DON’T GET ME STARTED saw the Bills play a stellar game but penalties and 3 turnovers left them just short of a needed victory. Fans saw enough yellow on the field of play to last a full season. The Bills were flagged time and time again that helped New England win 37-31.
Despite all those penalties, the Bills played a gritty game and were never out of it. Buffalo was penalized 14 times for 148 yards. Yet they were in it till the final seconds. In the first 18 minutes of the game, Buffalo was flagged 7 times. Name them and the Bills committed them. Pass interference, unsportsmanlike conduct, false starts, and too much time. They stopped Bills drives and continued New England drives.
There’s no mistaking that the Buffalo Bills played a much better game, holding their own against an elite team. The two fumbles plus a late interception hurt the Bills. Fitzpatrick fumbled after being sacked on his own 13 in the first half leading to a Patriots score while the other fumble by Fred Jackson prevented a Buffalo score – a swing of 14 points.
For one of the rare times this season, this was a game that Buffalo should have won. They battled right down to the wire. Fitzpatrick almost pulled it out of the fire, but driving for the go ahead score from the 15 with 30 seconds left, his pass was intercepted in the end zone ending the game 37-31.
The Bills, Fitzpatrick, Spiller and others played one of their better games but one penalty after another hurt the Buffalo cause. In the first half alone when Buffalo and Ryan Fitzpatrick outplayed Tom Brady and the Patriots, 10 penalties for 119 yards were called against Buffalo keeping Patriot drives alive. Included were 3 pass interference calls in the end zone that kept moving the ball inches on half-the-distance walks off.
In the first couple of minutes in the 2nd half, Buffalo was called for too much time plus an unsportsmanlike penalty following a Bills punt that gave New England excellent field position.
The Bills outgained New England 481 to 387 yards and Buffalo even outrushed the Pats 162 to 117. Buffalo was 7 of 11 on 3rd downs while the Pats were 7 of 12.
Ryan Fitzpatrick played his very best game in some time. He had the fumble following a sack on his own 13 that resulted in an easy score for New England in the first half and, of course, that interception in the end zone was the game clincher for a fortunate New England team that was, as stated, outplayed by the gritty Bills team.
Fitzpatrick really outplayed Brady. Check the below stats. Fitzpatrick completed 27 of 40 for 337 yards and 2 touchdowns, but suffered the fumble and the costly interception. Fred Jackson ran 16 times for 80 yards while C.J. Spiller gained 70 on 9 carries. Steve Johnson and Donald Jones each caught 6 passes.
Tom Brady completed 23 of 38 for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s well under the 301 yards per game he’s averaged this season. Steven Ridley carried 22 times for 98 yards most of it in the second half. Welker led the receivers with 6 catches for 74 yards.
Unlike the last game when Buffalo had a good lead on New England only to see the Pats come storming back in the second half, the Bills never led in this one but answered everyone one of New England’s scores with a touchdown of its own.
The critical fumble by Fred Jackson at the Patriot goal line would have made it a 3-point game in the 4th quarter. Jackson dove to stretch the ball over the goal-line but fumbled, recovered by New England after a replay confirmed the call. It was a long drive by Buffalo that seemed destined for a touchdown but Jackson lost the ball before it crossed the goal-line.
The Bills defense kept Buffalo in the game, holding the running game of the Pats to basically nothing in the first half, but did allow Steven Ridley to gain ground in the second half, leading to a field goal that gave the Pats a 10-point lead.
The loss was Buffalo’s 12th straight at Foxboro.
The game started fairly well as the Bills took the kickoff, gained a 1st down and had a 3rd and half-a-yard for a first when Buffalo got hit with illegal procedure – holding – and another illegal procedure forcing a punt.
After the Bills self-destructed on the opening drive, New England went to work. Helped by Buffalo dropping a pair of interceptions, Brady took his team on a 13 play, 48-yard drive ending with a Gostkowski field goal of 43 yards. Brady was 4 of 7 on the drive.
On Buffalo’s second play, Fitzpatrick fumbled the ball, recovered by the Pats at the 13. A pass interference penalty on Scott in the end zone put the ball on the 2. Another pass interference penalty on Stephone Gilmore put the ball on the 1 where Steven Ridley punched it in to give New England a 10-0 lead.
The Bills then moved downfield into the red zone but a pair of holding penalties forced Buffalo to settle for a 41-yard Rian Lindell field goal to end the 11 play, 57-yard drive and the score was 10-3 in the 2nd quarter.
Tom Brady then unleashed his arm beginning on his own 17, hitting Welker 19, Gronkowski for 23, Welker fo4 7, Danny Woodhead for 15 and 7 yards before Woodhead bolted up the middle for the final 15 yards. It took 8 plays to cover the 83 yards giving the Pats a 17-3 lead.
Buffalo answered with its best drive in ages as Fitzpatrick hit 7 passes in a row before relying on C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to give Buffalo it’s first touchdown in the last game and a half. 6 plays covered 80 yards. Key plays were passes to tight end Chandler for 23 and 17 yards. Spiller burst for picked up 24 yards setting up a Fred Jackson blast into the end zone from 14 yards out making the score 17-10.
The lead of 14 was restored thanks to more penalties against Buffalo, including those pass interference calls. The last against Gilmore occurred in the end zone where Brady tossed to Gronkowski to make it 24-10.
Back came Buffalo as Fitzpatrick continued his sharpness hitting his receivers and moving inside the Pats 5-yard line where he hooked up with Chandler for a 3-yard toss to the back of the end zone making it a 7 point game 24-17.
At the end of the first half Fitzpatrick was 13 of 17 for 153 yards and one touchdown. Fred Jackson carried 8 times for 39 yards while Spiller continued to run well, gaining 38 yards on only 5 carries. Scott Chandler was the leading receiver with 4 catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.
For New England Brady hit 12 of 19 passes for 120 yards and TD. The running game didn’t do much as Steven Ridley rushed 10 times for only 22 yards. As usual Welker was the leading receiver with Danny Woodhead = 3 catches each while Gronkowski had a TD catch on his 2 receptions.
Opening the second half, Brady turned to the running game with Ridley, moving to the Bills 31-yard line. On a 3rd and 5, Kyle Williams and Marcel Darius broke through to sack Brady on the 40 forcing a punt.
On Buffalo’s 1st possession, a sack and a penalty forced Buffalo to kick from its end zone. The 50-yard punt went to New England’s 42 but a personal foul penalty against the Bills put the Pats in good position at the Buffalo 43. Brady moved to the Bills 18, then rifled a pass to Woodhead, increasing New England’s lead to 14, 31-17 midway through the 3rd quarter.
Back came the Bills as Fitzpatrick again was sharp moving the Bills 89 yards in 11 plays that included a conversion on 4th and 4 on the Pats 27 yard line. Fred Jackson scored the touchdown from in close to pull Buffalo within 7, 31-24.
Helped by a 24-yard run by Ridley, New England moved well to the Bills 38 with a first down heading into the final 15 minutes of play. From the Bills 31, Gostkowski booted a 48-yard field goal to make it a 10 point game 34-24.
Following a New England punt, C.J. Spiller gained 25 yards as Fitzpatrick moved the ball to the New England 2. On a 3rd down from the 2, Fitzpatrick fired a strike to Donald Jones to make it a 34-31 game.
After a Patriot field goal, Buffalo began its final march downfield and when it reached the New England 15, it seemed as if – finally – Buffalo would prevail. But the interception in the end zone made the final score Patriots 37 – Bills 31.
At least this was a game where fans did not turn away in the 3rd quarter. It was one of the best games to watch on Don’t Get Me Started.
Filed under: Don't Get Me Started