Brady throws for 3 TDs as Pats beat Bills 38-30

Beating the Buffalo Bills has become so routine for the Patriots

that a close score could cause concern for New England’s fans.

Not for Tom Brady.

The Patriots extended their winning streak over the Bills to 14

games with a 38-30 victory on Sunday, the most points Buffalo has

scored in any of those meetings. New England gave up 374 yards to a

winless team that totaled just 352 yards in its first two

games.

”A win’s a win,” Brady said. ”It doesn’t really matter if you

win by 50 or by one because the following week it really makes no

difference how you did the previous week.”

He proved that by rebounding from a subpar outing a week earlier

in a 28-14 loss to the New York Jets. In the second half, he

completed just 7 of 16 passes for 69 yards and two interceptions as

the Jets outscored the Patriots 18-0.

”Two things helped us,” wide receiver Wes Welker said Sunday.

”We were more unpredictable on offense and we didn’t shoot

ourselves in the foot.”

The Patriots (2-1) had their most balanced attack of the season

with 252 yards and three touchdowns passing and 200 yards and two

touchdowns rushing. But they led just 31-23 after three

quarters.

”There were a lot of times in this game when we weren’t playing

too well,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said. ”We had to refocus and get

back on track.”

Brady improved to 16-1 against the Bills, completing 21 of 27

passes for 252 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Two of

those scores went to Randy Moss. And Brady wasn’t sacked once.

”A guy like that is going to have a big day if you don’t get

pressure on him,” Buffalo coach Chan Gailey said.

Brady hasn’t lost to the Bills (0-3) since the 2003 opener, but

they stayed close for most of the game only to be done in by

fourth-quarter interceptions by Patrick Chung and Brandon

Meriweather.

”We felt like we had a chance and we came up short,”

quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ”The offense played better

today, but it’s all about winning.”

The mobile Fitzpatrick provided a spark after starting in place

of Trent Edwards, who led the Bills to the NFL’s least productive

offense in the first two weeks of the season.

Fitzpatrick completed 20 of 28 passes for 247 yards, two

touchdowns and two interceptions.

First-round draft pick C.J. Spiller scored his first NFL

touchdowns on a 5-yard pass from Fitzpatrick and a 95-yard kickoff

return, but Buffalo’s last chance faded when Fitzpatrick threw an

interception to Meriweather with 3 minutes left.

”He’s always trying to make a play. You’ve got to give him

credit for that,” Gailey said of Fitzpatrick. ”I don’t want to

temper him, but I want him to be smart.”

New England tied Miami for the third-longest winning streak

against a single opponent. The Dolphins beat the Colts in 14

straight games from 1980-1987. The Colts moved from Baltimore to

Indianapolis in 1984.

”Beating them (again) wasn’t easy,” Mayo said. ”We still have

a lot of work to do. Any division game is tough.”

New England took a 17-16 lead at intermission on Stephen

Gostkowski’s 43-yard field goal on the last play of the half. Rian

Lindell kicked three field goals in the first two quarters for

Buffalo.

”We get a couple of touchdowns earlier in the game when we were

in the red zone and things may be different,” wide receiver Lee

Evans said.

Moss caught a 35-yard scoring pass on the first possession of

the second half, but Spiller returned the ensuing kickoff for a

touchdown, making it 24-23. Then Brady threw a 5-yard scoring pass

to Rob Gronkowski late in the third and BenJarvus Green-Ellis

scored on a 7-yard run midway through the fourth.

Buffalo made it 38-30 as Fitzpatrick hit Steve Johnson for a

37-yard touchdown with 4:08 remaining. Then the Patriots punted,

but on the next play Meriweather got his interception.

The Patriots won without running back Kevin Faulk, who sustained

a season-ending knee injury against the Jets. But Green-Ellis ran

for 98 yards and Danny Woodhead scored on a 22-yard run after being

released by the Jets and signing the previous weekend. It was his

first NFL touchdown.

”They do a good job of changing up their tendencies,” Buffalo

linebacker Keith Ellison said of the Patriots, ”running when you

think they will pass and passing when you think they will

run.”

No matter what they do or how they do it, the Patriots beat the

Bills. Playing the Miami Dolphins on the road next Monday night

should be tougher.

They’ve all been tough for the Bills, despite their best

offensive performance of the season Sunday.

”I’ve never felt good about a loss in my whole life,” Gailey

said. ”There were some encouraging things, but you either win or

you lose in this business. And we didn’t win.”