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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 23 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 28 - 11:55 AM

Patriots, Bills Game Notes

The Patriots came away with a victory over the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium, 21-16 and moved to 4-3 on the season.  The following are notes from the game. 

With the Patriots trailing 16-14, Rosevelt Colvin caused a major momentum shift when he sacked Buffalo quarterback Kelly Holcomb for a 9-yard loss with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter. On the sack, he stripped the ball and recovered the fumble on the Bills' 23-yard line, setting up the Patriots' go-ahead score. Two plays after Colvin's strip sack, Dillon plunged into the end zone for a 1-yard score, which proved to be the deciding factor in the game. Colvin has now notched 2.5 sacks on the season and 35.5 in his career. It was his first forced fumble and fumble recovery this season.

The Patriots took a 7-3 lead in the third quarter on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Deion Branch. For Branch, the score was the 11th receiving touchdown of his career and his second receiving touchdown of the season. His other score came against Oakland in the season opener on Sept. 8. For Brady, the touchdown was his ninth of the season and the 106th of his career.

With his 33-yard scoring pass to Deion Branch in the third quarter, Tom Brady has now thrown five touchdown passes of 30 yards or longer this season. All five of the long scores been to different receivers. Brady hit Tim Dwight for a 30-yard touchdown against San Diego on Oct. 2, and then threw three long scores at Atlanta on Oct. 9, finding Bethel Johnson (55 yards), Daniel Graham (45) and Benjamin Watson (33).

Corey Dillon scored two 1-yard touchdown runs in 1 minute and 34 seconds of clock time in the fourth quarter, bringing his team-leading touchdown total to seven. His first touchdown came on a 1-yard run with 7:06 left in the game to pull the Patriots to within two points, 16-14. The score capped off a 6-play, 61-yard drive. Just 1:34 later, Dillon was in the end zone again on a 1-yard run, giving the Patriots a 21-16 lead with 5:32 remaining in the game. His second score ended a 2-play, 23-yard drive that came after Rosevelt Colvin strip-sacked Kelly Holcomb.

Asante Samuel intercepted a Kelly Holcomb pass intended for Eric Moulds midway through the third quarter, giving the Patriots possession at the Bills' 43-yard line. The interception was the fourth of Samuel's three-year career and his first pick of the season. The former 2003 fourth-round draft pick has returned two of his four career interceptions for touchdowns. On Buffalo's next series after his interception, Samuel made a key pass breakup on third down in Patriots territory to force Buffalo to settle for a field goal.

With tonight's fourth-quarter comeback, Tom Brady has now engineered 20 career game-winning performances to lead his team to a victory from a fourth-quarter deficit or tie. He has accomplished the feat three times in 2005: at Atlanta on Oct. 9, at Pittsburgh on Sept. 25 and in tonight's 21-16 comeback win over the Bills. The Patriots were trailing 16-7 with 10:13 remaining in the fourth quarter when Brady completed four of four passes for 69 yards to set up two 1-yard touchdown runs by Corey Dillon. The performances are the latest addition to a long list of late-game heroics for Brady, who has led three Super Bowl-winning drives and has also engineered late-game comebacks twice in the divisional playoffs.

Tedy Bruschi made his presence known early in the game. On the first series of the game, Bruschi penetrated into the Bills backfield to help thwart a reverse to Buffalo wide receiver Roscoe Parrish. Bruschi got the first hit on Parrish before Vince Wilfork and Mike Vrabel took him down for a 6-yard loss. Bruschi's first tackle of the year came on the Bills' third play from scrimmage, when he teamed with Willie McGinest to stop Willis McGahee for a 1-yard gain. Bruschi had three tackles (1 solo) on the Bills' first drive, an 11-play march that ended in a punt.

In his first game of the season, Tedy Bruschi served as a captain and participated in the coin toss. Tonight's captains are: Bruschi and Mike Vrabel (defense); Tom Brady (offense); Larry Izzo (Special Teams).

Gillette Stadium has been one of the toughest NFL stadiums for opposing kickers since it opened in 2002, especially on boots of 30 yards or more. Including a missed 46-yard field goal by Buffalo's Rian Lindell in the first quarter of tonight's game, opposing kickers are 20-for-38 (52.6 percent) from 30 yards or more in the history of Gillette Stadium. Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, on the other hand, is 31-for-41 (75.6 percent) from 30 yards or more at Gillette (even following his 44-yard miss tonight). Since the stadium opened in 2002, it has been the most difficult place for opposing kickers to be successful from more than 30 yards. Chicago's Soldier Field ranks second over that span, with opponents hitting 18-of-33 boots (54.5 percent) from 30 yards or more since 2002. (All stats are up-to-date following tonight's game).

* Mike Vrabel put a big hit on Bills tight end Tim Euhus in the end zone on second-and-goal in the second quarter, causing him to drop the ball and preventing a touchdown. Buffalo booted a 23-yard field goal two plays later.

  • Eugene Wilson dropped Eric Moulds with a big hit on third-and-9 in the second quarter, stopping him for a 5-yard gain and forcing a Buffalo punt.
  • Wide receiver Andre' Davis grabbed his first reception in a Patriots uniform, a 6-yard catch on the Patriots' final drive of the first half.
  • Asante Samuel dove in to break up a Kelly Holcomb pass intended for Josh Reed on third-and-three at the Patriots' 17-yard line in the fourth quarter. The play forced Buffalo to settle for a 35-yard field goal.

The Patriots opened their AFC East schedule tonight against Buffalo, marking the latest division opener in team history. The 2005 schedule waited until Week Eight to give the Patriots a divisional matchup, but beginning tonight, six of New England's final 10 games will be against AFC East opposition. Before this season, the latest the Patriots had played their first divisional game was in 1980, when they began AFC East play against the New York Jets in Week Five.

Tonight's game is the 120th consecutive home sellout for the Patriots, including regular-season, preseason and playoff games. The sellout streak dates back to the 1994 season opener and is now in its 12th season. The streak began on Sept. 11, 1994 - Robert Kraft's first regular-season game as owner of the Patriots. Additionally, today's game is the 250th straight Patriots game to be televised locally. New England fans have not been faced with a blacked-out game since Dec. 26, 1993 against Indianapolis at Foxboro Stadium.

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