We have seen this story played out the last 12 times these two teams have played. The usual, poor offensive line play, penalties, and being out coached led to another loss to New England, 17-10. This game started off so positively, as the Bills marched right down the field on the opening drive of the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Shawn Nelson for an 8 yard pickup to open the game. Then the Bills got Fred Jackson going. Jackson ran the ball the next 4 plays for 24 yards. On second down and three, Fitzpatrick found Jackson on a shovel pass for a 9 yard gain. Marshawn Lynch took the ball on the next play for a 10 yard gain. Then one play later, Fitzpatrick found Terrelll Owens for a 9 yard gain to convert the third down. The Bills had to settle for a Rian Lindell 25 yard field goal because of a false start penalty on Andre Ramsey, and an incompletion by Fitzpatrick.
On the Patriots first possession, Tom Brady was hurried on a couple of different plays in the drive. Brady could not hit Randy Moss on the long ball in the endzone on one play. On the next play, Brady was hurried, and threw a interception to Paul Posluszny. The Bills could not take advantage of the turnover, as the offensive line allowed two sacks on the next drive. Then on the next Patriot drive, the Bills committed another huge error. The Patriots were at the Bills 46 yard line, and Brady fired a pass to the endzone but his pass intended for Moss was broken up but Donte Whitner was called for a pass interference penalty in the end zone. This was very poor coverage technique by Whitner, and cost the Bills tremendously. One play later, Brady hit Moss for a 13 yard touchdown to put New England up 7-3. The penalty on Whitner was a 43 yard penalty. The score stayed at 7-3 until the Patriots got the ball back after a poor interception by Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick tried to hit Josh Reed along the right sideline, but was intercepted by Jonathan Wilhite.
Brady came on the next play and hit Wes Welker for a 14 yard gain to midfield. A couple plays later, Brady found Moss for a 22 yard gain. Then one play later, another huge pass interference call in the endzone on Reggie Corner, led to New England scoring another touchdown on a one yard run by Laurence Maroney. The Patriots had a 14-3 lead going into the half. The Bills had a opportunity to score at the end of the half, but Lindell could not hit a 56 yard field goal.
The Bills offense could not get much going in the third quarter. The only scoring that occurred was on the Patriots second drive of the third quarter, which took a little over 7 minutes, and resulted in a Stephen Gostkowski 30 yard field goal. The key plays on the drive were Brady’s completion to Moss on second down. That play went for 16 yards. Maroney had a big third down conversion run for 11 yards to the Bills 36 yard line. Brady completed a huge pass to Welker for 13 yards on 2nd down. New England was up 17-3 after the field goal, and Perry Fewell decided to go with Trent Edwards for the first Bills possession in the 4th quarter.
Edwards was sacked on 2 out of the 4 plays he was in for, and the last sack injured his ankle forcing him out of the game as quickly as he went in. The offensive line woes did not allow him to help the team while he was in. After the Bills forced a New England punt, the offense got going. Fitzpatrick came back in and made a huge third down conversion to Owens for 11 yards, and Lynch ran the ball for a 2 yard gain on fourth down to keep the chains moving. Then on another 4th down play, Fitzpatrick hit Josh Reed for a 29 yard gain to the Patriots 12 yard line, but Reed dropped a pass on the next fourth down opportunity to end the drive. The Bills got the ball back with good field position, and Fitzpatrick found Reed for a 17 yard gain to the Patriots 11 yard line. Then Fitzpatrick threw a nice pass to Lee Evans for an 11 yard touchdown in the endzone. The score was now 17-10, and the Bills attempted a onside kick which they recovered. Unfortunately Aaron Maybin was offsides which forced another kickoff. The Bills decided this time to kick the ball deep, and put the game in the hands of their defense. With little over two minutes left in the game, Brady converted a 3rd down and 6 play to Welker for 8 yards. That conversion finished the game, as New England continued its dominance of the Bills.
This game was pretty much a showing of what type of year this has been for the Bills. Another winnable game that was lost due to a inept offense who could not help the defense due to poor offensive line play, and critical mistakes being made at the wrong time. The Bills will travel to Atlanta this week in hopes to get their 6th win of the season.