Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune |
  • Home
National Football League

              === Blount, Patriots down Bills, get No. 2 seed ===
 Foxboro,  MA ( - It appears LeGarrette Blount enjoys playing
 in the rain.
 Blount rushed 24 times for a career-high 189 yards with two touchdowns and set
 up  a pair of second-half scores with lengthy kickoff returns, leading the New
 England  Patriots to  a 34-20 win over the Buffalo Bills in the regular-season
 finale at a drenched Gillette Stadium.
 Tom Brady had 122 yards and a touchdown on 14-of-24 passing in the steady rain
 and recorded his third career punt for New England (12-4). The AFC East champs
 secured the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. The Patriots will play their
 divisional postseason game on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 8:15 p.m. ET.
 Julian  Edelman had 65 yards on nine receptions and joined Wes Welker and Troy
 Brown as the only Patriots to have 100 catches in a season.
 "I think that we feel that we can win different ways," said Brady. "That was a
 great all-around performance, that's what we needed."
 Thad Lewis, starting for injured Buffalo rookie EJ Manuel (knee), was 16-of-29
 for  247 yards and one touchdown. C.J. Spiller amassed 105 yards on 19 carries
 for the Bills (6-10).
 Lewis  hit T.J. Graham for a 12-yard TD strike, trimming the Bills' deficit to
 16-10  with 1:29 remaining in the third quarter. Buffalo had been held off the
 scoreboard  since  Dan Carpenter drilled  a 51-yard  field goal on its opening
 possession of the game.
 New  England quickly countered behind Blount, who returned the ensuing kick 83
 yards.  Stephen Gostkowski was out to attempt a field goal to begin the fourth
 quarter,  but  an encroachment  penalty extended the  New England drive. Brady
 then  hooked up with  Shane Vereen for a 5-yard TD pass. Edelman caught a pass
 for the two-point conversion.
 The  see-saw battle continued as Fred Jackson reached the end zone on a 5-yard
 touchdown  run before  a 62-yard return by Blount put the Patriots in position
 for Gostkowski's 35-yard field goal.
 On  the next New England drive, Vereen bobbled a pass and Manny Lawson came up
 with the interception at the Buffalo 48.
 The  Bills turned the takeaway into a Carpenter 37-yard field goal that closed
 the gap to 27-20 with 3:26 to play.
 New England then recovered an onside kick and Blount sealed the win with a 35-
 yard TD run.
 "They  made plays  and we were able  to battle back at times," said Bills head
 coach  Doug Marrone.  "When we  really needed  to step  up to  make a  play we
 couldn't do it. Give credit to New England."
 The  Patriots produced  points on each of their first three drives. Gostkowski
 kicked  two field goals and Blount made it 13-3 with a 36-yard TD run early in
 the  second quarter.  Blount cut from his  left to the right and ran through a
 huge opening to the end zone.
 The  New England defense then came up with a big stop on fourth down, wrapping
 up Lewis for a 1-yard loss on a QB sneak at its own 45.
 The  Patriots  later marched to the  red zone and settled for Gostkowski's 29-
 yarder on the final play prior to halftime.
                                   Game Notes
 Brady  earned  his 148th career  win, tying John Elway  for third place on the
 all-time  list  among starting QBs  ... The  Patriots finished 8-0 at Gillette
 Stadium  for the sixth time since the facility opened in 2002 ... Blount set a
 franchise  record for  all-purpose yards with 334 ... The Patriots have won 13
 straight  home games against Buffalo and 15 consecutive home games against AFC
 East  opponents  ... Gostkowski set a  single-season team record with 38 field
 goals.  He broke his own mark of 36 set in 2008 ... This marked the fifth time
 in  team  history the Patriots  opened and closed  the season against the same
 12/29 22:46:42 ET

Part of the Tribune family of products