Final

Bills 31

(3-6, 2-4 away)

Patriots 37

(6-3, 3-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, November 11, 2012

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA 

1 2 3 4 T
BUF 0 17 7 731
NE 10 14 7 637

Top Performers

Passing: R. Fitzpatrick (BUF) - 337 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: S. Ridley (NE) - 22 CAR, 98 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: S. Johnson (BUF) - 6 REC, 86 YDS

Devin McCourty's INT keeps Pats unbeaten vs. Bills at Gillette

Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Ryan Fitzpatrick threw into the end zone to the open man. Unfortunately for the Bills, that man was Patriots safety Devin McCourty.

That easy interception with 23 seconds left decided the game the way every other Buffalo game at Gillette Stadium has ended -- with a New England victory.

On a day of dreadful defense by both teams, the Patriots held on for a 37-31 win against the surprisingly tough Bills on Sunday despite allowing 35 first downs, Buffalo's most ever and the most ever allowed by New England.

"No matter what happens in the game, there's nothing bigger than turnovers," McCourty said. "When the game gets toward the end, those big plays change the game."

The Patriots (6-3) let a 17-3 lead slip to 34-31 with 7:47 left on Fitzpatrick's 2-yard pass to Donald Jones. Then the Bills (3-6) held the Patriots to a 27-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.

Avoiding the penalties, 14 of them, that had stymied them all game, the Bills moved to the Patriots 15-yard line before Fitzpatrick threw the ball right into the hands of McCourty while trying to hit T.J. Graham. Tom Brady then knelt down for the final play.

"The only thing you can ask for as a quarterback is a chance at the end to win the game and we had that," Fitzpatrick said, "but we weren't able to get it done."

New England is 11-0 against the Bills at Gillette since it opened in 2002 and 23-2 overall in its last 25 games against Buffalo.

The Patriots were coming off a bye that followed their best game of the season, a 45-7 win over the St. Louis Rams in London. The Bills have lost five of six and need a sharp turnaround to avoid their 13th straight nonplayoff season.

"Still a chance," coach Chan Gailey said. "I think we'll get there. I know I'm in the minority, but thank goodness I've got a group of guys in that room in there that, I think, think the same thing."

Fitzpatrick completed 27-of-40 passes for 337 yards, the second time this season he's thrown for at least 300. The other came when he had 350 in a 52-28 loss to the Patriots. He also threw two touchdowns Sunday, but his only interception ruined the Bills' upset chances.

Brady was 23 for 38 for 237.

His last incompletion, a ball thrown into the ground about 5 yards in front of the intended receiver, set the stage for Buffalo's final drive. Brady watched McCourty's interception from the sideline.

"I had an opportunity to do something about it 50 seconds before that," he said. "The defense really saved the day."

The game was closer than expected considering the Patriots led the NFL in points and yards gained and the Bills were next to last in points and yards allowed.

The Patriots extended their streak to 11 straight scoring possessions against the Bills with a field goal and three touchdowns on their first four series Sunday. In the previous meeting, New England scored on its last seven series: six touchdowns followed by a field goal.

But not even that could give the Patriots a secure lead, and they entered the fourth quarter ahead 31-24.

"They didn't really hit us with a lot of big plays," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "They've got an explosive group of skilled players and they got them all involved."

The Patriots led 24-17 at halftime, scoring on a 43-yard field goal by Gostkowski, touchdown runs of 1 yard by Stevan Ridley and 15 yards by Danny Woodhead, and a 2-yard pass from Brady to Rob Gronkowski, his fifth touchdown catch in three games.

The Bills scored on a 42-yard field goal by Rian Lindell, a 14-yard run by Fred Jackson and a 3-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Scott Chandler with 31 seconds left in the half.

Woodhead scored again, his first multi-touchdown game of his career, on an 18-yard pass from Brady. But the Bills cut the lead to 31-24 on the next possession on a 1-yard run by Jackson and Lindell's extra point.

Gostkowski's 48-yard field goal gave the Patriots a 34-24 lead 50 seconds into the fourth quarter.

On their final drive, the Bills were forced to take an injury timeout when Jackson was hit in the head area by linebacker Brandon Spikes. Earlier, Spikes was called for roughing the passer when Fitzpatrick's helmet fell off, and Fitzpatrick yelled at him.

"We're not going to back down from anybody," Fitzpatrick said. "I think he's a punk at times and took a cheap shot at Scott (Chandler) in the first game and he was doing a lot of jabbering and talking and hitting out there. Not one of my favorite players. Not high on my list."

Playing in Foxborough can't be very high, either, although the Bills were one errant pass away from a chance to win.

"The first thing that I learned when I got to the NFL is it's hard to win each week," McCourty said. "We never take that for granted."

Not even a win over a struggling team that had lost every game it played at Gillette.

"We go into every game expecting to win, but that one, I just felt like it would have been right," Buffalo wide receiver Stevie Johnson said, "but this ain't no Disney movie. This is real life and we've got to make these plays at the end of the game and win."

Game notes


Running back Kevin Faulk, who recently announced his retirement after not playing this season, was honored by the Patriots at a halftime ceremony. ... Wes Welker had six receptions, extending his streak to 103 games with at least one. ... Fitzpatrick became the fifth quarterback in Bills history with at least 10,000 yards passing.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BUF
NE
1st Downs3527
Passing 1st downs
2014
Rushing 1st downs
118
1st downs from penalties
45
3rd down efficiency
7-117-12
4th down efficiency
1-10-0
Total Plays7168
Total Yards481347
Yards per play6.85.1
Total Drives1011
Passing319230
Comp-Att
27-4023-38
Yards per pass
7.45.9
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-181-7
Rushing162117
Rushing Attempts
2829
Yards per rush
5.84.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Penalties14-1487-73
Turnovers30
Fumbles lost
20
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession33:5026:10

Passing Leaders

BUFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Fitzpatrick27/403378.4213-18
NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady23/382376.2201-7

Rushing Leaders

BUFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson16805.0214
Spiller9707.8014
NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Ridley22984.5124
Woodhead11515.0115

Receiving Leaders

BUFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson68614.3021
Jones67412.3122
NERECYDSAVGTDLG
Welker67412.3023
Woodhead44611.5118

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBUFNE
neFG6:09Stephen Gostkowski 43 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 13 plays, 48 yds, 4:27
03
neTD3:58Stevan Ridley 1 Yard Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 13 yds, 1:30
010
SECOND QUARTERBUFNE
bufFG12:11Rian Lindell 41 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 57 yds, 6:47
310
neTD9:13Danny Woodhead 15 Yard Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 83 yds, 2:58
317
bufTD6:09Fred Jackson 14 Yard Run (Rian Lindell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 3:06
1017
neTD3:58Rob Gronkowski 2 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 82 yds, 2:09
1024
bufTD0:36Scott Chandler 3 Yard Pass From Ryan Fitzpatrick (Rian Lindell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yds, 3:23
1724
THIRD QUARTERBUFNE
neTD7:14Danny Woodhead 18 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 39 yds, 1:38
1731
bufTD1:40Fred Jackson 1 Yard Run (Rian Lindell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 84 yds, 5:29
2431
FOURTH QUARTERBUFNE
neFG14:15Stephen Gostkowski 48 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 50 yds, 2:27
2434
bufTD7:51Donald Jones 2 Yard Pass From Ryan Fitzpatrick (Rian Lindell Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 45 yds, 1:29
3134
neFG2:10Stephen Gostkowski 27 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 14 plays, 59 yds, 5:41
3137

Research Notes

Tom Brady completed 1-of-6 passes (16.7 completion percentage) for 24 yards on throws deeper than 15 yards downfield Sunday against the Bills, his lowest completion percentage on those throws since Week 6 of last season.
The Bills were flagged for defensive pass interference four times during Sunday's game, including three times in the end zone. The Patriots scored two touchdowns following defensive pass interference penalties in the end zone Sunday. Buffalo entered the game tied for the fewest pass interference penalties in the league, one in their first eight games.
From Elias: Tom Brady is 20-2 in 22 starts against the Bills. That's tied for the fewest starts a QB has needed to get to 20 wins against a team (22 starts). Len Dawson won 20 of his first 22 starts against the Broncos.
Tom Brady and Drew Brees both extended their TD streaks on Sunday. Brees is at 52 (longest) and Brady is at 41 (3rd longest).
Ryan Fitzpatrick is the fifth quarterback in Bills history to throw for 10,000 yards. Jim Kelly, Joe Ferguson, Jack Kemp and Drew Bledsoe are the others.

ESPN Stats & Information