Sunday, December 26, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Patriots 34, Bills 3
By Tim Graham
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The New England Patriots mopped up Ralph Wilson Stadium with the Buffalo Bills, wringing them 34-3.
What it means: The Patriots clinched the AFC East championship and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bills suffered their worst loss of the season after winning four out of their previous six games.
Hero: Local boy Rob Gronkowski had four catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Gronkowski's performance was more notable because tight end Aaron Hernandez, who had a pair of touchdowns in last week's victory over the Green Bay Packers, was deactivated because of a hip injury.
Goat: Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick committed five turnovers -- three interceptions and two fumbles. The Patriots converted the first three into 21 points. Fitzpatrick had a fumble and an interception in the Patriots' red zone in the first half. Fitzpatrick's streak of games with a touchdown pass ended at 15, three short of Jim Kelly's franchise record.
Brady bumps Bernie: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady broke Bernie Kosar's 19-year-old record for consecutive attempts without an interception. Kosar's record was 308 straight. Brady is at 319 and counting.
What's with Wes? Midway through the third quarter, possession receiver extraordinaire Wes Welker had three drops and two receptions for 12 yards. Welker's first two drops were in the Bills' red zone in the second quarter. The other should have converted a third down in the third quarter.
What's next: The Bills will wrap up their season against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands. The Patriots will welcome the Miami Dolphins to Gillette Stadium.