Rapid Reaction: Patriots 17, Bills 10


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- So much for the New England Patriots being vulnerable.

At least not so vulnerable they would lose to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

With all of the problems the Patriots have dealt with in the past few weeks, and a sizable chunk of their starting lineup unable to play, their win streak over the Bills appeared to be in jeopardy.

The Bills put together a valiant opening series, marching 13 plays in 9:24 to kick a field goal. An upset vibe pulsed through Ralph Wilson Stadium.

But those would be the only points the Bills would score until their final drive. The Patriots had only nine first-quarter snaps, but took control in the second with a pair of touchdowns and went on to win 17-10. It was New England's 13th straight victory over the Bills.

The victory ensured the Patriots would remain in sole possession of first place in the AFC East. The margin was increased with the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets both losing on Sunday.

The Patriots notched their first true road victory of the year and have won back-to-back games for the first time in over a month.

Buffalo was generous with the penalties. In the first four games after Perry Fewell took over as interim coach, the Bills committed six, three, one and three penalties. They had eight for 104 yards -- in the first half.

Two of those penalties -- a 43-yard pass interference and a 21-yard pass interference -- led to New England's second-quarter touchdowns.

Patriots running back Laurence Maroney was the workhorse on one of Tom Brady's least-productive days. Maroney ran 23 times for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Brady completed 11 of 23 attempts for 115 yards -- 11 more than the Bills gave up in the first half on penalties alone -- and a touchdown. Randy Moss caught five passes for 70 yards and the touchdown.

The Patriots' pass rush was wonderful against the Bills' patchwork O-line. Tully Banta-Cain recorded three of their six sacks.

Buffalo couldn't capitalize on the absences of New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork and defensive ends Ty Warren and Myron Pryor. Fred Jackson rushed 15 times for 80 yards, but Buffalo increasingly had to open up their passing game.