Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for a career second-best 466 yards, as he completed 38 of 59 pass attempts with three touchdown throws, as the Patriots were able to hold off a late Buffalo Bills rally thanks to their high-octane offense, giving the Patriots their first divisional win of the season.
The match-up between the Bills and Patriots was highly anticipated in the week before the meeting. Both teams had won their first games of the new season and high expectations for the season ahead were falling on both teams, including the host team, who were led by new head coach and old Patriots' foe Rex Ryan (formerly of the New York Jets). The Guinness Book of World Records was invited to Ralph Wilson Stadium to see if the Bills' fans could break the decibel record for crowd noise that was set at Arrowhead Stadium by Kansas City Chiefs' fans in the season prior (coincidentally in a game that the Patriots also featured in as the away team). In a heated game-day atmosphere, the Bills took the opening kickoff and drove the ball 80-yards in ten plays, with rookie running back Karlos Williams scoring on a 2-yard run for a Bills' touchdown. The Patriots went three-and-out on their first drive, but were able to hold the Bills to a three-and-out on the Bills' second drive thanks to a 3rd down sack of quarterback Tyrod Taylor by veteran defensive end Rob Ninkovich. The Patriots scored their first points of the contest on the following drive, with wide receiver Julian Edelman catching an 8-yard touchdown pass from Brady, after big pass plays to wide receiver Aaron Dobson and tight end Rob Gronkowski moved the ball quickly down the field. On the Bills' next drive, Taylor was once again sacked on 3rd down, this time by linebacker Jamie Collins, forcing the Bills to punt from their own 1-yard line. Punt returner Danny Amendola returned the ensuing Bills' punt 28-yards and an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Bills pushed the ball all the way to the Bills 13-yard line. The Patriots needed only two plays to punch the ball into the endzone, with running back Dion Lewis taking a draw run for 6-yards and the touchdown, putting New England up 14-7 with less than a minute to go in the 1st quarter. On the ensuing Bills' drive, Taylor was intercepted by cornerback Malcolm Butler and returned it to the Bills' 30-yard line. Five plays later the Patriots led 21-7 after Brady found Gronkowski in the back of the endzone on a play-action pass. The Bills' offense continued to sputter on their next two drives, going three-and-out on both. However, the Patriots were unable to build on their lead, as a fumble by Lewis and a failed fourth-and-one pass attempt to Edelman inside Bills' territory doomed both of their drives. On the Bills' next possession, a 39-yard pass interference penalty against cornerback Bradley Fletcher put the Bills at the Patriots' 9-yard line. On the Bills' next play, Taylor found tight end Charles Clay for a 9-yard touchdown pass. The Bills missed the extra-point kick attempt, leaving the score at 21-13 Patriots. Patriots' placekicker Stephen Gostkowski converted a 46-yard field goal on the ensuing Patriots drive. The Bills advanced the ball to the 50-yard line on the next drive, but Taylor was intercepted by safety Duron Harmon on a deep pass intended for wide receiver Sammy Watkins with 16 seconds remaining in the half. Brady took a knee on the ensuing drive, with the Patriots going into the half leading 24-13.
The Patriots advanced the ball to the Bills' 3-yard line on the opening drive of the second half, but the 12-play, 77-yard drive stalled with New England failing to convert a touchdown from short distance. Gostkowski converted the 21-yard field goal, making the score 27-13. A holding penalty disrupted the ensuing Bills' drive, and Buffalo punted to the Patriots' 17 yard line. The Patriots once again drove the ball down the field with relative ease, with Brady capping off the drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Edelman, who dove into the endzone as he was being tackled by defender Aaron Williams, who sustained an injury on the play. On the next series, the Bills were forced to another three-and-out after defensive end Chandler Jones sacked Taylor for an 11-yard loss on 3rd down. On the ensuing drive, a 23-yard pass play from Brady to Gronkowski set up the Patriots at the Bills 32-yard line, but New England couldn't advance the ball further, settling for a converted 50-yard field goal by Gostkowski, upping the score to 37-13. As the game entered the fourth quarter and with many Bills fans already heading for the exits, the Bills were finally able to establish rhythm with their offense, as Taylor led Buffalo on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that was completed by a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Robert Woods. The two-point conversion failed. The Patriots responded by advancing the ball to the Buffalo 41-yard line, but for the second time in the game, New England failed to convert a fourth-and-one deep pass attempt to Edelman, turning the ball over on downs to the Bills. The Bills quickly capitalized on the Patriots' miscue, moving the ball down the field in under three minutes, finishing with a Taylor touchdown run of 7-yards. However, the Bills once again failed to convert the two-point conversion. The score was 37-25 in favor of the away team. On the second play of the ensuing Patriots drive, Brady was sacked by linebacker Jerry Hughes and fumbled the ball, with linebacker Preston Brown recovering for the Bills. On the first play of the next drive, Taylor completed a 26-yard pass to Woods. On the second play of the series, Taylor threw a 24-yard strike to Watkins for a Bills' touchdown. Bills' placekicker Dan Carpenter converted the extra-point kick, bringing Buffalo to within five points of New England, with the score at 37-32 and 4:20 left on the game clock. With a huge momentum swing in their opponents' favor, the Patriots got the ball back at their own 20-yard line with the goal to protect their lead and run out the game clock. As had been the theme throughout the day, the Bills' defense was unable to keep Brady and the Patriots' offense from marching up-and-down the field, and on their final drive, New England never faced a third down until they had already advanced the ball to the Buffalo 12-yard line. Running back LeGarrette Blount advanced the ball a further 4-yards on 3rd and 5, setting up a 25-yard field goal attempt for the all-pro Gostkowski. Gostkowski converted the try, pushing the Patriots lead to eight points, at a score of 40-32. After the ensuing touchback, the Bills got the ball on their own 20-yard line with 1:18 remaining in the game with a chance to tie the game if they could score a touchdown and convert a two-point attempt. On the Bills' first play of the drive, Taylor was intercepted for the third time of the day, this time by cornerback Logan Ryan at the 50-yard line on a long pass intended for Watkins. Brady kneeled on the ensuing drive, securing the 40-32 win. The Bills' fans failed to set the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd noise.
Tom Brady's Statistics
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