Rapid Reaction: Bills 34, Patriots 31

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
4:39
PM ET
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A few early thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' come-from-behind, 34-31 victory against the New England Patriots:

What it means: The Bills confirmed they are legitimate contenders in the AFC East. They beat a New England team many feel is a Super Bowl favorite -- and Buffalo did it in dramatic fashion. The Bills (3-0) overcame a 21-0 deficit against New England. This week was a huge test for the Bills and they passed. Buffalo will at least share first place in the AFC East after three games. For New England (2-1), the Patriots have to regroup defensively and figure out how to fix all the problems on that side of the ball. If not, New England will have trouble winning games when quarterback Tom Brady makes mistakes.

Turning point: This game was full of ups and downs for both teams. Bills running back Fred Jackson's 38-yard reception with 1:43 left set up Buffalo's game-winning 28-yard field goal by Rian Lindell. The Bills were wise to run the clock and take the field goal at the end. Buffalo kept the ball out of Brady's hands.

Lots of picks: As expected, both quarterbacks threw for a ton of yards. But six combined interceptions were unexpected. Brady (387 yards) had his shakiest outing of the season. He threw four interceptions after a fast start. Buffalo's defense displayed good hands and took advantage of the opportunities. Fitzpatrick (369 yards) also threw two early interceptions in the first half as Buffalo fell behind.

Record-setting day for Welker: Patriots receiver Wes Welker had a career day. He had 16 receptions for 217 yards and two touchdowns. The receptions set a new team record for New England. Welker had a lot of success underneath against the zone and was too quick for Buffalo defenders against man-to-man coverage.

What's next: The Patriots travel to Oakland. The undefeated Bills play at Cincinnati.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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