It was another heartbreaking loss for the Buffalo Bills in their rivalry against the New England Patriots. Stephen Gostskowski nailed the game-winning field goal with five seconds left, and the Pats escaped with a 23-21 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
After an inauspicious start that saw Buffalo trailing 17-7 late in the 1st half and the Patriots driving, Tom Brady threw an interception to Justin Rogers to give the Bills the ball again. That set up EJ Manuel’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods, which made it 17-14 and put Buffalo right back in it.
Turnovers (including an early fumble by CJ Spiller) and penalties hurt the Bills in the first half, committing seven for 55 yards. But their defense kept them in it, as Buffalo scored their first touchdown of the afternoon off a Stevan Ridley fumble returned for a 74-yard touchdown by Da’Norris Searcy (leading to Ridley’s benching) and held the Pats offense somewhat at bay to keep it close.
Manuel looked to be a different man in the 2nd half, looking poised and confident as he marched the Bills down the field on an eleven play, 80-yard drive that was capped by an 18-yard Stevie Johnson TD grab to put the Bills ahead 21-17. The defense would keep the driving Pats off the scoreboard on the ensuing drive, as Brady marched his team down to the 1 but was stripped on 4th down, snuffing the scoring chance.
After a 3rd quarter Gostkowski field goal drew the Pats to within 21-20, teams traded possessions the rest of the way, but another game-winning drive by Brady, led by some big catches by a banged-up Danny Amendola and strong rushing, set up Gostkowski’s heroics.
Brady would finish 29-52 for 288 yards and two touchdowns, not great by his standards, but his last-minute drive can’t be overlooked. Manuel ended the day 18-27 for 150 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
Buffalo hosts the Panthers next week in Orchard Park, while the Patriots have a short week, hosting the Jets in Foxboro on Thursday night.