It was a record setting afternoon for the Bills; unfortunately it wasn't the kind most teams would like to brag about.
The Buffalo Bills racked up 10 penalties for 119 yards of negative offense in the first half alone. This is a Buffalo record for total penalized yards for one half of football. Buffalo looked right on track to set the franchise record of 159 yards of total penalties for the game, set back in 1970, but the Bills came up short with a measly 148 yards on 14 penalties. This absurd amount of penalties also prevented the Bills from knocking off the New England Patriots in a game that came down to the last possession.
The Patriots squeaked out a 37-31 victory in a tight game that had quarterback Tom Brady unable to look at the field for the last set of downs due to his disgust with his inability to throw the game-clinching touchdown. In the Patriots last possession, Brady threw the ball unintentionally into the ground, blowing an easy touchdown with just over two minutes left in the game. This play set the stage for a possible Buffalo winning march down the field.
The Bills proceeded to charge down the field and looked poised for their first franchise win in Gillette Stadium. They had the ball on the Patriot’s 15-yard line with 33 seconds left in the game before Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception to Devin McCourty.
Even with the victory, it was a rough afternoon for the Pat’s defense. McCourty kept it positive after the game saying, “"No matter what happens in the game, there's nothing bigger than turnovers. When the game gets toward the end, those big plays change the game."
Fitzpatrick had been impressive all day with 481 yards of total offense, 319 yards in the air on a 27-40 throwing day, and only one interception.
"The only thing you can ask for as a quarterback is a chance at the end to win the game and we had that," Fitzpatrick said, "but we weren't able to get it done."
Fitz came to play and in general the Bills looked like an inspired team. The problem was they simply didn’t look like a disciplined one. With 148 negative yards on 14 penalties and three turnovers, the Bills simply handed the game over to the Patriots who hardly deserved the win.
Brady went 23-38 in the air for 230 yards and 0 interceptions, but the New England defense looked weak. If the Patriots are going to continue their winning ways they’ll need to tighten up a defense that many passing attacks look hungry to exploit.
Photo Credit: Tom Croke/Icon SMI