|Television:||This week's game will be broadcast regionally on CBS (locally on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). Verne Lundquist will provide play-by-play detail alongside broadcast partner Dan Dierdorf. Bonnie Bernstein will report from the sidelines.|
|Radio:||WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, the voice of the Patriots, will call all the action along with Gino Cappelletti, his broadcast partner for 16 years.|
|Patriots Monday:||Patriots Monday, from 4pm-7pm every Monday (WNRB-AM 1510 or through Patriots.com) with hosts Butch Stearns and Jim Donaldson. Guests include Drew Bledsoe, Pete Carroll, Ty Law, Henry Thomas and others.|
The New England Patriots (6-4) travel to Buffalo to battle the Bills (7-4) this weekend. It will be the third consecutive game against a division opponent and their second consecutive road game. The Bills are 4-1 at home. The Patriots are 3-2 on the road.
The Patriots have enjoyed success against the Bills in recent years, having won seven of their last nine meetings, including three of their last five matchups in Buffalo.
The Patriots enter Week 11 trailing the Dolphins and the Colts by two games and are half a game behind the Bills. A victory this week would catapult the Pats past the Bills and into third place in the division with five games to play. A victory would also snap the team's current two-game losing streak. The Patriots have not lost three straight since losing three in a row after a 5-1 start in 1997. That year, the Patriots responded to win five of their last seven games to win the division.
For the second consecutive week, turnovers played an integral part in a disappointing divisional loss. Two weeks ago, three interceptions resulted in 10 Jets points in a 24-17 loss. Last week, five interceptions resulted in 13 points for the Dolphins in a 27-17 loss. Those losses dropped the Patriots to 2-3 in the division, with three divisional games remaining.
"You can't win if you have five turnovers," said head coach Pete Carroll following the game. "That gets proven every weekend, and that's obviously what happened. The five turnovers really offset any chance of us taking charge of this game. It was pretty obvious."
Just this year, the Patriots are 3-0 in games in which they have not surrendered any turnovers and are 15-3 since 1997 with a positive turnover ratio. Just one turnover can have a tremendous impact on a team. Consider that during Drew Bledsoe's seven-year career, he has made 99 career starts and in 36 of those games he has not thrown an interception. The Patriots are 30-6 (.833) in those games. Yet, just one interception (32 games) has resulted in a 15-17 (.469) record, while two or more interceptions has resulted in just 11 wins and 20 losses (.355).
The Patriots have enjoyed more than just turkey for Thanksgiving in recent years, having won each of their Thanksgiving Weekend games over the last five years. That is the second-longest streak in franchise history. The team won six straight in the early AFL days from 1961-66. In the history of the franchise, the Patriots have a 21-18 overall record during the Thanksgiving holiday.
While the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions have established a Thanksgiving tradition over the years, the Patriots and Bills have one of their own. This year will be the third time in the past five years they have met on Thanksgiving weekend and the second in as many years. The Patriots record in the five previous meetings is 4-1.
This week's game will be the 76th encounter between the two AFC East rivals, dating back to the inception of the AFL in 1960. Recently, New England has held the upper hand in the series, winning seven of the past nine games, including season sweeps in 1995 and 1997. In fact, the Patriots have swept the seasonal series 12 times, while Buffalo has done so 11 times. The two teams traded games last year, each team winning in their home stadium.
The New England Patriots, led by quarterback Drew Bledsoe, defeated the Buffalo Bills 25-21 in dramatic fashion. It was the second consecutive week, Bledsoe led his team to victory on the last series of the game. He became the first player since 1960 to throw winning TDs in the final 30 seconds in two straight games. The week before, he defeated the Miami Dolphins on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Shawn Jefferson with 0:29 remaining. In this game, he moved the offense 82 yards on 10 plays in the final 1:52 of the game and capped the win with a 1-yard touchdown pass to TE Ben Coates on the final play of the game.
Bledsoe, playing with a broken finger, passed for 246 yards and completed 28 of 43 passes (65.1%), including three touchdowns. His main targets were Coates and WR Terry Glenn. Coates caught 10 passes for 70 yards, including the game-winning touchdown and Glenn grabbed eight passes for 104 yards.
The Patriots scored the game's first 14 points on two Bledsoe touchdown passes. He connected with rookie RB Robert Edwards on a 2-yard touchdown pass and RB Derrick Cullors for a 12-yard score. The Bills responded with two Steve Christie field goals (34 and 26) to close out the half and trailed 14-6. In the first half, Bledsoe completed 14 of his 18 passes (77%) for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bills opened the scoring in the second half on a 84-yard touchdown pass from QB Doug Flutie to WR Eric Moulds. Their two-point attempt failed and they trailed 14-12. It still is the longest touchdown pass of Doug Flutie's NFL career. The Patriots responded to the Bills touchdown with an 11-play, 34-yard drive which ended on a 44-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal and a 17-12 lead. The Bills responded with a 22-yard field goal of their own and cut the Patriots lead to 17-15 going into the final quarter.
The Bills grabbed the lead from the Patriots on a Flutie to WR Andre Reed 4-yard touchdown pass. The Bills traveled 67 yards on a 14-play drive, which saw four penalties called on each team. The Bills did not convert their second two-point conversion of the day and led 21-17. The Patriots and Bills traded possessions and New England got the ball back with 1:52 remaining in the game. Bledsoe completed seven of 11 passes, including the 1-yard touchdown to Coates on the game's final play. Coates was Bledsoe's favorite target on the final drive, catching four passes for 25 yards. Vinatieri added a two-point conversion and the Patriots won 25-21.
Patriots quarterback, Drew Bledsoe will face the Buffalo Bills for the 13th time this weekend. His first game as a professional, Sept. 5, 1993, was a 38-14 defeat at the hands of the Bills. During his seven-year career, Bledsoe has won seven of 12 games, including four of the last five. In addition, his best touchdown to interceptions ratio against any team is +13 versus the Bills.
|New York Jets||4||6||0||.400|