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Patriots at Bills: Game notes

ROAD WARRIORS

The Patriots won their fifth straight regular-season road game and triumphed away from Gillette Stadium for the sixth time in their last seven road contests. Since their last road loss (11/27/05 at Kansas City), the Patriots have outscored their opponents 156-64 in their five straight road wins, averaging 31.2 points per game while allowing just 12.8 points per game. The Patriots are now 14-4 against divisional opponents on the road since 2001.

HEATING UP

Tom Brady posted a season-best 112.4 passer rating, completing 18-of-27 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Brady posted an increase in his passer rating for fifth straight game. After posting a rating of 82.3 in the season opener against the Bills on Sept. 10, Brady's passer rating has climbed steadily each week - 73.9 on Sept. 17 against the Jets; 79.4 on Sept. 24 against the Broncos; 89.9 on Oct. 1 against the Bengals; 91.2 on Oct. 8 against Miami; and 112.4 against the Bills on Oct. 22. Brady's rating against Buffalo was his highest since posting a 122.8 rating against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Dec. 17, 2005.

Tom Brady improved his career record as a starter to...

  • 18-1 on artificial turf
  • 11-1 against the Buffalo Bills
  • 5-1 at Ralph Wilson Stadium
  • 29-6 against AFC East teams
  • 73-22 in regular season and playoff games

DILLON IN THE ZONE

Corey Dillon scored two touchdowns in the first quarter to spark the Patriots to a 14-3 lead. He scored on an 8-yard touchdown run to end the Patriots' first possession of the game and scored on a 12-yard run to cap off their second possession of the afternoon. The touchdowns give Dillon 73 career rushing touchdowns and 28 rushing touchdowns since joining the Patriots prior to the 2004 season. His 28 rushing scores rank sixth on the Patriots all-time list and his 73 career rushing scores tie him with Terry Allen for 22nd on the NFL's all-time list. Including two receiving touchdowns, Dillon has scored 30 total touchdowns in 33 regular-season games with the Patriots.

SAMUEL INTERCEPTION

Asante Samuel recorded his third interception of the season and his third in the last two games when he picked off a J.P. Losman pass in the second quarter. Samuel's three picks this season lead the team and tie his career high (also achieved in 2005). His pick against the Bills gives him nine career regular-season interceptions, tying him with teammate Eugene Wilson and Phil Philpott for 28th on the team's all-time list. Including his two playoff interceptions, Samuel has 11 career picks, including three returned for touchdowns.

RETURN MAN

Laurence Maroney returned a kickoff 74 yards following Buffalo's first-quarter field goal. The return was the longest kickoff return for the Patriots since Dec. 4, 2004, when Bethel Johnson returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown in a 42-15 road victory over the Cleveland Browns. Maroney's return set up a four-play touchdown drive that ended in a 12-yard scoring run by Corey Dillon and a 14-3 Patriots lead. Maroney's kickoff return was the latest achievement in a resurgent Patriots return game that two games ago in Cincinnati produced the team's longest punt return since 2001 (a 43-yard return by Kevin Faulk).

TENTH MONTH TURNOVERS

The Patriots picked up three Buffalo turnovers, giving them eight in three games this month, having forced two turnovers against Cincinnati on Oct. 1 and forcing three turnovers against Miami on Oct. 8. Although New England did not score following any of its turnovers against the Bills, it has totaled 31 points off of its eight October turnovers. New England has turned the ball over just twice in October, giving it a solid plus-6 turnover differential for the month.

HARRISON SACK

Rodney Harrison - the NFL's all-time leader in sacks by a defensive back - combined with Rosevelt Colvin to sack J.P. Losman for a 5-yard sack in the third quarter. The sack raised Harrison's NFL-leading career total to 28.0 career sacks. Former Steelers, Jaguars and Ravens safety Carnell Lake ranks second with 25.0 career sacks. Additionally, Harrison is the only player in NFL history to record at least 25.0 sacks and at least 30 interceptions (he has recorded 31 career interceptions). The NFL began counting sacks as an official statistic in 1982.

CAREER HIGH FOR CALDWELL

Reche Caldwell tied his career high with five receptions against the Bills. Caldwell also recorded five catches while playing for the San Diego Chargers against the New York Jets on Nov. 6, 2005.

JACKSON SCORES

Rookie wide receiver Chad Jackson hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to give the Patriots a 21-3 lead in the third quarter. The catch was Jackson's second career touchdown, with his other score coming on a 13-yard scoring grab against the New York Jets on Sept. 17. The scoring catch against Buffalo came on Jackson's fifth reception of the season.

GABRIEL SCORES

Wide receiver Doug Gabriel grabbed his team-high third touchdown pass of the season, a 5-yard grab in the fourth quarter that gave the Patriots a 28-6 lead. Gabriel's three total touchdowns are tied with Laurence Maroney (whose three scores have come via the rush) for second on the team behind Corey Dillon's four rushing touchdowns. Gabriel's three touchdowns tie his career high, also achieved in 2005 while with the Oakland Raiders.

STARTING STRONG

The Patriots scored a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time this season and for the first time since Dec. 26, 2005, when they achieved the feat to begin a 31-21 road victory over the New York Jets. Prior to today, the Patriots had recorded three punts, a field goal and a fumble on their five opening possessions this season.

STRIP SACK

Mike Vrabel sacked J.P. Losman and forced him to fumble with 10:07 left in the first half, and Vince Wilfork pulled in the loose ball to give the Patriots possession on their own 48-yard line. For Vrabel, the play marked his ninth career forced fumble and gave him 1.5 sacks for the season and 35.5 sacks for his career. For Wilfork, the fumble recovery was the fourth loose ball pickup of his career.

QUICK HITS

  • New England scored 14 points in the first quarter against Buffalo. In their first five games combined, they had totaled 17 first-quarter points.
  • Josh Miller recorded his longest punt of the season when he booted a 62-yard bomb late in the second quarter. Miller's previous season long punt was a 61 yard boot at the New York Jets on Sept. 17.
  • Junior Seau dropped Willis McGahee for a 1-yard loss in the first quarter.
  • Chad Scott reached in to bat away a J.P. Losman pass intended for Lee Evans in the third quarter.
  • Asante Samuel reached in to break up a pass in the end zone intended for Lee Evans in the fourth quarter.
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