Going into Orchard Park, NY to take on the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots were looking at the possibility of doing something they hadn’t done since 2001, losing three games in a row. With injuries to key players Aaron Hernandez, Julian Edelman and Logan Mankins, other players were going to need to step up… and step up they did.
After holding off the rushing attacks of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, the Patriots started with the ball on the 10-yard line for their first possession. Seven plays later, they scored their first opening drive touchdown of the season to take a 7-0 lead. The Patriots defense stepped up with a pair of turnovers, but the offense was unable to capitalize. Normally excellent kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed two field goals that would have put the Patriots up 13-0. The Bills offense on the other hand, managed to score a pair of touchdowns to give Buffalo a 14-7 lead going into the half. It was looking for a time like another bad week for New England.
But in the second half, after stalling out on their first possession and giving up another touchdown for a 21-7 Buffalo lead, the Patriots really got to work. Using a combination of rushing, passing and defensive turnovers, the Patriots managed to put up 35 unanswered points to take a 42-21 lead. The Bills would manage one more touchdown, but the Patriots would add another touchdown and a field goal before this one was over, finishing with a final score of 52-28.
The win puts the Patriots at a record of 2-2 and should act as a catalyst to get the team firmly back on track for their winning ways. For the first time since 1982, the Patriots had to players, running backs Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden, rush for over 100 yards each. Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski each caught for over 100 yards as well. Tom Brady finished the day with 22 completions for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Patriots play at home next week, hosting Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in an afternoon game starting at 4:25 p.m. EDT.