Week 14 Game Recap: New England Patriots 35, Buffalo Bills 7
What you need to know
The Patriots ran out an easy win and came close to shutting the Bills out in this game. They held the ball for almost 42 minutes and gained 32 first downs, converting 11 of 16 times on third down. TE Daniel Graham, FB Heath Evans and FB Patrick Pass were inactive.
Tom Brady is now 14-0 when the temperature is 35 degrees or less. It was 30 degrees in Buffalo and snowing for a good portion of the game. Brady went over 300 yards passing on the day, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. He injured his leg on the touchdown run but stayed into the game until it was beyond reach. Brady spread the ball around, completing passes to eight different players. Christian Fauria and Troy Brown each caught a touchdown pass, while Deion Branch had the most receiving yards for the team.
Corey Dillon exceeded 20 carries in a game for the first time since Week 5. He ran the ball well and gained over 100 yards on the day with a touchdown. Kevin Faulk was an effective receiver out of the backfield when required.
The defense almost recorded a shutout but finally allowed a score with under three minutes remaining in the game. The run defense was particularly effective, holding the Bills to 14 net rushing yards despite conditions favoring the ground game.
The Bills played an awful game. WR Eric Moulds was suspended for the game and Sam Aiken started in his place.
J.P. Losman only completed ten passes for 181 yards, despite finding Lee Evans for 58 yards early in the game. He threw three interceptions and was held scoreless until he hit Josh Reed for a 51 yard score with just under three minutes remaining.
Willis McGahee was hurt on the Billsí fifth series when Richard Seymour hit him in the helmet with his knee while McGahee was trying to block. McGahee returned for the start of the second half but only saw eight carries as the game was soon out of reach for the Bills.
The Billsí defense did their best to restrict the scoring, but were on the field for almost 42 minutes as the Patriots dominated time of possession. London Fletcher had a big day with ten solo tackles, four assists and an interception, but couldnít do enough to stem the tide.
What you ought to know
|QB Tom Brady, Pass: 29 - 38 - 329 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 17 - 1|
Brady took his record to 14-0 when the temperature is 35 degrees or lower. He opened the scoring on a three yard run, but appeared to be hurt in the process. He was seen on the sidelines getting treatment for a leg injury. He didnít miss any playing time however, and hit 29 of his 39 passing attempts for 329 yards and two touchdowns. He found Troy Brown on a five yard wide receiver screen for one score, and then connected with a wide open Christian Fauria for a two yard score. Brady threw two interceptions in the game. The first was intended for David Givens and the second was tipped by Mike Cloud before falling straight to London Fletcher. Brady was limping noticeably early in the game and Doug Flutie was seen warming up. Flutie finally saw action for the last seven minutes after the Patriots had established a 28-0 lead. Brady seemed in good spirits on the sidelines and later said that he hopes to be able to play next week.
|QB Doug Flutie, Pass: 1 - 2 - 7 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0|
Flutie saw a return to the field where he was once the starting quarterback, and replaced Tom Brady for the final seven minutes of the game. He only attempted two passes and spent most of the time handing the ball off to run out the clock.
|RB Corey Dillon, Rush: 22 - 102 - 1, Rec: 4 - 29 - 0 (4 targets)|
Corey Dillon had a good day and carried the ball 22 times for 102 yards and a touchdown. The game marked the first time he had exceeded 20 carries in a game since Week 5 of the season. Dillon gained several first downs and his longest run of the day went for 21 yards. He made several tacklers miss on a screen pass for another 20 yard gain. The highlight of his performance was a 12 yard run to the right where he outran the defense and just got in at the corner of the end zone.
|RB Kevin Faulk, Rush: 5 - 14 - 0, Rec: 6 - 71 - 0 (7 targets)|
Faulk only had five carries, but he was very effective as a receiver out of the backfield. He did drop one pass, but gained some big first downs with receptions of 19 yards, 12 yards, 15 yards and 14 yards. Only Deion Branch had more receiving yards for the team.
Cloud was used to spell Corey Dillon at times, and ended the day with nine carries for 24 yards. He was targeted once in the passing game, but the ball went off his hands and was intercepted by London Fletcher.
Brown caught a 16 yard pass for a first down on the Patriotsí third possession and held on to everything thrown in his direction. The highlight was a five yard reception on a wide receiver screen that ended up as a touchdown to extend the Patriotsí lead to 21-0. Brown also saw a few plays on defense.
Branch only saw six passes thrown his way and he caught five of them for a total of 83 yards. He caught a 23 yard pass for a first down on the Patriotsí third drive and then caught an 11 yard pass for a first down two drives later. Both possessions ended in touchdowns for the Patriots. He had two other catches for first downs in the game, one for 12 yards and his longest of the day for 28 yards. Branch gained ten yards on a reverse after Brady made a key block, but the play was negated as the block was said to be illegal. 2005 is now Branchís biggest year for receiving yardage.
Givens had a 40 yard reception in the second half, and gained 24 yards after the catch. He appeared to be back to full speed after missing time with injury. He ended the day with three catches from four targets for a total of 58 yards.
Davis dropped one pass and ended the day with one catch for seven yards.
Watson caught three passes for a total of 35 yards. He was also targeted in the end zone but the pass was almost intercepted by Eric King. Watson had two first down catches early in the game and was not seen much after that.
Fauria was only targeted twice and caught both balls, including one for a two yard touchdown after Brady found him open in the end zone.
Vinatieri made all five of his extra point attempts.
The Bills had a big day on the ground in the first meeting between the two teams earlier in the year, but the Patriots made sure that there was no repeat performance. The Bills were held to 14 net rushing yards and were forced to abandon the run in the second half when the game was getting out of reach. The Billsí running game was so bad that J.P. Losman ended as the leading rusher with one carry for seven yards.
The pass defense gave up two big plays, but were otherwise effective in shutting down the Billsí passing game. Lee Evans had a 58 yard reception on the Billsí second possession and then Josh Reed scored a 51 yard touchdown with a little over two minutes remaining in the game. The Patriots were able to pressure Losman, sacking him twice (Colvin, Seymour) and intercepting him three times (Samuel, Hobbs, Sanders). The Sanders interception was returned for a 39 yard score.
|QB J.P. Losman, Pass: 10 - 27 - 181 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0|
Losman had a poor game. He connected with Lee Evans for a 58 yard gain on the Billsí second possession to bring up a first and goal, but then threw an interception with intended receiver Sam Aiken nowhere near the ball. He scrambled once for seven yards and a first down, which made him the Billsí leading rusher on the day. He only completed three passes in the first half and then threw another interception when trying to find Roscoe Parrish early in the second half and . His third interception was on a tipped pass and was returned for a 39 yard touchdown by James Sanders. Losman finally helped the Bills put some points on the board when he threw a 51 yard touchdown pass to Josh Reed in garbage time, but most of the work was done by Reed after the catch.
McGahee was hit in the head by Richard Seymourís knee while trying to make a block. He left the game for the remainder of the first half but returned after the break. McGahee was totally ineffective in the game, ending with three yards from eight carries and one reception for five yards. The Bills abandoned the run in the second half when the Patriots established a big lead.
Williams had three carries for a total of four yards.
Evans appears to be firmly established as Losmanís favorite target. He caught a 58 yard pass on the Billsí third possession to bring up a first and goal. His other significant contribution was an 18 yard catch for a first down in the second half, and he ended with four catches for a total of 83 yards.
Reed did very little until making his first catch with under three minutes remaining in the game. He beat several tacklers and cut back to turn the play into a 51 yard touchdown and avoid the shutout for the Bills. He caught a 25 yard pass on the final play of the game and ended with two catches for 76 yards and a score.
Aiken started the game due to the suspension of Eric Moulds. He was only able to catch one pass for seven yards, despite being targeted seven times, and was not much of a threat.
Parrish was not heavily involved in the passing game and caught just one of his five targets for five yards. Losman looked for Parrish deep on one play and it resulted in a jump ball and an interception by Ellis Hobbs. One pass was on fourth and 17 and Parrish drew an interference call for the first down. He also returned two punts, including one for 43 yards.
Moulds was suspended by the team for this game, but should return next week.
Campbellís one catch was a four yard reception on third and three to bring up a first down.
Lindell missed a field goal try from 32 yards before converting his one extra point attempt.
The Bills gave up 159 net rushing yards and 11 first downs in the game. The Patriots were able to run the ball and keep possession for almost 42 minutes. Tom Brady was allowed to score a rare rushing touchdown and Corey Dillon added another in the second quarter. Dillon had 22 carries for 102 yards on the day.
Six receivers had receptions of 14 yards or more for the Patriots as they accumulated 20 first downs through the air. The Billsí defense gave up 335 net passing yards and allowed Brady to complete 76% of his passes. The Billsí defense has given up a lot of fantasy points to opposing teams in three of the last four games after looking very tough up to that point.