Monday, November 12, 2012

Patriots Barely Get by Bills 37-31

It took a couple of late Bills turnovers deep in Patriot territory and a myriad of Buffalo penalties for the Patriots to fend off their division rival Buffalo Bills 37-31.

The Patriots were heavily favored and looked like it at the beginning of the game as they jumped out to a 17-3 lead with nine minutes to go in the second quarter on rushing touchdowns from Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead.  However, they failed to put the Bills away early giving up two touchdowns before halftime and went to the locker room leading just 24-17 despite the Bills committing over 100 yards in penalties in the first half alone.

The Patriots again went up by 14 halfway through the third quarter on a Tom Brady 18 yard touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead.  However, they again failed to put the game out of reach.

Up 34-24 with nine minutes to go, Devin McCourty ripped the ball from running back Fred Jackson's arms at the Patriot one yard line, setting up the offense with and opportunity to close out the game with a long drive.  However, as has seemed commonplace this season, the offense failed to produce late in the game and could not manage to gain even a single yard while taking virtually no time off the clock.

After punting from their own end zone, the Patriots gave Buffalo the ball in Patriot  territory with over eight minutes remaining.  Less than two minutes after Kyle Arrington recovered the Fred Jackson fumble stopping a Bills comeback in its tracks, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Donald Jones bringing the Bills to within three.

With seven minutes to go the Patriot offense again found themselves with an opportunity to close out a game in the fourth quarter.  However, after sustaining a fairly long drive they failed to score a touchdown despite having first and goal from the two yard line and had to settle for a field goal.

Fitzpatrick and the Bills offense, which had over 400 yards on the day, were left with 2:10 to score a touchdown and upset New England.  Other than a second Fred Jackson fumble, which would have effectively ended the game had the Patriots recovered, Fitzpatrick picked apart the Patriot defense throwing for 64 yards in just 1:36 to set up first and ten from the Patriot 15 with 33 seconds to go.  After throwing incomplete on first down, Fitzpatrick scanned the field and gunned the ball straight to Devin McCourty, who made the easy interception in the end zone and downed the ball ending a nail biter.

With the win the Patriots climb to 6-3 on the season and 3-0 in the division putting them in prime position to claim their fourth straight division title.

Dan Benton

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