SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2008
1:00 PM ET
CBS / CBS HD
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Dick Enberg
COLOR ANALYST: Randy Cross
DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket:
Channel 707 / Channel 707-1 (HD)
Buffalo Bills Radio Network
PLAY-BY-PLAY: John Murphy
COLOR ANALYST: Mark Kelso
SIDELINE REPORTER: Paul Peck
Patriots Rock Radio Network
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Gil Santos
COLOR ANALYST: Gino Cappelletti
Sirius Sunday Drive
Channel 113 (Buffalo feed)
Channel 122 (New England feed)
Sirius on XM: Channel 108 (New England feed)
REGULAR-SEASON SERIES RECORD: Patriots lead, 54-40-1.
PLAYOFF RECORD: The teams have only met once in the postseason, with Boston taking the 1963 AFL Eastern Division tiebreaker 26-8 in the snow at the Rockpile. With the win, the Pats earned the right to visit San Diego for the AFC Championship game, where they were mauled 51-10 by the Chargers.
LAST MEETING: November 18, 2007 – Patriots 56, Bills 10
Olean Times Herald postgame coverage:
Brady, Moss and undefeated Patriots rout Bills
Bills Notebook: Patriots’ 56 points most against Bills at home
POLLOCK: How will the befuddled Bills respond?
With the undefeated Patriots juggernaut rolling into town to face a suddenly resurgent Buffalo squad on a four-game winning streak of its own, few were surprised when the NFL and NBC dumped an unattractive Bears-Seahawks game to reroute the Maddencruiser to Orchard Park for a Sunday Night Football prime-time matchup. Question was, would this be “Must-See TV,” or would viewers be changing the channel early in yet another New England blowout?
If they’d only known ...
After Laurence Maroney’s 6-yard run and a 43-yard pass from Tom Brady to Randy Moss gave the Patriots a quick 14-0 first-quarter lead, J.P. Losman responded by looking deep to Roscoe Parrish. As Pats cornerback Ellis Hobbs slipped while trying to adjust to the ball, Parrish made the catch and glided into the end zone, the 47-yard touchdown catch giving the Ralph Wilson Stadium crowd a glimmer of hope that their team might be able to make a game of it. But as the numbers continued to change on the visitors’ side of the scoreboard while the Bills couldn’t find their way back across the midfield stripe, it quickly became obvious that there would be no “fantastic finish” on this night. Brady connected with Moss for three more touchdowns before the first half ended, and with the score 35-7 at the break, some of the writers in the press box were already wrapping up their game stories.
The onslaught continued in the third quarter. Brady added his fifth touchdown pass of the night, on a fourth-and-1 throw to tight end Ben Watson that brought more than a few catcalls from Bills fans annoyed at the mounting score. Those fans weren’t much happier with their own team when Dick Jauron decided to send out Rian Lindell for a 52-yard field goal attempt while trailing 42-7. Up in the broadcast booth, John Madden tried to rationalize the move, saying, “Maybe Dick Jauron thinks a field goal would be a positive thing.” He didn’t sound convinced.
The Patriots converted another short fourth-down play at the Bills’ 10 late in the quarter, leading to a louder murmur from the few well-chilled diehards still left in the stands, while Madden and Al Michaels debated whether or not kicking the field goal would have been more insulting than going for it against a thoroughly demoralized Bills defense.
Kyle Eckel’s 1-yard run on the first play of the final period increased New England’s lead to 49-10. Less than a minute later, Patriots safety James Sanders punched the ball out of Dwayne Wright’s grasp, with Ellis Hobbs catching it on the fly and running it back 35 yards to make the score 56-10 – marking the worst loss in Bills history – and Madden was reduced to musing, “When it rains, it pours.”
Hey, at least it wasn’t a snow joke.
NOTES: With Marshawn Lynch (ankle) sitting out this game, Anthony Thomas got the start and rushed for 31 yards on 11 carries, tying him with Losman (4-31) for the team lead ... Losman had a rough day passing, completing 15 of 26 attempts for 173 yards. He threw one interception in addition to the touchdown pass to Parrish, and was sacked four times ... Brady was an off-the-charts 31-for-39 for 373 yards and 5 touchdowns, good for a 146.1 passer rating. That is not a misprint. As previously noted, four of those touchdowns went to Randy Moss, who finished with 10 catches for 128 yards ... New England controlled the ball and the clock, running 70 plays to the Bills’ 36 ... The Bills dropped to 5-5, but maintained their hold on second place in the division ahead of the thoroughly awful Jets and Dolphins ... The Patriots improved to 10-0, moving closer to clinching the AFC East before Thanksgiving, on their way to the first 16-0 regular season in NFL history. (Of course, we all know how that ended.)
LAST TIME IN FOXBOROUGH: September 23, 2007 – Patriots 38, Bills 7
Olean Times Herald postgame coverage:
Patriots bury banged-up Bills
POLLOCK: Edwards gets the call quicker than expected
POLLOCK: Losman’s injury an opportunity
After two underwhelming performances by the offense to open the season, co-captains J.P. Losman and Lee Evans started grumbling about conservative playcalling. Supposedly, the coaches decided to go ahead and open up the gameplan against New England. We’ll never know if it would have worked, though, because that script lasted approximately ten seconds into the game ... or roughly the amount of time it took for defensive tackle Vince Wilfork’s elbow to wipe out Losman’s knee on the first play from scrimmage. (Wilfork was penalized, and subsequently fined. He spent most of the past year protesting his innocence, before finally admitting to Roger Goodell that the hit was dirty.) Bothered by the injury, Losman failed to evade Ellis Hobbs’ corner blitz two plays later, resulting in a sack/fumble that set up the Pats at the Bills 35 for a short field goal drive and brought third-round pick Trent Edwards onto the field for his NFL debut at quarterback.
The rookie didn’t show any sign of nerves on his opening drive, completing four of five passes before Marshawn Lynch’s eight-yard touchdown run put New England behind for the first time all season. John McCargo’s strip/fumble recovery on Tom Brady’s dive to the Buffalo 1 kept the score 7-3 well into the second quarter, but the offense couldn’t gain an inch from there, as momentum continued to shift toward the hometown team. Wes Welker brought Brian Moorman’s punt back across midfield, and Brady was in business. With Paul Posluszny in the locker room, lost for the season with a broken forearm, Sammy Morris gouged the Bills defense on the ensuing drive before Brady connected with Ben Watson for an eight-yard score. Following another Moorman punt, Brady found Randy Moss for his second touchdown pass of the day, and a 17-7 lead at the break.
Buffalo began the second half with two more three-and-outs, the Patriots scored on each ensuing possession, and the rout was on. Brady finished his afternoon with a perfect strike that Moss snared over Jabari Greer’s outstretched fingertips at the Buffalo 9-yard line, then took the rest of the way for a 45-yard touchdown to make the score 37-7 early in the fourth quarter. Stephen Gostkowski added the extra point, backup quarterback Matt Cassel began to warm up, and the tailgaters got an early start on their postgame revelry.
NOTES: The Pats moved to 3-0, while the Bills dropped to 0-3… Edwards finished the game with 10 completions in 20 attempts for 97 yards and an interception… Lynch ran for 74 tough yards on 20 carries and scored his – and the offense’s – second touchdown of the year… When Aaron Schobel and John DiGiorgio combined to sack Brady in the third quarter, Schobel tied Phil Hansen (61.5) for second place in the team record book. Schobel is now alone in second with 67 takedowns, well behind franchise record holder Bruce Smith’s 171. Eleven of those sacks have come against Brady, more than any other quarterback… With two catches for 23 yards, Peerless Price extended his consecutive-game reception streak in a Bills uniform to 74. (The streak appears to be done at 75, second to Eric Moulds’ 121.) Lee Evans is quickly rising up the list with an active 66-game streak of his own.
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