National Football League
PRESEASON
12345
REGULAR SEASON
12345
678910
1112131415
1617   
PLAYOFFS
123PBSB
 
      === McCourty's end zone interception helps Pats hold off Buffalo ===
 
 Foxboro,   MA  (Sports  Network)  -  Devin  McCourty's  interception  of  Ryan
 Fitzpatrick  in  the end  zone prevented  a late New  England collapse, as the
 Patriots held on for a 37-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
 
 Following  a 27-yard field goal by New England's Stephen Gostkowski, the Bills
 took  over  with 2:06  remaining in the  game. Fitzpatrick led  a drive to the
 Patriots' 15 before throwing the ball directly to McCourty.
 
 Tom  Brady  threw for 237 yards  and two touchdowns on 23-of-38 efficiency for
 the  Patriots  (6-3), who won  their third  consecutive game and 11th straight
 against the Bills at Gillette Stadium.
 
 "It  was  tight today," said  Brady. "I'm  glad we came  away with the win. We
 fought  hard, we  certainly had  more opportunities  out there  to score  more
 points,  but we didn't  and the defense made a couple great plays there at the
 end."
 
 Stevan  Ridley ran  for a game-high 98  yards and a score on 22 carries, while
 Danny  Woodhead ran for  one touchdown and caught a pass for another score for
 New England.
 
 Fitzpatrick  completed 27-of-40 throws for 337 yards and two touchdowns on the
 day  for  the Bills (3-6),  who dropped  their third game  in a row and remain
 winless in division play.
 
 "After  all  the talk that  I gave about  finishing, we couldn't finish," said
 Bills coach Chan Gailey. "Had the opportunity and could not finish. There were
 a  lot of ups  and downs, good and bad in that ballgame, but that's the bottom
 line. We had the chance to finish and we didn't."
 
 Fred  Jackson  ran for 80 yards  and two touchdowns  on 16 carries, but lost a
 crucial fumble with 9:35 to play in the game.
 
 Trailing  34-24, Fitzpatrick  threw a screen pass to C.J. Spiller, who avoided
 several  tackles in the backfield to pick up 25 yards, moving the Bills inside
 the Patriots' 15.
 
 But  on the following play, Jackson took a handoff and fumbled the ball a yard
 short  of the  goal line. The Patriots  recovered and the Bills came away with
 nothing after driving 93 yards down the field.
 
 The  Patriots didn't move  a yard and punted back to the Bills, who started at
 the New England 45. Fitzpatrick needed just five plays to make it a 34-31 game
 with 7:47 remaining, as he connected with Donald Jones for a 2-yard touchdown.
 
 Gostkowski  connected on a  27-yard field goal to put the Patriots up six with
 2:06 to play and it proved to be enough as Fitzpatrick could not punch Buffalo
 into the end zone on its final drive.
 
 New England never trailed in the game and held 24-17 advantage at halftime.
 
 Following  an  exchange of punts to  begin the third, the Patriots, who forced
 the  Bills three-and-out deep in their own territory, started with even better
 field  position  after  Buffalo's  Ron  Brooks  was  flagged  for  unnecessary
 roughness on the return.
 
 Brady  needed  just four plays  to get  the Patriots into  the end zone, as he
 connected with Woodhead for an 18-yard score. Woodhead made the catch over the
 middle,  sprinted toward the  end zone and extended the ball over the goal for
 his first multi-touchdown game of his career.
 
 But  the Bills kept  pace, as Jackson capped an 84-yard drive with a 1-yard TD
 run for his second score of the day. Five plays earlier, Fitzpatrick converted
 on  a huge 4th-and-4  play by finding Stevie Johnson for a 13-yard gain to the
 Patriots' 14-yard line.
 
 Gostkowski  extended the  Patriots' advantage to 34-24 after kicking a 48-yard
 field goal less than a minute into the fourth quarter. Stevan Ridley's 24-yard
 run on the drive helped set up the attempt.
 
 Earlier in the game, New England was forced to settle for three on its opening
 possession  following drops by Wes Welker and Deion Branch. Gostkowski drilled
 a 43-yarder to give the Patriots the early lead at 3-0.
 
 Penalties  derailed the Bills  on both sides of the ball, committing 14 on the
 day.  After  two pass interference penalties  on the Bills, Ridley crossed the
 goal line on a 1-yard plunge to give the Patriots a 10-point cushion.
 
 In  the second quarter, the Bills were finally able to sustain a drive, but it
 eventually  stalled.  On the  10th play  of the series,  they were flagged for
 holding  on a first down run by Spiller on 3rd-and-2 inside the redzone. After
 redoing the down, Fitzpatrick was sacked by Rob Ninkovich. Rian Lindell booted
 a 41-yard field goal to salvage the drive for Buffalo.
 
 The Patriots did not settle for three on their next touch and answered quickly
 on  a  15-yard touchdown run by  Woodhead, extending their lead to 17-3. Brady
 completed 5-of-6 throws, finding Welker for 19 yards and Rob Gronkowski for 24
 yards on the eight-play march.
 
 Fitpatrick  began to  heat up for the Bills and completed his seventh straight
 pass,  finding  Scott Chandler for a  gain of 17  to reach the New England 26.
 After  a  12-yard run by Spiller,  Jackson found a hole, broke several tackles
 and scored on a 14-yard rush to pull the Bills within a score at 17-10.
 
 But  New England  needed just over two  minutes to answer right back. On play-
 action,  Brady lobbed a ball to the corner of the end zone for Gronkowski, who
 made  a  diving catch for  a 2-yard score  with 3:54 to  play in the half. The
 touchdown  was  set up following penalties  on Stephon Gilmore, who was called
 for a face mask and a 37-yard pass interference on back-to-back plays.
 
 The  Bills offense  stayed  resilient  on the  ensuing  series. After  Johnson
 couldn't  get both feet  down in the back of the endzone on Fitzpatrick's 2nd-
 and-goal  pass, Scott  Chandler hauled in a 3-yard score on the following play
 just  before  halftime with  31 seconds remaining,  cutting the Bills' deficit
 back to seven at 24-17.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Brady  threw  a touchdown pass for  the 41st consecutive game ... The Patriots
 honored   former   running  back  Kevin   Faulk  at  halftime.  He  spent  his
 entire  13-year  career with the  team ... Bill  Belichick needs just two more
 victories  to reach  200  for  his career  ...  Fitzpatrick  became the  fifth
 quarterback in team history to throw for 10,000 yards in a career.
 
 
 
 11/11 18:46:07 ET