]()New England's defense dominated from start to finish, holding the Bills primary threat, Willis McGahee, to an amazing 3 yards on 8 carries. J.P. Losman fared no better through the air playing catch-up. The Bills signal-caller finished with 181 yards on 10 of 27 passing with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. Two of Losman's completions went for 58 and 51 yards; take those away and one gets the idea of how tough a day it was for him.
The Patriots offense played one of it best all-around games of the season. Corey Dillon had 102 yards on 22 carries while Tom Brady finished with 329 yards passing and two touchdowns.
The Bills were in prime position to take the early lead when Losman connected with Lee Evans down the sideline for 58 yards. Evans beat both Asante Samuel and Mike Stone on first down during the Bills second series of the game. The reception gave the Bills first and 10 from the Patriots 10 but from there they only went backwards.
Two false start penalties and a Richard Seymour tackle of McGahee two yards in the backfield brought up a third and 22 from the 22. Losman, under pressure, threw to the left corner of the end zone where only Samuel had made camp. He came up with the interception and the Patriots avoided any damage.
That's when Brady began to heat up. Starting at his own 20, he went to work with Benjamin Watson, hitting him for 11 and 14 yards. On second and 10, Branch found a seam between the Bills defender and Brady rifled a 22-yard pass to him. Then it was Troy Brown on the left sideline for 16. A 17-yard catch by Watson brought up first and goal from the three. Brady dropped back, had plenty of time but nowhere to throw. He tucked the ball away and headed up the middle, diving into the end zone for the score.
New England was moving again as the first quarter ended. On third and 6 from his own 31, Brady again kept after avoiding pressure from his left and gained 9 yards. On the next play, Dillon busted a run up the middle for 21 yards with the Bills defense looking on their heels. Down at the Bills 33, with 3 yards to go on third down, Brady faked a handoff to Dwight and then gave to Deion Branch on the reverse. Branch easily picked up the first down but on the play Brady was flagged for a crack back block, a 15-yard penalty. The replay showed no such infraction and Brady was livid but to no avail. New England ended up punting after Faulk ran up the middle for only a yard.
]()Buffalo's offense was simply not up to taking advantage, going three and out with Losman looking completely flustered and being hit often to boot. Troy Brown took the punt to the Bills 49 and New England began to drive again.
Brady chipped his way downfield with passes to Brown and Dillon runs to the Bills 23. By this time, the Patriots offensive line was hanging on by a thread. Nick Kaczur did not play due to injury and on the previous series, Logan Mankins was hurt (he returned later in the second quarter). That brought in Gene Mruczkowski at left guard with Tom Ashworth manning Kaczur's left tackle spot. So on third and 10, Brady was feeling heat and just managed to get a pass out to Branch who caught it on his knees just over the first down marker to keep things alive. On the next play, Dillon found room around the right end and ran it in for a 12-yard touchdown.
Things got worse for the Bills on their next series. On a play where Losman was again pasted (Rosevelt Colvin was flagged for roughing -- another bad call), McGahee had to be helped off the field after throwing a block on Seymour and taking a blow to the head. He returned in the second half.
New England certainly looked like it would add to its lead as the first half came to a close. Brady was in the midst of orchestrating one of his typical two-minute drives and first and 10 on the Bills 14. With time enough for two shots at the end zone, Brady looked to Givens but Nate Clements saw it coming and stepped in front for the interception.
The half ended with New England up, 14-0.
Brady's trend of road picks continued in the second half. After stopping the Bills on three plays on the half's opening series, New England wasted no time getting to the Buffalo 20. From there, Brady had Mike Cloud wide open in the middle of the field but the pass bounced off his arms and up in the air to London Fletcher waiting behind the play.
Energized, Buffalo decided to go for the throat by sending Roscoe Parrish down the left sideline with Ellis Hobbs in coverage. Losman heaved it but Hobbs was up to the task and perfectly timed his play on the ball, coming up with the interception at the Buffalo 24.
The snow, which had hadn't been much of a factor during the game, really started to intensify at this point. Still, the way Brady continued to hit his receivers, it could have been September in Foxboro. He made a beautiful pass to Faulk who made an equally beautiful over the shoulder catch for 15 yards to the Patriots 43. David Givens was wide open on the next play and Brady hit him for a 40-yard pick-up to the Bills 18. Two plays later, Brady threw a quick pass to Brown who stiff-armed Eric King to the ground en route to the end zone and a 21-0 Patriots lead.
Nothing was going the Bills way in this one. Even after Hank Poteat was flagged for pass interference for a 23-yard penalty and Losman connected with Evans for 17 to the Patriots 13, the Bills came up empty. Rian Lindell missed his 32-yard field goal attempt after Losman could get his team no closer.
New England proceeded to go 78 yards in a 14-play crowd-clearing drive that piled on seven more points to its lead. On the drive, the Bills Aaron Schobel was flagged for a blow to Brady's helmet after Brady connected with Givens for 13 yards. Also on the drive, Dillon went over 100 yards rushing. The scoring play was a Christian Fauria trademark touchdown catch in the back of the end zone from 2 yards out.
With 7:02 left in the game, Doug Flutie replaced Brady who finished the game 29 of 38 passing for 329 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Adding insult to the Bills injuries, James Sanders caught a ball batted into the air by Tedy Bruschi and returned it for the game's final score. Roscoe Parrish had just returned a Josh Miller punt over midfield and the Bills were trying to salvage some sort of dignity. On first down, the Patriots called for an all-out blitz and Bruschi shot up the middle for the tip. Sanders was the recipient going all the way for the score.
Losman did manage to finally put some points on the board, connecting with Josh Reed who slipped and slid his way for a 51-yard touchdown catch and run.
With the win, New England improves to 8-5. A Miami loss to San Diego later in the day would clinch the AFC East.
Patriots inactives: Artrell Hawkins; Patrick Pass; Heath Evans; Matt Light; Nick Kaczur; Daniel Graham; Marquise Hill; Matt Cassel (3rd QB).
Bill inactives: George Wilson; Lionel Gates; Liam Ezekiel; Mike Williams; Justin Geisinger; Eric Moulds; Jason Jefferson; Shane Matthews (3rd QB).