Defense couldn't generate the key stop

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
5:34
PM ET
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Giving up big yardage wasn't overly concerning to members of New England's defense. They've done that over the first two weeks of the season and still survived it, coming up with key plays in crucial situations.

But staked to a three-touchdown lead on Sunday, New England watched Buffalo score 34 points over the final three quarters, including 24 in the second half (seven of which came on an interception return) as the Bills emerged with a stunning 34-31 triumph at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"It stings, especially in the division, and we feel like we were in control of the game," said Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo. "We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to."

The Patriots' defense has now given up a whopping 1,406 total yards this season, including 1,131 through the air. On Sunday, the Bills posted 448 total yards (369 passing) and moved the ball down the field with relative ease in the closing moments to set up Rian Lindell's winning 28-yard field goal as time expired.

What's frustrating to New England defenders, is that there's no obvious solutions to what ails them.

"I wish I knew," said McCourty. "If I had all the answers, it’d be fixed. It’s just about going back and watching film. But, week by week, we gotta get better."

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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