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Bills 34, Patriots 31: Tom Brady Falters, New England Falls Short

The Patriots have lost their grip on first place in the AFC East as they lost their battle with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon, losing 34-31 after blowing a significant three touchdown lead early in the game.

Tom Brady went 30/45 for 387 yards, 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, matching his 2010 regular season interception total in this one game.  Ryan Fitzpatrick countered 369 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions as he led his team to their first victory over the Patriots since 2003, ending the 15 straight losses to their divisional opponent and adding their second win ever against Brady.

It looked like the Patriots were set to roll through Buffalo as they drove 80 yards down the field in their first possession to score on a touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Wes Welker.  They followed that up with two Rob Gronkowski touchdowns to take a 21-0 lead with 6 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.

Ryan Fitzpatrick then put his team on the board for the first time in the game with an 11 yard touchdown pass to go-to man Stevie Johnson after an impressive 7 play, 96 yard drive. The Bills also managed to stop the Pats from scoring again and closed the gap to 21-10 on a 42 yard Rian Lindell field goal before halftime.  

The second half, things unraveled for the Pats as Brady threw three of his four interceptions looking rattled and under and over-throwing his receivers across the middle. He did throw a perfect deep pass right into the hands of Chad Ochocinco on a break-away down the seam in the fourth quarter that may have been the game-saver for the Pats, but Ocho bobbled the ball and the pass was incomplete.

 Instead, the offense ate up tons of precious time on the clock driving further down the field and taking four down attempts on the Buffalo 1 yard line to finally get the tying touchdown to pass to Welker.

Fitzpatrick and the Bills maintained possession for the rest of the game, kicking the game-winning field goal with :01 left on the clock after running it down.

The bright spot for the Patriots was Wes Welker’s career performance, as he had an astounding 16 receptions for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

The Patriots will spend the week recovering from the loss and preparing for their trip to Oakland for a 4:15 game against the Raiders.