Foxboro, MA (WBEN) The Buffalo Bills last won in Foxboro 12 years ago and they will have to keep waiting after falling to the New England Patriots 37-31 Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The Bills were able to keep things close but in the end miscues and an avalanche of penalties led to their demise.
The Bills’ penalty woes were evident on their first drive as a third and one evolved into a third and 21 after a pair of off-sides calls and a holding infraction. That’s how it would go for the team that amassed 14 penalties for a total of a near franchise record 148 yards.
News England got their scoring in gear with a Steven Ridley touchdown rush from one yard out after a pair of pass interference calls against the Bills. The teams exchanged field goals but Patriots’ running back Danny Woodhead got free for a 15 yard scoring run to make it 17-3 New England.
Fred Jackson’s (16 attempts/80 yards/2TD) first touchdown of the game pulled Buffalo to within seven but Western New York native, Rob Gronkowski got another in a long line of touchdowns against the Bills to make it a two touchdown game. The Bills were able to pull within seven just before the half as Ryan Fitzpatrick (27/40/337) found tight end Scott Chandler on a three yard scoring play to make it 24-17.
The teams battled back and forth in what turned into an entertaining second half with exciting runs by C.J. Spiller (131 total yards) and Jackson but those were also matched by Woodhead’s second score of the game. Clutch plays by Tom Brady (23/38/237/2TD) and the New England offense gave Buffalo’s defense problems and were unable to get off the field after Donald Jones’ (6/74/1TD) fourth quarter touchdown that pulled Buffalo within three. After that score, the Patriots were able to put together a 14-play, 59-yard drive that ended with a Stephan Gostkowski field goal putting the Pats up 37-31 with 2:06 to go.
The Bills’ offense then took the field with a chance to win but Fitzpatrick threw incomplete on first down, scrambled for one yard on second and completed a 21 yard strike to Stevie Johnson on third and seven. Jones caught a 14 yard pass but dropped the following one on the next play and was injured, burning a Buffalo timeout. Fred Jackson then took a short pass for seven yards and fumbled again but the Bills were able to recover. Jackson was also injured on the play and Buffalo was forced to use their final timeout with under 1:00 to go in the game. Fitzpatrick made completions to Chandler and Spiller to give them a first down at the Pats’ 15 but two plays later was intercepted in the end zone to dash the hopes of a win.
Buffalo (3-6) will host the Miami Dolphins for a prime time game on Thursday night.