FOXBORO, MA -- Sometimes
winning isn't everything, but it certainly helped make up for a poor performance
by the Patriots on Sunday.
It certainly wasn't pretty.
New England allowed 7 sacks to quarterback
Tom Brady along with 2 fumbles and an interception, but they still somehow
managed to beat the Buffalo Bills 21-11 on Sunday in Foxboro. The
Patriots did little on offense with respect to their passing game, with
Brady finishing 15-of-21 for 107 yards and a touchdown. However runningback
Antowain Smith came up with yet another 100-yard rushing performance and
two touchdowns including a 42-yard scamper with just under two-minutes
left in the game to seal the victory for the Patriots.
Meanwhile New England's defense managed
5 sacks of their own, including one by Terrell Buckley that came in the
fourth quarter that knocked Bills starting quarterback Rob Johnson out
of the football game. Rookie defensive lineman Richard Seymour finished
the game with 7 tackles, including 5-solo and 2 assists and did a good
job once again stopping the run and helping to hold Buffalo runningback
Travis Henry to 51-yards rushing.
The Patriots continued to blitz much
like they did last weekend against Atlanta, with Willie McGinest, Roman
Phifer, Ty Law, Bobby Hamilton, Tedy Bruschi, and Terrell Buckley each
getting their hands on Johnson Sunday. New England also held the
Bills to 204-yards passing, and kept them out of the endzone until just
under 3-minutes remaining in the game.
New England scored first following
a 17-yard reverse by Troy Brown that helped set up a leaping 6-yard touchdown
catch by runningback Kevin Faulk. But on their next possession Brady
was intercepted by Antoine Winfield while trying to connect with Terrell
Buckley at the Buffalo 22-yard line, and Johnson connected with Jay Riemersma
for 36-yards to help set up a Jake Arians field goal. The field goal
cut the lead to 7-3 with 11:42 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
The Patriots next touchdown came
in the 3rd quarter after Bills punter Brian Moorman only kicked a 20-yard
punt, New England took over with 1st-and-10 at the Buffalo 40-yard line.
But the Bills gave New England 25-yards on a pass interference penalty
on Winfield and two plays later Antowain Smith took the ball in from one
yard out and the Patriots lead 14-3 with 7:32 left in the quarter.
The Bills appeared to get their first
touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 19 yard strike from Johnson to Peerless
Price, but a holding penalty on Riemersma nullified the touchdown. Two
plays later Buckley sacked Johnson and knocked him out of the game with
a shoulder injury.
The Bills caught a break after Brady
dropped back on a 3rd-and-5 play and was sacked by defensive end Kendrick
Office that caused him to fumble the football. Linebacker Jay Foreman
recovered giving Buffalo 1st-and-10 at the New England 17. Two plays
later back-up quarterback Alex Van Pelt found Price in the endzone and
the Bills later converted the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 14-11
with 2:48 left in the game.
Buffalo then nearly recovered an
onside kick but Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel recovered the football,
and two plays later runningback Antowain Smith broke through the Bills
defense and took off on a 42-yard touchdown run to seal the victory for
The Patriots will now prepare for
a Sunday night battle with the St. Louis Rams at Foxboro Stadium.