Troy Brown intercepted old battery mate Drew Bledsoe for the new defensive back’s first career interception. The pass was a poorly thrown ball intended for Eric Moulds.
Three plays later the Bills got the ball back off a Tom Brady interception, but much like the rest of the game Buffalo was unable to make anything happen.
Vinatieri later kicked his career tying fifth field goal of the game with 4:45 left in the game. The 37 yarder put the Patriots up 29-6 and that how things ended.
From the get-go on defense, on offense and on special teams the Patriots put forth a complete game. “Any time you have guys on offense intercepting balls”, said wide receiver Bethel Johnson, “it doesn’t get any more complete than that.” Well said.
The victory moves the Patriots to 8-1, tied with the Steelers for best record in the AFC. New England plays in prime-time again next week in Kansas City to play the Chiefs on Monday Night Football.
Adam Vinatieri’s extra point on the Patriots first touchdown was his 1,000 career point making him only the 2nd player in Patriots history with 1,000 points. Gino Cappelletti finished his career with 1130. Corey Dillon(26 rushes for 151 yards) was the first player this season to rush for over 100 yards against the Bills. New England has won the last 9 of ten games versus the Bills. Rookie QB J.P. Losman saw his first NFL action for the Bills late in the fourth quarter. Losman fumbled and threw an interception. Red Sox Curt Schilling and Johnny Damon were on hand before the game to show the Foxboro crowd their World Series Championship trophy.
Chris Timoney provides is a site contributor for the Patriots Insider. You can find him in the forums under the name: jakbrown. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by using the search feature on this site.
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