For Smith, better late than never [6:15 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''Their defense did a good job of reading where the run was going,'' center Damien Woody said. ''Antowain just didn't stop on the play, reversed field, and it was wide open. That was huge.'''
Something was missing [6:14 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The Flutie mantra that's been beaten into our brains has shifted to Brady, the Patriots' second-year quarterback. Brady didn't play particularly well yesterday against the Bills, but his team won, 12-9, in overtime, and improved to 9-3 since Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe.'
In overtime, plot contained a knockout twist [6:12 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'After decades of hideous finishes and chronic chaos, the Patriots are getting all the breaks.'
Rolling with the punches [6:12 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Tasker and play-by-play man Don Criqui also both (maybe with some help from the folks in the truck) used replays to illustrate that Buffalo receiver Peerless Price had an apparent TD taken away on a ruling the Bills never challenged with just less than 11 minutes left in regulation. Instead, Buffalo settled for a tying field goal.'
It's becoming numbers game [6:10 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The Seahawks (7-6) are still alive in the playoff hunt with their win over Dallas yesterday. The Patriots may not have to worry about Denver, which fell to Kansas City yesterday and now has seven losses.'
Pats boot Bills in OT [6:09 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'As for the game, it was mostly a lot of field goals (seven) and incomplete passes (38). Neither offense played well, which kept the score close as usual. The Pats and Bills have now played into overtime in four of their last five meetings.'
Vinatieri in the four-front [6:09 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``You've got to take your hats off to them. They played a great game today. They fought pretty hard, made some big plays and hit the crap out of our guys. I'm just happy I got an opportunity (to win the game)."'
Pats deserve luck [6:09 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'An apparent Bills touchdown is ruled an incompletion, but the Buffalo coaching staff doesn't call for a replay even though it looked like Peerless Price might have gotten both feet down in the end zone.'
Pats' Smith fits the Bill [6:09 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Would not his return to Buffalo have been sweeter had Smith won the game with a touchdown? ``That doesn't make any difference to me,'' Smith said. ``I just wanted to get us close enough to win the game. And that's what I did.'''
Hi there, old flame [6:09 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'To say that Brady got his bell rung yesterday would be the understatement of this over-the-top season. It was a highlight-film hit for the ages, one that the Brady kids, grandkids and great-grandkids will be seeing, and it was delivered by the Bills' 5-foot-9 cornerback, Nate Clements.'
Pats only playing by the rules [6:08 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Fortunate doesn't even come close to describing it. Had the Pats gone on to lose, it would have dampened their playoff hopes. Then we could have all gone nuts like the Bills fans and claimed they were ``screwed'' by a bad call. Only, most of us wouldn't have known to complain.'
Patriots dust off backers [6:08 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Three yards and a cloud of disgust. That's what Pats bettors got yesterday when Antowain Smith fell that much short of a touchdown in overtime as the Patriots beat the Bills, 12-9, on a field goal. The bettors needed the six points to reap a dividend with the Pats as 4-point favorites.'
Bills paying the price in dismal season [6:08 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The way the Buffalo Bills season has gone, they knew they were in trouble once the officials started reviewing their recovery of a Patriots fumble in overtime.'
Bills can't KO Pats [6:08 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The Buffalo Bills' defensive backs scored several knockdowns against the Patriots yesterday. But the Pats refused to be knocked out.'
Warm reception for J.R. [6:08 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Remember J.R. Redmond? Tom Brady sure did. Redmond, the Patriots' rarely used third-down running back, came out of a season-long hibernation yesterday, catching three key passes from Brady late in a 12-9 win over the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.'
Brady, Patriots not at best, but they get the job done once again [6:08 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'Even if you're a fully vested member of the International Brotherhood of Brady, you gotta realize that the Pats survived him yesterday. Survived him on a day when he went 19 for 35. Survived him on a day when he took six sacks and, at one point late in the game, seemed to unilaterally decide to run a quarterback draw from the Bills 11 on third-and-9. And survived him on a day when the offensive game plan was finally designed for him to go long and he went extra long. Yesterday, Brady was Rick Ankiel in shoulder pads, Mark Wohlers with eye black. He was responsible for more overthrows than the busiest Central American revolutionary, and yet the Pats survived him.'
'W' marks the spot [6:07 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Some teams are good. Others are lucky. When a team can get both in its favor, it can win four games in a row and six of seven.'
Brady able to save face -- and the rest of his head [6:06 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Tom Brady has a good head on his shoulders. No thanks to Buffalo cornerback Nate Clements, who did his best to decapitate the Patriots' young quarterback on a third-quarter scramble.'
Defense giving up yards, but few points [6:05 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The Bills had 310 yards in offense and 19 first downs. Yet, they managed only three field goals.'
A little-known rule has big implications in the playoff picture [6:04 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"When you have a season like we have, where you only win two games, it makes it very hard to get those calls," Centers said. "It's hard for the ball to bounce your way. For whatever reason, I don't know why that is, but that's the way it happens."'
Locker room filled with talk about dead-ball rule [6:03 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"I had heard of the rule," he said of Rule Three, Section 20, Article Two, Paragraph C, which says the ball is dead when a player who has any part of his body out of bounds touches the ball. "I guess everybody knows about it now," Patten said.'
Help From Above [6:01 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: '"I have never seen a play like it," Bills coach Gregg Williams said.'
Fumble A Touchy Subject [6:00 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'In the NFL officials handbook, it's rule three, section 20, article two, paragraph C: "The ball is out of bounds when a loose ball touches a boundary line, or anything on or outside such line."'
Overturned fumble, Vinatieri field goals boost New England [5:58 AM]
Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports: 'And while there's no truth to the rumor that the crew that officiated the game received a game ball from New England, it certainly played a major role in the Patriots' fourth victory in a row and third straight in December.'
Smith sets up winning kick [5:57 AM]
Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports: '"It always feels good when you win when you're going against your old team," Smith said. "That run at the end put us in position to kick the winning field goal, so that's extra special."'
Review aids New England [5:56 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'There are many playoff scenarios still in play, but the most encouraging reads like this: If the Patriots win their final two games, and the Jets lose of any of their last three, the Patriots win the division title.'
Luck plays role on bizarre play [5:55 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'Patten was the central figure in a bizarre play which seemed destined to derail the New England Patriots but instead sent them on their merry way.'
Patriots 12, Bills 9 OT [5:41 PM]
AP reports: 'The breaks -- as they have virtually all season -- went against Buffalo.'
New England 12, Buffalo 9 (ot) [5:30 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'On the winning drive, the Patriots were aided by an instant replay after David Patten fumbled and safety Keon Carpenter recovered for the Bills at their 41. But Patten was ruled to be out of bounds when he fumbled along the sideline.'
Bills put Fred Smerlas on Wall of Fame [5:00 PM]
AP reports: '"I thank God for the gifts he gave me," Smerlas said. "God made me a big, strong, 300-pound man who could kick some (behinds) on the field."'
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