Patriots crush the hapless Bills

By Connor Byrne  |   Monday, December 12, 2005  |  Comments( 0 )

Buffalo Bills
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Sunday, the AFC East-leading New England Patriots walked into snowy Ralph Wilson Stadium to take on the Buffalo Bills. There were many questions entering the game about the Bills, mainly because their coach, Mike Mularkey, had suspended receiver Eric Moulds earlier in the week for conduct detrimental to the team. Undoubtedly, if Buffalo came out swinging it would have symbolized that the players supported Mularkey and his philosophies. Instead the Bills played one of the flattest games of the 2005 NFL season and were throttled by a final score of 35-7. It was truly another embarrassing day in a season riddled with embarrassments for the Bills.

The first quarter saw both teams come out flat on offense in the first few minutes. Patriots punter Josh Miller and Bills punter Brian Moorman exchanged punts and not a whole lot happened. Finally the Bills got something going thanks to a 58-yard pass from quarterback J.P. Losman to stud receiver Lee Evans. However, Buffalo would squander it as Losman was intercepted on an errant throw on third-and-goal in the Pats' end zone by cornerback Asante Samuel. The fact that the Bills' offensive line had just taken back-to-back false start penalties didn't help matters as Losman's pick came on third-and-goal from the 22 yard line. On the Patriots' ensuing drive they proceeded to go 80 yards on just eight plays. The drive culminated in a 3-yard run by quarterback Tom Brady to give the Pats the 7-0 advantage. That would be the only scoring for the entire first quarter as both teams had their sloppy moments and not much action took place.

The beginning of the second quarter also saw both teams exchange punts until the Patriots got something going. Corey Dillon rushed 12 yards for New England's second touchdown to cap off a 49-yard drive. The score gave the Pats a 14-0 lead, one that looked insurmountable for the Bills. Buffalo was able to get a couple more possessions and watched them end in punts. The Patriots got the ball back at the end of the half and it looked like they were going to make the most of it, until Brady was intercepted by Bills cornerback Nate Clements in the Bills' end zone. The half was over, the Pats led 14-0, and both quarterbacks had terrible passes intercepted in their opponent's end zone.

The Bills got the ball to start the second half but quickly gave it away. Losman threw a pass deep down the left sideline intended for receiver Roscoe Parrish. It was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs and New England regained possession. The Pats capitalized on the turnover with a methodical 76-yard drive. Brady hit Troy Brown on a screen pass that turned into a 5-yard touchdown for the Patriots. Their lead climbed to 21-0 and the game was well in hand. A few minutes later the Patriots got possession again and were marching towards the Bills' end zone. Brady was intercepted for the second and last time as he threw a tipped ball down the middle that was grabbed by Bills linebacker London Fletcher. The Bills failed to capitalize on the turnover. Much like the first and second quarter, the third quarter saw one Patriots touchdown and no scores by the Bills.

The fourth quarter was much more eventful than the first three stanzas. It saw the Bills' faithful head for the exits and rightfully so. They have become one of the biggest laughingstocks in the league today. Unfortunately for the Bills, they couldn't leave and were subjected to one more quarter of pain. With 8:18 left in the game, Brady capped off a 78-yard drive with a 2-yard strike to tight end Christian Fauria. New England's lead escalated to 28-0 and the game was over right there. On the next Bills possession, Losman had a low pass tipped by Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi. It went right into the hands of New England cornerback James Sanders, who returned it 39 yards to give the Patriots a 35-0 lead. On the next possession for the Bills Losman hit receiver Josh Reed for a 51-yard touchdown. Reed made a tremendous play as he turned a short pass into a serpentine odyssey that broke the Patriots' shutout. That would be the final score of the game as the Patriots went on to take the victory 35-7.

Unfortunately for New England, they didn't clinch the division since the second-place Miami Dolphins upset the San Diego Chargers. The Pats still improved to 8-5 and it's clear that another division championship is imminent. The Bills dropped to 4-9 with yet another humiliating defeat. Will this be the end of Bills coach Mike Mularkey? We'll see. It will only get tougher next week for the Bills as they have a primetime contest against the 10-3 Denver Broncos. The Patriots will have another chance to clinch the division next week, if they beat Tampa, and Miami loses.

Player of the game: Tom Brady. 29 of 38 for 329 yards is incredibly impressive. He improved his career record to 9-1 against the Bills.

Disappointment: Willis McGahee. 8 carries, 3 yards for a man who calls himself the "Best back in the NFL?" Now that's embarrassing. He watched as Corey Dillon gashed the Bills for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Worth mentioning: Buffalo Bills receiver Lee Evans had another fine game as he added four catches for 84 yards. Even though J.P. Losman played poorly, the two of them continue to gel every week.

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